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What Halloween Looked Like the Year You Were Born

See how much the Halloween season has changed over the years with these vintage memories.

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children at a Halloween party eating applesMichael Lacivita via Reminisce

Halloween sure has changed since the days of apple bobbing and hand-stitched costumes. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to see what this spooky holiday looked like the year you were born.

While you’re at it, be sure to check out all of the hauntingly good Halloween recipes we’ve collected over the years.

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child dressed in Halloween costume /REM Magazine/2014/10_11/20_GrowingUp_REMON14_R3_032-034/LinksJoesephine Mele via Reminisce

1950

“After two years of staying home on Halloween because he was sick, all my little brother, Joey, wanted was to go trick-or-treating.” —Joesephine Mele

Stay cozy with these Halloween soup recipes.

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children at school, Halloween party at schoolJim Crawford via Reminisce

1951

Fourth graders at Newburgh Elementary School rose to the occasion on Halloween when they competed with other classes for best costumes.

Here are 8 DIY Halloween costumes anyone can pull together.

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Portrait of a group of friends in fancy dress on a night out, circa 1950sHartnett Collection/PYMCA/REX/Shutterstock

1952

Who said grown-ups couldn’t have a little Halloween fun? Though the party may have only been a few hours, we’re sure that these memories have lasted a lifetime!

Travel back in time with these 55 recipes from the ’50s.

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boy dressed up in costume for Halloween /REM Magazine/1997/November-December-1997_1953/1011-5859_HiResReminisce

1953

Late October in the ’50s meant sometimes having to bundle up on Halloween night. This fur-lined costume was fit for a king!

Warm up with these Halloween slow cooker recipes.

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children in ghost costumes on HalloweenPatricia Kasbohm Schley via Reminisce

1954

“We lived on 42nd street in Milwaukee. My mother must have had some old sheets to spare, as she made me and my older brother, Ken, ghost costumes for Halloween one year.” —Patricia Kasbohm Schley

No one will say “boo” to our Ghostly Custard recipe.

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small boy in Davey Crocket Halloween CostumeGenevieve Catina via Reminisce

1955

“My brother, Bob, sure was a cutie. This was in 1955 and Davy Crockett, a five-part serial starring Fess Parker, was airing on ABC as a part of the Disneyland series.” —Genevieve Catina

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group of children for HalloweenArlene Cieglo-Beyma via Reminisce

1956

When it comes to Halloween costumes, finding one that is unique can be tough. This group of youngsters got creative by dressing up as baton twirlers, farmers, cowboys and more.

Check out these food-inspired costumes that are one of a kind.

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child in a cowboy costume for HalloweenOlga Wolfe via Reminisce

1957

Back in the ’50s, many little buckaroos dreamed of being just like Roy Rogers, the “King of Cowboys.”

Become a modern-day cowboy with these Wild West-inspired recipes.

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children in elementary school for HalloweenBruce Bray via Reminisce

1958

“This is a Halloween picture of Our Lady of Lourdes 8th grade all-boys class of 1958. I got my nerve up and asked the nun if I could have this picture.” —Bruce Bray

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sisters dressed as cowgirls for HalloweenDebra Steilen via Reminisce

1959

“Halloween proved to be a great time for my sister, Kathy, and me to jump on the cowboy chuck wagon. Raised on an electronic diet of TV Westerns (thanks to 2 older brothers) we happily wore cowgirl costumes.” —Debra Steilen 

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boy dressed as centurion for Halloween Heather Anderson via Reminisce

1960

“In 1960, at age 8, my brother was a Roman centurion. We made the kilt and cape from an old red tablecloth and the helmet from gold-pained papier-mache. The dagger was real, but my father would let him hold it only while we took the photos” —Heather Anderson

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children at a Halloween party eating applesMichael Lacivita via Reminisce

1961

“While kids form a line, my daughter and her grade school classmate take a bite at apples swinging from the ceiling at a Halloween party in our rec room.” —Michael Lacivita

Plain apples not your thing? Take it up a notch by making these gourmet caramel apples.

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boy dressed as Egyptian pharaohHeather Anderson via Reminisce

1962

“A t-shirt, a couple of dish towels, miscellaneous bits of jewelry, and some creative bending of metal rods created this look.” —Heather Anderson

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child dressed as robot for Halloween Peggy Oels via Reminisce

1963

“When your dad is a service technician for IBM, it stands to reason that all those electronics could be used to make a blinking costume for Halloween.” —Peggy Oels

Give your holiday beverage a scientific spin by serving up this Mad Scientist Punch recipe.

