As we've seen in the last couple of posts, somewhere around the Civil War moment Halloween apparently starts to become a more mainstream part of American culture. Whilst this has often been linked to Irish immigration - take a look back at the post on Whittier's pumpkins - I feel that it's also related to the broader interest in folk customs and provincial practices that were a significant part of late-nineteenth century American literature. Halloween as a component of local colour? I think that makes sense.
Either way, the apparent reinvigoration of Halloween in the post-war period can be confirmed - kind of - by reference to Google's new Ngram Viewer, which allows you to look for the occurrence of a word or words over the entire corpus of their scanned archives. So this is what the frequency of "Halloween" looks like, from 1800 to 2000:
|Google Ngram for "Halloween" - click for bigger|
And there's no doubt that the major literary journals were soon running Halloween stories with some frequency in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Below, a handful to brighten (darken?) your Halloween-eve. There's plenty to say about all of these, too - but that's a project for next year...
Meta G. Adams, "Halloween; or, Chrissie's Fate", Scribner's Monthly (November 1871)
William Sharp, "Halloween: A Threefold Chronicle", Harper's New Monthly Magazine (November 1886)
William Black, "A Halloween Wraith", Harper's New Monthly Magazine (November 1890)
Hezekiah Butterworth, "A Hallowe'en Reformation", The Century (November 1894)