Halloween is widely celebrated in Revelstoke now, by both adults and children, but that wasn’t always the case. In researching Revelstoke’s celebration of Halloween, it was hard to find much about it at all in the early newspapers. This note appeared in the November 4, 1905 edition of the Revelstoke Herald: “Halloween passed off quietly, the principal mischief being the disappearance of gates on Mackenzie Avenue. The owners would be glad to have them returned.” Trick-or-treating did not seem to be popular until the 1930s. Before that time, there was what the newspapers referred to as pranks, or mischief, which included the occasional destruction of property as well as noisemaking and the shooting of firecrackers. During the First World War, the newspapers exhorted the boys of the city to refrain from any destruction of property, claiming that it was an assistance to the enemy.
In 1934, there were rumors that the underemployed men in the government work camps would cause mass destruction in the city. The Revelstoke Review of November 2, 1934 had this to say: “Halloween passed very quietly in Revelstoke, believe it or not. There had been rumors that the town would be blown off the map. Dynamite had been made into hand grenades and other destructive material had been obtained, it was said. But nothing happened. A few windows were soaped and none of the so-called radical element in the camps was found in the city.” Community suppers and parties were often held in celebration of Halloween. The Pythian Sisters lodge held a Halloween Social in 1936. The Revelstoke Review reported: “Ghosts, witches and Jack-o-lanterns were the masters of ceremonies at the Pythian Sisters’ social held on Tuesday evening. Treasure hunting was a popular game, while Halloween contests and the Witch’s Murder, in the form of a bowling match, were a close second. Prizes and fortunes were distributed among the guests. Dainty refreshments consisting of ‘Druid’s Delight,’ ‘Witches’ Brew’ and ‘Toes Not Found on Man Nor Beast’ were served to put the finishing touches on to a real Halloween evening. During World War II, the Kinsmen Club tried to provide some Halloween fun for the local children while raising money for their war efforts. “Milk for Britain” campaign.
Due to rationing, most homes could not purchase treats to hand out, so the Kinsmen Club came up with a great alternative. They sold sheets of tickets to householders at one cent per ticket. When children came to the door for treats, they were given a ticket at each home. They could then redeem the tickets for hot dogs and treats at a community-wide Halloween party at the YMCA building on First Street East. All of the proceeds went towards the Kinsmen Club’s “Milk for Britain” campaign. However you celebrate Halloween, we hope that it is fun and safe. The attached photograph by Emma Roberts shows a group of school children having some Halloween fun at the CPR station in 1920.