Halloween Has Always Brought Out The Wickedly in Whiting
According to The Times, a crowd of 25,000 to 30,000 people were expected to attend Wickedly Whiting. Thanks to the cool but sunny autumn weather, that estimate was probably pretty accurate.
Halloween has been enjoyed by generations of Whiting-Robertsdale residents, and maybe not enjoyed by those who have been on the “trick” end of trick-or-treat fun. “I must say,” said Jim Buckley reminiscing back in 1990 about his own childhood, “the boys of the late 1920s and early 30s were far more reckless, and downright devils, compared to us in the late 30s and early 40s.”
Maybe the boys of the 1920s and early 30s, learned something from the boys of the 1900s and 1910s. “Halloween pranks was the cause of a large window being broken at the home of Mr. & Mrs. R. Kleiber, on 119th Street,” the Lake County Times reported in 1910.
In the mid-1900s, Whiting police increased their manpower to deal with Halloween fun that went too far. “About ten extra policemen in addition to the usual force were on special watch to guard against damage by the Halloween merrymakers,” the paper reported in 1906.
That year, the damage included gates that were detached by pranksters and “mysteriously carried away.” The biggest incident that year was another window being broken, this time at Recht’s Department store in downtown Whiting. “The excitement was great,” the paper said, “when an employee of Recht’s store chased several small children who happened to be in the vicinity.”
In 1909, the newspaper reported that Halloween went more quietly in Whiting “than it ever has been.” But then it said that “door mats and gates were stolen by the wholesale, and beans and flour were thrown around in profusion,” often at the windows of homes. The street car service was also impeded when someone put soap on the rails. “It was up to the motorman to get off the car and throw sand on the rails to cover up the soap.” If that was a quieter than usual Halloween, it kind of makes you wonder what those earlier years were like.