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Desert Companion

The customof costume

You would expect the cards who populate Las Vegas to put their own spin on Halloween, wouldn’t you? Halloween parties have become an important part of the Strip scene in recent years, but Halloween celebrations have been an attraction for visitors for decades, as this Las Vegas News Bureau photo shows, and a key part of Las Vegas life from the community’s beginnings.

Soon after the town’s founding in 1905, local groups like the Ladies Aid Society and various society leaders hosted annual Halloween parties as a means of bringing the small population (320 according to the unofficial 1906 census) together. The local women’s basketball team held what the Las Vegas Age proudly proclaimed “the first exclusively young people’s dance ever given in Las Vegas” for Halloween in 1907. October 31 provides another reason to celebrate: It’s statehood day, when Nevada entered the Union. Although it became a state in 1864, Nevadans didn’t celebrate it as a state holiday until 1933. In 2000, the legislature decided that Statehood Day would be the last Friday before October 31, forever changing the lives of those who grew up in Nevada thinking that in honor of joining the Union, we got to dress in costumes and go door-to-door in search of candy. After all, the state famous for legal gambling should feature a costume made of cards: We’re the trick or treat for the nation....}

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