This Day In History

Our newspaper runs a daily feature titled This Day In History, where they dig into the archives to go back in history either 75 or 100 years. I always get a kick out of the stories and how much things have changed and at the same time, stay the same. These 3 parts were featured about Halloween and the curfew that was mandated and the mayhem that ensued.
Spokane police Chief Ira A. Martin laid down the law to Spokane's kids in 1935: A 9 p.m. curfew for kids would be strictly enforced for Halloween and the night before.

"For these two nights, any children found on the streets after that hour, if unaccompanied by parents or other adult persons, will be liable to police detention," said the chief. "The juvenile ward at the county courthouse will be used to house those children who run afoul of the police on those two nights."

A Spokane County deputy said his department was also taking a tough stance on Halloween vandalism.

"We will tolerate no vandalism," he said. "In former years, we have had many complaints of old buildings being torn down, old cars and wagons being placed on highways, signs destroyed and other unlawful acts."

Extra police officers and deputies were ordered on duty on both nights

Did all of these precautions work? Check tomorrow's column for details, but the brief answer is No.
Pre-Halloween vandalism was rife in Spokane, despite police threats of arrest and a 9 p.m. curfew for all children.

Two boys smashed a downtown store's display window and ran off. A number of fires were set in neighborhoods all over the city. One woodshed burned down.

Firefighting was complicated by the fact that pranksters pulled the handles of fire alarm boxes all over the city.

Also, "police telephones were busy with calls from householders who told of young celebrants invading residential districts."

And this all happened on the night before Halloween. See Monday's column for an account of more Halloween mayhem.
One police officer was called to a Halloween disturbance where he was “decidedly set upon and mauled by a gang of boys” on Broadway Avenue.

They knocked the officer down, stole his star and his club, tied him up and left him on the street. Passers-by later released him.

Another officer was sent to the same neighborhood. He was “almost blinded by showers of flour thrown on him by a bevy of girls, who also succeeded in tripping the officer.”

In Stafford’s Addition, a gang of kids piled obstructions on a track and held up a streetcar.

Phones at the police station rang nonstop from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“My gate is gone and think it is at the top of a telegraph post,” went one typical call.

“There is a gang tearing things loose up here and our very lives are in danger,” went another.

One “timid voice” called the station and asked, “Will there be any harm in a bunch of 10 girls dressing up as boys and going out for a lark?”

The police reply: “No particular harm, but you and your friends will stand a very good chance of being arrested.”

A number of kids were arrested.
It actually sounded like more fun way back then. I like their descriptions of 'gangs'. And girls dressing up as boys was a big threat. The police department sounds more like the Keystone Cops, not much different from today. Hope your Halloween was much safer. I'll run more of these features now and then.


fernvalley01 said…
good grief! aressted for silly fun? the vandaliism sounds bad but the rest?
Grumpy said…
Until your post I had forgotten that when I was a kid there was a long standing tradition that the night before Halloween was known as "Damage Night". All it really amounted to was kids soaping windows in the neighborhood. Everyone knew it was coming and it was no big deal. Real vandalism? Never saw or heard of any.
Claire King said…
This is hilarious. Thanks for sharing.

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