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children dressed as a leopard and raggedy anne for Halloween Sally Olson via Reminisce

1964

“Here’s a photo of my younger siblings Peter and Laura tugging at Laura’s yarn braids.” —Sally Olson

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children in Halloween costumesKaren Withers via Reminisce

1965

“It was so cold and rainy the Halloween of 1965 that we had to wear coats.” —Karen Withers

Keep your trick-or-treaters warm by packing a Thermos of our stovetop hot chocolate recipe.

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Barnabas Collins fan club photo from Dark Shadows /REM Magazine/2016/10/REMON16_OnScreen_036-038/LinksReminisce

1966

Premiering in the summer of 1966, ABC-TV’s Dark Shadows served up a daily dose of vampire drama. It was part soap opera, part horror and altogether freaky,

These vampire-themed cookies would fit right in.

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Comic strips come alive this Halloween as Batman, the Green Hornet, Superman and a host of other comic strip characters are getting geared up for a one-night stand Oct. 31. At least according to costume makers who say that the comics are providing most of the ideas for this year's kiddy getup. Here a group of small fries warm-up for the big night in Oakland, N. J Comic Strips Come Alive, Oakland, USAEddie Adams/AP/REX/Shutterstock

1967

Though Spandex-clad Bruce Wayne had only made his TV appearance as Batman the year before, his superhero Halloween costume became one of the best-sellers in 19767—along with other popular comic book heroes like Superman and the Green Lantern.

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children playing with toys on HalloweenSarah Mason via Reminisce

1968

“My little brother and sister, Robbie and Aimee, dressed as Batman and a nurse for Halloween.” —Sarah Mason

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child and grandma on HalloweenReminisce

1969

“Here’s a picture of my Gran trying the family’s clown hat under her great-granddaughter Kristine’s chin.” —Jim Mattison

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children trick-or-treating on HalloweenNina McLean via Reminisce

1970

“This is a photo of my siblings and I surprising our dad by trick-or-treating at our own home. He treated his four little monsters to fresh apples on Halloween.”—Nina McLean

Find out the fascinating history behind trick-or-treating.

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child dressed in Halloween costumeLisa O'Brien/Reminisce

1971

“Being a single mom and raising my daughter, Erin, on a very tight budget, I needed to be creative with her Halloween costumes. Our town had a children’s Halloween party, and almost every year, Erin would win the prize for the most original costume.” —Lisa O’Brien

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three children dressed as tiger for HalloweenSue Jernigan via Reminisce

1972

“My brothers Garth, Glenn and Jerry Jr. dressed for Halloween” —Sue Jernigan

Treat your ghosts to something extra-sweet this year with some of these Halloween cookie recipes.

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child dressed as flower for Halloween costume

1973

The ’70s were all about flower power, just like this adorable homemade costume. These flower-shaped desserts make for a bloomin’ good time.

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 First lady Betty Ford greets costumed school children from the Washington area during a Halloween benefit for the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund on the White House South Lawn. Mrs. Ford gave each of the children a bag of trick-or-treat candy, an apple, and reached into her pocket to put a quarter coin into the UNICEF collection boxes they carried Betty Ford Halloween, Washington, USAHENRY GRIFFIN/AP/REX/Shutterstock

1974

After giving out apples and bags of candy, First Lady Betty Ford placed a quarter into each child’s UNICEF collection box on the White House lawn.

See the most-famous FLOTUS’s favorite foods.

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The Rocky Horror Picture ShowMoviestore/REX/Shutterstock

1975

Let’s do the Time Warp! The Rocky Horror Picture Show, starring Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick, was released in 1975.

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brother and sister at a pumpkin patchJ. Birdney, M.D. via Reminisce

1976

Few things go together as well as pumpkins and Halloween. Don’t believe us? Just check out these pumpkin recipes that are perfect for Halloween night.

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still of Star Wars A New Hope, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison FordLucasfilmn/Fox/Kobal via Shutterstock

1977

In 1977, the world was introduced to Luke, Leia, Han and the rest of the galactic universe with the premiere of Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope.

Don’t want to limit your Star Wars love to just Halloween? You can fill your kitchen with these Star Wars-inspired gadgets that are sure to awaken the (cooking) Force in you.

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child with Halloween costume on Carolyn Heep via Reminisce

1978

“My mom was a talented seamstress who sewed all the clothes for me, my sisters and her granddaughters. In 1978 she made Halloween this cute costume for my sister Debbie.” —Carolyn Heep 

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ITV/REX/Shutterstock

1979

A year after Halloween first premiered, the mask of its infamous villain, Michael Myers, was a go-to costume choice.

If spending a cozy night in watching scary movies is your favorite way to spend Halloween, check out these recipes that are inspired by spooky films like Misery, The Ring, Children of the Corn and more.

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two people dressed in bee Halloween costumeMaureen Stanko

1980

Not all Halloween costumes have to be scary! Dress as a busy bee, friendly ghost or a back cat for a costume that’s more sweet than spooky.

