Primary Source: Halloween in 1910
Reading Comprehension Activity

Celebrating Halloween is a tradition that goes back generations. The holiday events in 1910 are described in this Cleveland newspaper article. Students will read the passage and compare and contrast the 1910 holiday with today’s celebration and answer questions on the vocabulary. (Check out our Halloween words and activities too)

Topic(s): History, Journalism. Skill(s): Compare & Contrast, Context Clues. Genre(s): Informational

Click for the passage & questions on one printable PDF.


This article from the Cleveland, Ohio newspaper reports on Halloween events over 100 years ago. A tick-tack is an instrument used to tap on windows from a distance. The Raisell club’s name is similar in meaning to “raising Cain” or behave in a unruly or disorderly way. 





Merry Couples, Masqueraders and

Mischief Hunters

Make Halloween Noisy





Witches and Goblins in

Modern Guise

Hold Forth in City.


The young people of Cleveland last night observed the most mysterious and alluring holiday of the year, the one night when the fates cast aside the loom and the shears, and grant youth the privilege of peering into the future to divine the course of true love.

Whether or not the course of true love was finally divined by the young people of Cleveland or whether they even took the trouble of peering into the future cannot be learned, but it is certain that the police were busy all night. Country marshals had their hands full.

Doorsteps were mysteriously misplaced, arc lights were broken, fences were carried away and numerous pranks which might easily be attributed to errant ghosts or wandering goblins were the order.

Boys and girls, and even young men and women, gave themselves over to the old time carnival spirit which is so hard to resist.

The streets were, filled with strange and fantastic figures. Young women in grotesque masquerades, walked hand in hand with specterlike beings in flowing white robes. Small boys with horns and tin pans added their noise. The good old tick-tack beat its tattoo upon hundreds of Cleveland windows, while the tinkle of the doorbell, was heard in every home.

Witches Use Autos Now.

The gibbering old witch, who in former days was supposed to sweep over the city on a broomstick, was not in evidence, but crowds of merry makers in the more modern vehicle, the automobile, were to seen everywhere.

Unique processions might be seen in every part of the city. Halloween dances were held in every hall in the city.

In hundreds of homes of the city Halloween parties were held. The Raisell club was out in force. The members, led by President Charles Walters, tried to live up to the suggestion in its name. Its efforts were crowned by success.

Halloween, although no serious trouble was reported to the police, was celebrated in a fitting way. The mysterious superstitions surrounding the ancient holiday apparently have lost none of their attraction.

Comprehension Questions

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