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11 Terrifying Photos Of Kids Celebrating Thanksgiving-Ragamuffin Day

The long forgotten Thanksgiving practice was celebrated during the late 1800s and early 1900s and was a precursor to Halloween.

Long before Halloween was the go-to holiday to be in costume, children in New York City would dress up on the final Thursday in November in what was known as Ragamuffin Day — which also happened to coincide with Thanksgiving.

As part of the Ragamuffin festivities, children, dressed in rags and masks (known as Thanksgiving Maskers), would go door-to-door and ask, "Anything for Thanksgiving?" Usually they would receive a treat of some sort: candy, fruit, or pennies.

The tradition stemmed from the late 1700s, when grown homeless men, during the holidays, would dress in women's clothing and beg for food and money. In the late 1800s, the tradition evolved into annual event for children.

Ragamuffin Day ended in 1941, when President Roosevelt and Congress established Thanksgiving as a federal holiday. Many of the traditions associated with Ragamuffin Day found their way into Halloween.

1. Kid getting his face painted — children from poorer families couldn't afford costumes and masks, so they would simply paint their face with coal. / Via Library of Congress

2. Group of kids dressed in "hobo" attire. / Via Library of Congress

3. I'm sure these folks were delighted to have kids knocking at their door as they tried to prepare their Thanksgiving dinner. / Via Library of Congress

4. Is the girl on the left dressed as Hannibal Lecter? / Via Library of Congress

5. The girl in the center is slightly terrifying. / Via Library of Congress

6. OK, this is just terrifying! / Via Library of Congress

7. Are these kids doing blackface? / Via Library of Congress

8. Kids reaching for pennies being tossed by adults. / Via Library of Congress

9. Poor kid in the center left — knocked over for a penny. / Via Library of Congress

10. Seriously, those masks are freaky!

Flickr: 8623220@N02 / Via Library of Congress

11. A group of ragamuffins ready to mug you.

Info via: The New York Public Library