Halloween Violence And Vandalism Were Once So Common That Authorities Even Considered Banning The Holiday

“Most everybody enjoys a joke or fun to a proper degree on suitable occasions, but when property is damaged or destroyed, it is time to call a halt,” the paper began.

“We would advise the public to load their muskets or cannon with rock, salt, or bird shot, and when trespassers invade your premises at unseemly hours upon mischief bent, pepper them good and proper so they will be effectually cured and have no further taste for such tricks.”

Still, though, Halloween violence and looting only escalated during the Great Depression. And amidst so much other turmoil, the public just could not stand seeing any more destruction. So, authorities even considered banning the frightening holiday.

However, according to Morton, that strategy would have never worked– and officials were savvy enough to think up another, more effective plan.

Instead of taking away the holiday, civic authorities, community organizations, and families banded together to amplify Halloween celebrations– just in their own controlled and PG way.

Rather than leaving kids to run amock the night of October 31, carnivals, parties, and costume parades were launched as a way to keep children occupied.

And since the Great Depression was not a time of abundant wealth, the effort was only possible through community-wide collaboration.

For example, families would pool together resources and create house-to-house parties.

“The first house might give out costumes such as a white sheet to be ghosts or soot to smudge on kids’ faces. The next house might give out treats, and the next might have a basement set up as a tiny haunt,” Morton explained.

These festivities quickly told hold among youth and sparked the tradition of dressing up for Halloween and going door-to-door in search of candy.

Then, by World War II, many children pledged to support troops abroad by abstaining from vandalism, violence, and other fooleries on the holiday– which was one more big step toward solidifying the family-friendly Halloween traditions we know and love today.

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