Parties and pranks of Halloweens past

Published 2:39 pm Friday, November 17, 2017

By Linda Evenson

Photos courtesy of the Freeborn Historical Museum

Halloween, the evening before All Saint’s Day (Nov. 1), has been observed in various ways. Halloween games, stunts and parties were enjoyed in the past. In 1898, the students at Albert Lea College for Women celebrated with an evening gala. In 1907, trustees of the college and their wives came to the school and participated in old-time Halloween merry-making. The popcorn, nuts and apples they brought, along with the taffy the girls made and pulled, served as refreshments for the evening.

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The ladies of the Royal Neighbors of America held a Halloween lunch with entertainment in the M.W.A. hall at 137 E. Clark St. For the 1911 festivities, the hall was decorated with jack-o-lanterns in every possible place. A feature of the event was the booth decorated with black cats where a witch told fortunes.

Over a century ago, pranks were part of Halloween. The Nov. 2, 1892, issue of the Freeborn County Standard reported, “The younger generation celebrated with their usual demonstrations, although not as much harm was perpetrated as has formerly been done. Bells were rung, carriages wheeled away, horse blocks, boxes and barrels removed to obscure places, and numerous other acts of mischief were perpetrated.”