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Internship

Halloween Happenings in Las Vegas, by Ian M. Baldwin

By Cyndi Shein on October 23, 2014 1:19 PM | Permalink

Halloween Ball Invitation, October 1919. UNLV Special Collections, Wengert Family Papers (MS-00192); box 1, folder 5

Boo! Sometimes Las Vegas can be downright scary. At UNLV Special Collections, archival materials document the city’s rich history of celebrating Halloween. During my 2014 summer internship here, I have been delighted to stumble upon several ghoulish finds from Sin City’s Halloweens past. Take for instance an invitation for a Halloween ball in 1919. Found as I processed the Wengert Family Papers (MS-00192), this invite was sent to a young Las Vegas pioneer shortly after her arrival in Las Vegas. The October 31 ball featured dancing, apple-bobbing, and a costume contest at a local lodge. The artwork of the invitation itself remains in spectacularly good shape. Featuring a black cat, ghost, and witch, it remains an authentic piece of early Halloween history in America. Even in the early days of Las Vegas, residents found time to celebrate the holiday.