Archive for Wednesday, October 31, 2012

100 years ago: Halloween ‘isn’t what it used to be,’ sighs old-timer

October 31, 2012

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From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Oct. 31, 1912:

"HIST, EVIL SPIRITS ARE ABROAD TONIGHT -- But the Law Must be Enforced Declares the Marshal -- Police Will be on the Lookout for Miscreants Who Oppose the Established Order of Things. -- Tonight is the night when Lawrence boys tear up the crossing on the corner, tip over the rain barrel, upset the woodshed and adorn the front porch with a lawn gate from two blocks down the street, that is if these were olden days, and Lawrence boys were boys in the time of their fathers and grandfathers, or even perhaps their older brothers. But the boys of today, the boys whom tradition calls upon to observe All Saints Evening, probably will not do the observation after the methods and practices prescribed by tradition. The reason for such a conclusion is that Marshal Meyers and his squad of blue coats do not intend that it shall be such, and this is a very good reason, too.... Marshal Meyers remembers the days when he was a boy just like other boys, he remembers how he used to take particular delight swapping cattle for his neighbors out in the country where he lived as a boy, and he recalls how much sport it used to be to take the wagon to pieces and set a barrel of water up before the door so that it would empty inward when the farmer came out in the morning. But all of that was long ago, the marshal was only a boy then and besides they don't have marshals in the country and it was all right in those days, but he is growed up now and while he still insists that it was all right for him to do as he did when he did, these pranks must not be practiced tonight. The police have been given instructions to be doubly vigilant tonight and see that the boyish pranks are not indulged in and that the youngsters who seek to amuse themselves by destroying property are brought to account for their sins. The officers will enforce the city ordinance this evening and anyone caught in the act will be liable to a fine in police court tomorrow morning. However, little disturbance of this nature is anticipated as the modern celebration of the night is much different than the old time way. As a prominent business man said today: 'Hallowe'en isn't what it used to be,' and he rambled on with a long tale of adventures of the past when he was a boy, and he must have been a fright on Hallowe'en if all the tales he told were true."

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