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Scrambling for Pennies: 1911

Scrambling for Pennies: 1911

New York, November 1911. "Scramble for pennies -- Thanksgiving." Before Halloween came into its own as a holiday in this country, there was "Thanksgiving masking," where kids would dress up and go door to door for apples, or "scramble for pennies." George Grantham Bain Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Cross dressing on Thanksgiving

In 1947 I dressed up as Happy Hooligan, a comic strip character of my parents' generation, and my brother dressed as chorus girls. We went around on Thanksgiving morn begging "Anything for Thanksgiving?"

People gave us fruit and dimes but we were the only kids doing it in our new neighborhood of Woodhaven, Queens. Before that, we went out in groups in the old neighborhood of downtown Brooklyn. I preferred it to Halloween as the kids actually did tricks on Halloween if they didn't get anything -- broke milk bottles, soaped windows, turned over trash cans.


This is your basic high grade nightmare fuel! It would have been interesting to post this and let us try to figure out what in the world is going on. Uh, "Trick or Turkey?"

Halloween Postcards

Does anyone have Halloween postcards from the 1920s-1930s? I have a couple from my grandmother's belongings, and they are lovely. The images are all "cutesy" (nothing scary) illustrations. I do not know who the illustrator was; they are unsigned. And there is no artist information conveniently printed on the reverse. If anyone has info about such cards, I'd love to know.


I think what people find so creepy is that there aren't any costumes based on anything famous. No Shrek or Joker or Barbie. Just a bunch of featureless, undefined faces on these kids, with the only meanings being what you attach to them. Wonderful!

Little Beggars

When I was growing up on Long Island (1950s) we would dress as "hobos" and go door to door begging pennies on Thanksgiving. Now I guess you would have to beg for a dollar or two.

Thanks for the explanation!

If I ever got my wish to do some time-traveling, I sure wouldn't want to "land" in the middle of that scene without being briefed beforehand!


Sheesh, this is a downright eerie picture. I'm not sure Halloween is actually scarier.

Now that's…


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