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Halloween: Topics in Chronicling America

Late 19th century newspapers report that Halloween has gone by many names but was customarily celebrated on October 31st. This guide provides access to materials related to "Halloween" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"The witch's hour." October 24, 1909. Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, CA), Image 38. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

The 1907 Los Angeles Herald features well-known Halloween customs, like mischievous pranks and Jack-O-Lanterns, but also the obscure, like forecasting the matrimonial futures of lovers. Originating as a blend of mythology and Christian superstitions, Halloween is celebrated on the eve of All Saints’ or All Hallows Day with the belief that spirits of the dead are amongst us. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


October 31 Hallowe'en is celebrated.