How Donald Duck and Peanuts Saved Trick-or-TreatingBreaking News
tags: Halloween, Donald Duck, Peanuts, Trick or Treating
Today, it’s hard to imagine a Halloween not filled with doorbells, costumes, and treats. In 2016 Americans spent $8.4 billion on the holiday. But while trick-or-treating is many children’s favorite pastime, it hasn’t been a pastime for all that long. The tradition didn’t make its way to North America until the 1920s and 30s, first taking root in the West. Almost as quickly as the tradition started, it was nearly derailed. It took the combined efforts of cartoons, comics and candy manufacturers to resurrect trick-or-treating after World War II and make it what it is today.
Not only did World War II bring unspeakable death and destruction to the world, it also affected the goods and services available to civilians at home. In an effort to help alleviate hoarding, price hikes—and angry citizens—the Office of Price Administration printed War Ration Books with stamps that were used in exchange for goods. Sugar was the first consumer commodity to be rationed, as one-third of American sugar imports came from the Japanese occupied Philippines. War Ration Book Number One—nicknamed the “Sugar Book”—was handed out on May 4, 1942. With deep cuts to sugar allowances (half a pound a week, 50 percent less than pre-war consumption levels), it came as no surprise that children’s Halloween celebrations had to be adjusted.
When sugar rationing finally came to an end in June 1947, the commercialization of Halloween took off. Candy companies like Curtiss and Brach wasted no time in launching their Halloween advertising campaigns. But it wasn’t just candy companies that had stock in the reemergence of these festive celebrations. As early as fall 1947, the children’s magazines Jack and Jill and Children’s Activities both featured trick-or-treating in their October issues.
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