From spooky goblins to witches and toothy jack-o-laterns, here’s a look at Halloween in Maryland from yesteryear.
FROM THE ARCHIVES:
Halloween wore a different face Revels: In the 1930s, crowds jammed Baltimore Street for the annual costume parade. Clowns, cowboys and Colonial Dames had one thing in common: no masks. The police commissioner had ruled them out.
By Fred Rasmussen | Baltimore Sun
October 27, 1996
The observance of Halloween in the Baltimore of the 1930s was a different affair from today’s.
Police issued guidelines detailing how the holiday would be celebrated. Crowds of trick or treaters jammed Baltimore Street for the annual Halloween-night costume parade. And the week preceding Halloween was always punctuated by acts of mischief, duly reported by The Sun.
In 1930 City Police Commissioner Charles D. Gaither, apparently fearing that criminals in disguise would mix with the crowds, included this warning among the year’s guidelines:
“No. 1 on the list of rules and regulations is no masks. This applies to clowns, harlequins, columbines, cowboys, Colonial Dames, Mexicans, spooks, skeletons, soldiers, sailors and marines. It applies, in fact, to anyone and everyone.”
The Sun added, “The Police taboos will apply to any Halloween celebrant who appears in public with a bean-shooter, any Halloween celebrant who appears in public with a six-shooter, any Halloween celebrant who throws flour or confetti or bricks.”
The arrival of Doorbell Night, Chalk Night, Mischief Night and Moving Night — all during the week before Halloween — meant that homeowners had better be prepared for some high jinks and other acts of deviltry.
The Sun observed wryly: “If dwellers in suburbia do not experience again their usual Halloween troubles, then the Great American Boy is not the healthy specimen that he used to be.”
City police were not so forgiving and warned violators that, if they were caught destroying or defacing property, they would most likely “haunt” the city jail for 30 days.
Downtown residents complained vociferously that year about their milk bottles being removed and smashed.
“Miscreants balance milk bottles on door knobs and then ring the bell,” said The Sun. “When the door is opened the bottle drops and is shattered.”