Want more adorable costume ideas? Check out these crowd-sourced Halloween costumes for your furry friends.

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children in Halloween costumesDarlene Brenden

1981

“This is my daughter, Kimberly, as a clown; and my daughter, Kristina, as a witch, in 1981.” —Darlene Brenden

Have something spooky to snack on while trick-or-treating this year by making one of these haunted recipes

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two children in Halloween costumesElizabeth Bramkamp

1982

Be as proud of your Jack-O-Lantern this year as these kiddos were with some expert tips for carving the best pumpkin ever.

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two children dressed as a clown and a raggedy anne for HalloweenElizabeth Bramkamp

1983

Sometimes, it’s just easier for mom to dress the kids up in the same Halloween costume. Since mom always knows best, here are some comfort food recipes just like she used to make.

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Ghostbusters movie posterColumbia/Kobal via Shutterstock

1984

Are you afraid of ghosts? The supernatural comedy starring Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis premiered in the summer of ’84.

Throw your very own haunted bash with help from these ghost-themed recipes.

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 HALLOWEEN CELEBRATION HALLOWEEN IN HOLLYWOOD, AMERICA - 1985Globe Photos Inc/REX/Shutterstock

1985

Stick together for safety, kids! These adorable “dolls” held hands and posed for a picture before continuing on their mission for Halloween candy.

Try these Halloween candy recipes at home.

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child dressed as spiderman for HalloweenJoan Hallford

1986

Look out, here comes Spiderman! Creepy crawlers, like spiders, are a staple of Halloween lore. Incorporate them into your celebration this year with these buggy recipes.

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girl dressed as a pumpkin for HalloweenDarlene Brenden

1987

“I made this pumpkin costume for my daughter. Looking back, I should have stuffed it up a bit to fill her out, but she still looked great.” —Darlene Brenden

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girl dressed as a witch for HalloweenDarlene Brenden

1988

Double, double toil and trouble with your best pals this Halloween by throwing a ‘Besties and Broomsticks’ party. Check out how the party comes together, here.

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two small children dressed in Halloween costumesMaureen Stanko
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girl dressed as a beauty queen for Halloween costumeDarlene Brenden

1991

“This is my daughter, Kristina, in 1991. The grade school she attended was called Deer Creek, so I decorated her sash with ‘Miss Deer Creek’.” —Darlene Brenden

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four children dressed in Halloween costumesAlexandra Mangia
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child dressed in Halloween costumeReminisce

1993

Some Halloween costumes, like this one from the Mattison family, are passed down through the generations. For more family classics, check out these heirloom recipes.

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cat sitting on a jack-o-lantern pumpkin Halloween /COU Magazine/1994/October-November-1994_1586/2425-4445_HiResCountry

1994

Don’t get grumpy while carving your Jack-O-Lantern this year! Here are some awesome, no-carve pumpkin ideas that come together in a snap.

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five children and adult in Halloween costumesMaureen Stanko

1995

“This is my sister, Christina, with all of the nieces and nephews in the mid-’90s.” —Maureen Stanko 

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Halloween is still more than a month away, but farmer Wayne Woodard already has 100-pound pumpkins for sale at a roadside stand in New Milford, Conn PUMPKINS, NEW MILFORD, USAMARK LENNIHAN/AP/REX/Shutterstock

1996

Farmer Wayne Woodard rallies up 100-pound pumpkins to sell at a roadside stand in New Milford, Connecticut.

These 66 pumpkin recipes are BIG on taste and perfect for Halloween.

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 DOG DRESSED UP WITH TWO HEADS NEW YORK HALLOWEEN PARADE, AMERICA - 1997REX/Shutterstock

1997

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a Halloween without a dozen Harry Potters or Hermione Grangers running around the neighborhood. But in 1997, J.K. Rowling’s popular children’s series had just entered the scene—and sure enough, the three-headed dog costumes were soon to follow.

Get Harry Potter-inspired recipes.

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young boy bobbing for apples /COU Magazine/1998/November-1998/0405-6465_HiResCountry

1998

Apples to apples, Halloween is the spookiest season of the year! If you’re looking for something to do with your apple haul, take a look at our favorite fall apple recipes.

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children dressed in costumes for HalloweenMaureen Stanko

1999

Other than Halloween, when can you see witches hanging out with cowboys? Turn your kitchen into a bona fide homestead with this cowboy cookie recipe.

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young boy dress as tractor for Halloween costume /CT Magazine/2000/September-October-2000_10125/2829-4041_HiResCountry

2000

It’s tractor time! Get inspiration from the world around you, like this boy’s homemade costume in 2000.

Caroline Stanko
As an Associate Digital Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.

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