How Halloween changed when it was adopted by America

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We know that Halloween originated in Ireland but as more and more Irish people emigrated to America, it soon became ingrained in the culture across the water.

However, there was a lot more to it than just switching Jack-O-Lanterns from turnips to pumpkins!

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants.

As the customs of different European and American Indian groups meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.

Irish celebrations included public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing.

Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds.

In the late 1800s, however, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community get-togethers than ghosts and witchcraft. 

Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes.

Parents were encouraged to take anything “frightening” or “grotesque” out of celebrations they were planning.

Because of these efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.

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