By Melinda Narro
Fort Bend Museum Intern
Have you already picked a costume and mapped out your trick-or-treating route? Been limbering up your jaw to prepare for an onslaught of gooey sweets? The month of October is upon us, and with it comes everyone’s favorite night for all things sugary and spooky: Halloween. This year, the Fort Bend Museum will host a pair of special events to mark the occasion, with the eerily-decorated Moore Mansion serving as a setting for both. Guests aged 21+ can enjoy an evening of music, dancing, and libations at the Black & White Masquerade on Friday, October 28, while games, crafts, and tasty goodies for all ages await attendees of Miss Ivy’s Spooktacular Halloween Party on October 29. To gear up for the frightful fun, let’s take a look at how these festivities stack up against historical Halloweens here in Fort Bend County.
Although widely popular today, Halloween’s place in the pantheon of American holidays is relatively recent. With an eclectic ancestry blending ancient Celtic rites and later Christian traditions, the celebration made its way overseas and into the national consciousness with Scottish and Irish immigrants in the mid-1800s. However, two major components of our modern Halloween—candy and trick-or-treating—didn’t appear until much later; in fact, before the late 1940s, they played very little role in typical Halloween revelry. Instead, children and adults gathered for evening socials that featured themed décor, an array of activities, and belly-filling drinks and desserts.
In 1930, for example, guests at the Rosenberg American Legion’s Halloween soiree competed in Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Black-Cat before indulging in midnight coffee and doughnuts. Other area events offered similarly hearty fare, including chili and rolls, hot chocolate, and chocolate cake. Children attending the Richmond P.T.A.’s Halloween party boogied to live music and bobbed for apples “amid shouts of laughter, spattering water everywhere.” According to the Texas Coaster, kids also eagerly queued for a chance to enter “the old witch den, where a true Hallowe’en witch dwelt with her snakes, owls and bats and told fortunes.” Private homes and public facilities alike were adorned with “weird figures hung about the walls,” including ghosts, witches, black cats and bats, all illuminated by the “soft yellow glow” of jack-o’-lanterns.
If this sounds like a hair-raisingly good time to you, we think you’ll love the old-fashioned amusements the Museum has in store for October 28 and 29. For additional details or to purchase tickets, check out the Black & White Masquerade and Miss Ivy's Spooktacular Halloween Party event pages. And...stay tuned for a future post about Texans and the paranormal!
Funding has been provided to the Fort Bend History Association from Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.
Fort Bend Museum Staff