It's Hallowe'en, that magical night when precious little children dress-up and... say, why are those kids carrying toolboxes and ropes?

As it turns out, trick or treaters today are pikers, compared to the hooligan that was your great-grandpa. A favorite prank in 1905 Santa Rosa was removing the gate from a house and hoisting it into a tree, but according to papers in other cities, bicycles and wagon wheels were also common. In Winnipeg, overachievers not only unloaded a wagon filled with grain and disassembled the vehicle, but put the wagon back together on top of a barn -- and refilled it with the grain.

Wisconsin paper urged readers to tie down their gates and bring in their cabbage. Um, hide the cabbage? An item in the Nov. 1, 1901 Racine Daily Journal explained the local custom: "Crowds of boys and girls will supply themselves with cabbage stalks and start down any of the residence streets, and then the fun commences. The homes most conspicuous prove to be the targets, after the leader gives the signal to throw every person in the crowd hurls a cabbage stalk at the door. If cabbage stalks are not to be obtained it is a very easy matter to find a substitute. Dirt, old shoes, stones, or 'any old thing' will answer the purpose..."

Some newspapers in the early Twentieth Century even printed Hallowe'en death tolls, usually of pranksters shot to death after being mistaken for prowlers. Six were killed in 1904, including a "man mistaken for Hallowe'en dummy run down and killed by street car at Columbus, Ohio," according to one casualty list.

Youths Taught a Lesson to be Less Reckless in Their Amusement

Almost a score of boys, some of them members of prominent families of this city, ended a Hallowe'en frolic by spending a few hours in jail at the city police station during Tuesday night. They were not content with the time honored frolic of removing gates but when they found one that did not come off its hinges readily it is charged that they just sawed it off and took a portion of the fence, too. They were very penitent when released from custody after confinement for a few hours and it is doubtful if they will ever do downright mischief on Hallow e'en [sic] and run too far away with the lenient view often taken that "boys will be boys."

- Press Democrat, November 2, 1905

Chief of Police Gives Instruction to Enforce the Curfew Ordinance

Chief of Police Severson has given orders for the police to strictly enforce the curfew ordinance.

For some time the police have been a little lenient in this regard and boys have taken advantage of this and some damage to property has resulted. Now all minors who are caught out after the bell rings will be taken to the police station regardless of who they are or where they are going. Tuesday night about twenty offenders were locked up for several hours at the police station and before the matter is settled there will be a bill of damages to pay as the crowd destroyed a fence.

- Press Democrat, November 2, 1905

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