Hallowe’en celebrations in 1911

Halloween kidsHalloween was taken very seriously, back in the day.  By seriously, it is meant that adults and children alike took delight in dressing up and playing at being frightened. Villisca was no different. Kids and grown ups looked forward to the parties and took great pleasure in creating fun events in which to celebrate this fall holiday. The following items are taken from one column in the November 2, 1911 Review.


Merry Ghosts and Goblins Hold Forth
In Annual Orgy and Many Villisca
Homes are Scenes of Delightful
Festivity—The Week Socially

Hallowe’en, that most delightful of annual festivals, when belief in ghosts and witches and all uncanny things has its sway, was celebrated in Villisca in appropriate fashion, and except in a few cases there was very little of the boisterous merry-making or wanton destruction of property so often accompanying the gladsome time.  In a number of Villisca homes social gatherings took place, as a kind of climax to a week of social events of an ante-Halloween nature.  Altogether the Week socially has been a very delightful one.

Supt. and Mrs. J. M. Ireland were the pleasing host and hostess at a vey delightful ante-Hallowe’en party on Thursday evening of last week at which the sixteen teachers of the high and Lincoln schools were the guests. The evening’s program of amusements was entitled a “Comedy in Five Acts.” And each guest was furnished a copy neatly written on a cardboard jack-o’-lantern. The first act (music hath charms to soothe the savage breast) required the guests to each contribute something in a musical way; the second (Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us to see oursilves is ithers see us) consisted in the guests, having drawn partners, to each draw the other’s picture; the third (and thereby hangs a tale) was a story telling act; the fourth (eat, drink and be merry) is self explanatory; and the last act, entitled “As You Like It,” permitted the guests to enjoy themselves as their own sweet fancies dictated.

The four different classes of the high school celebrated Halloween by having parties at the home of certain members.
The senior class held their party at the home of Miss Ethelda Armstrong. The home was very artistically decorated with jack-‘o’-lanterns and oak leaves. In the cellar were found spooks and witches. Several different ways of telling fortunes were tried and games played. Light refreshments were served.


The Junior class held their Hallowe’en entertainment in a vacant house known as the Alexander property and located on upper Fourth avenue. A committee of five was selected to select a place and they sent out invitations to the effect that the place would be found by a black cat lit up by a lantern. Games were played appropriate to the occasion and refreshments served.

Forty-five of the Sophomore class spent a very pleasant evening at the home of Miss Rose Harris in the west part of town. The home was decorated in the class colors, orange and black. Games were played and refreshments were served.


The Freshman class held their party at the home of Miss Venice Churchill. Before going to Miss Churchill’s home, they spent a short time at the moving picture show. The latter part of the evening was spent in playing games and refreshments consisting of pumpkin pie, cider and doughnuts were served.


Dr. and Mrs. J. Clark Cooper entertained their friends to two different Hallowe’en parties this week. The first was held Monday evening and to this one fourteen guests were present. The second one was held Tuesday evening and to this one twelve guests were entertained. Both evenings were very delightfully spent in trying the “stunts” that are usually tried on Hallowe’en night.


A committee of five ladies consisting of Mesdames Mary Jackson, T. P. Woodward and Fred Jackson, Misses Grace Meyerhoff and Letha Jones very delightfully entertained the PEO lodge at the home of Mrs. Fred Jackson on Fifth avenue on Hallowe’en. The affair was an old fashioned party. All the guests, and there were thirty, came dressed in old fashioned clothes. Old games were played and a very sumptuous supper was served in accordance with old fashioned ideas.


On Monday morning, Mrs. C. E. Jenkins received warning to take care because the itches were about; and the epistle read as follows:

A dozen witches, from a place
With plenty brains, and a face
So withered and so in attire,
Will come and chat around the fire.

Fowls that are old and tough
Pickles sour, sweet, smooth or rough.
Doughnuts that are just like lead
Coffee, which will sure a clear head,
Bread which did not get too old
Butter strong but small of mold.
Add to this some forbidden fruit
All prepared with corn to suit.

For us on all spooks night
Between darkness and daylight.

At seven o’clock they arrived wearing their tall hats, riding brooms, wearing masks and carrying lanterns. They brought their own suppers and all say they had a delightful evening.

The End

Halloween shrooms

Not a zombie to be found in the entire town! Ah, for the good old days.   Happy Hallowe’en to all!

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