A few years ago, I happened to be with a grandson who was excitedly telling me about his new costume for Halloween that year, when he asked me if we had Halloween 'way back' when I was in school. I assured him we had, but that made me think of how differently we had celebrated it - with very few manufactured costumes, popcorn ball treats, and a plan to canvas the entire town, with a friend, not our parents. Doing a little research, I found a few mentions of Lexington events from 'way back', as reported in the Daily Pantagraph:
November 2, 1897 - "Hallowe'en was observed in Lexington Saturday night, and a large number were out and considerable damage was done. Three extra police were put on the force and several miscreants were caught, but as yet, there have been no arrests made."
October 27, 1925 - "Mrs. A. J. Woodard will be hostess to the Methodist Guild at her home Thursday afternoon, when the annual dollar social and Hallowe'en fete will be held." October 30, 1939 - "The seventh grade held a masquarade Hallowe'en party at the home of David Van Dolah Thursday evening. Miss Elizabeth Gieger received the prize for the best costume, dressed as a
scarecrow. The 24 members of the sixth grade held a Hallowe'en class party at the home of Clyde Pampel Thursday evening."
October 30, 1941 - Carolyn's Hilltop restaurant ran ads promoting a big Hallowe'en party.
October 27, 1943 - "The Community Club of Payne School will hold a Halloween party at the school Friday evening. There will be a magician on the program and everyone is asked to come masked. The committee for the evening is Mrs. Eldon Atkins and Mrs. Preslyn Allison."
October 30, 1960 - "The annual Halloween parade, which is sponsored by the Knights of Pythias Lodge, the Lexington Community Club and the city of Lexington, will be held Monday evening. There will be prizes for each age classification and a grand prize of $10.00."
October 26, 1967 - "The annual Halloween parade will be held Sunday in the city park. In case of rain, paraders should meet at the Jaycee Hall. The affair is jointly sponsored by the Jaycees and the Community Club. Refreshments and prizes will be distributed at the JC Hall."
November 5, 1981 - "Halloween in Lexington this year was unlike any other - not a single window was soaped. 'I am appreciative of our young adults,' Police Chief Bill Joyce told the City Council Wednesday night. 'There was no vandalism in Lexington during Halloween this year.' Mayor Glen Watt said, 'This is
a Halloween to remember.'"
Eventually, a few local changes in the event included focusing more on the safety of the youngsters who were out and moving the parade from the park to an indoor venue.
I assured my grandson that even 'way back' in the days when I was in school, we had lots of fun assembling our own Halloween costumes instead of buying them at Party City or Walmart. Now, I must admit that I purposely did NOT mention the occasional harmless tricks which were done around town, like wrapping houses in rolls and rolls of tissue paper. He did not need any new ideas for mischief, that was for sure!