Halloween at the Tule Lake Relocation Center

By Jason Clingerman

70 years ago today, Japanese Americans at the Tule Lake Relocation Center celebrated a harvest festival by wearing costumes.

At the Tule Lake Relocation Center, later the Tule Lake Segregation Center, over 24,000 Japanese Americans were imprisoned because of suspected disloyalty to the U.S. government under Executive Order 9066.  Starting in 1943, Tule Lake became a “maximum security” facility replete with guard towers, military police, tanks, a jail, and a stockade. Before this conversion, however, the prisoners were allowed to celebrate Halloween with a harvest festival and costumes. Tule Lake was the largest of all the camps built by the War Relocation Authority to imprison Japanese Americans and did not close until March 1946.

These photographs and other records can be found in Record Group 210: Records of the War Relocation Authority.

3 thoughts on “Halloween at the Tule Lake Relocation Center

  1. I’m digging the guy wearing the huge vampire teeth, weilding an ax. I’m surprised they were allowed to celebrate Halloween and even more surprised they had access to something that could be used as a weapon. 😉

  2. A niggling point, but it should be noted that the Japanese-Americans were interned, not imprisoned. If we had been a Japanese-American at that time and place, however, it may have been a distinction without a difference.

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