In 1941 LIFE staff photographer William C. Shrout joined a group of kids for their Halloween mischief and festivities. His photographs show a night of activities not too different from our modern-day celebrations: pumpkin carving, games, bobbing for apples, and, of course, lots of treats!
Halloween parties increased in popularity during the roaring twenties, and even more in the late 1930s. A number of companies in the emerging party industry started creating party idea books, craft templates, and mass-produced costumes. Yet, as seen in the group photo below, homemade costumes were still the most common. Clown and skeleton costumes were especially popular, as you’ll see in the crowd photo below.
A party isn’t complete without delicious food. Bobbing for apples and eating contests were frequent at early Halloween parties, as well as a table full of sweet goodies like donuts and pies. Shrout’s photos show gleeful children dunking their heads into water and enjoying Halloween snacks together. Delight in this vintage Halloween party and we wish you many sweets this holiday season.
Children wearing costumes at a Halloween party in Zionsville, Indiana, 1941.