Dakota Datebook

Halloween Party

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

 

Tomorrow is Halloween; it’s the time of year for costumed bodies to prowl the neighborhoods, banging on doors in hopes of a treat, crying out, “Trick or treat!”

 

Oh, yes, and we can’t forget the tricksters, on this holiday. Halloween wouldn’t be the same without it. Smashed pumpkins, toilet paper hanging from tree limbs and egg and silly string residue on the sidewalks—all sorts of things can happen on Halloween.

 

But that doesn’t mean that it’s welcome now, or that it ever has been. And don’t be fooled into thinking pranks weren’t pulled in “the good old days.”

 

In 1937, the Fargo Junior Chamber of Commerce decided to put on four Halloween parties to keep “4,000 potential Halloween pranksters” occupied and happy, in hopes that “they [wouldn’t] think of any villainy” on Halloween.

 

Starting at 7, they showed some comedies, including Felix the Cat, for boys and girls up to the age of 10 at Agassiz and Horace Mann schools, and also at Central High School at 8 for 10-16 year olds, with gifts and candy provided. High school, college students and other students under 18 were able to go to a dance at the North Dakota Agricultural College, now NDSU, and a free dance for those past college age was held in the Island park recreation building. This would be replete with fortune telling, palm reading, ghost stories, games and free refreshments.

 

Because Halloween happened to fall on a Sunday, the Fargo Junior Chamber of Commerce planned the parties for this day, tonight, the night before Halloween.

 

A reported five thousand took part in the festivities. Approximately two thousand of these attended the dance at the Agricultural College, and 1,300 were at Central High School, watching the show.

 

Extra police were on hand that night, but they only received “a few more calls” than usual.

 

And on Sunday morning, they Fargo Forum warned, “It’s up to youthful Fargoans now. They saw free movies and munched candy at no cost—all on the condition they’d behave themselves through the rest of the Halloween weekend—no matter how irksome the duty.”

 

Have a safe, happy Halloween.

 

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker

 

Sources:

The Fargo Forum, Sunday morning, October 31, 1937

The Fargo Forum, Friday morning, October 29, 1937

 

This text and audio may not be copied without securing prior permission from Prairie Public.

Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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