Ah Halloween, the only day where is acceptable to dress up in a costume and beg for candy from strangers. Well, only acceptable if you’re a child (unfortunately). Every year Americans celebrate by throwing parties, watching scary movies, visiting haunted houses, and eating ungodly amounts of candy.
But where did Halloween celebrations originate? Lucky for you I have the answer, and it’s not where you may think.
No, Halloween celebrations didn’t begin in New York City or Los Angeles–far from the coasts that house the U.S’s biggest cities actually. Anoka, Minnesota (try saying that 10 times fast) was the first American city to host a Halloween celebration in 1920. Their reasoning for this? Simple. They thought if the city was celebrating Halloween together then hooligan kids would be less likely to go out playing pranks on Anoka’s fine residents. Just 17 years later in 1937 Congress declared Anoka “The Halloween Capital of the World”.
Today, Halloween is still an important holiday for this midwestern town. Spooky events such as a “Gray Ghost 5k Run” and “zombie pub crawls” (which holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest gathering of zombies) attract residents and tourists alike. With the tens of thousands of people that visit Anoka annually for the holiday there comes a financial boom for many of the local stores and restaurants, leading them to declare ‘Halloween is our Christmas’.
Maybe next year I will be one of the zombies on their famous pub crawl, but this year I will continue my tradition of passing out candy with a hint of jealousy since I am too old for Trick-or-Treating. Curse you societal norms.