Two children wearing masks

Photos: The Library of Congress/Flickr Commons

Trick or treat?

Believe it or not, Halloween was not the first holiday to feature creepy costumes and door-to-door soliciting. In a Progressive Era ritual called "Thanksgiving masking," children dressed up as beggars and took to the streets to ask for treats, food and pennies. Though high society frowned on the practice, the day was one of merry mischief-making through the 1920s. These photos from the Library of Congress show "Thanksgiving maskers" circa 1910-1915.

* * * 
 
Maskers at the door
* * * 
 
Maskers begging
* * * 
 
Maskers scrambling for pennies

 

* * * 
 
Group of children wearing masks

 

* * * 
 
Thanksgiving maskers

 

* * * 
 
Children dressed as beggars

 

* * * 
 
Anna Norris is an associate editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Related content on MNN: