Before Halloween became the de facto dress up day (really only in the 1930s), many parts of our country saw children dress up in rags and masks to make them resemble hobos or ragamuffins (or occasionally crossdressing or in blackface too). These kids were often called Maskers. They would go door-to-door pretending to beg for food, treats, or small change.
This practice traditionally occurred at Thanksgiving, but could also be found at Christmas or New Year's Day and was based upon an earlier practice where in groups of rowdy men (often tipsy) called Fantastics or Fantasticals, would dress up in rags or costume on holidays, parade in the urban cities (primarily in Pennsylvania and New York) and go house-to-house demanding to be treated. At first it was nearly exclusively men, but over the 1800s, it became more of a kids' practice.
Encouraging kids to dress up in rags and go begging at other homes was considered bad form by the parents of the Progressive Era and the tradition began to fall into disuse. When Thanksgiving became more of a national holiday as opposed to a regional celebration, masking dramatically decreased as Thanksgiving customs became more sanitized and standardized.
By the 1910s, Thanksgiving Maskers had pretty much disappeared although they continued to be found as late as the 1940s in Philadelphia and New York City. Vestiges of the related practice can still be seen in Philadelphia's Mummers Parade.