From the Nov. 2, 1945 Gazette:
About 50 children and nearly as many adults attended the Hallowe’en party held Wednesday evening in Agricultural Hall by the West Tisbury Grange, and if noise was any indication of a good time the party was certainly a howling success.
Many and varied were the costumes worn by the children. A grand march was played by Mrs. Preston Morris and all in costume marched around the hall while the judges decided on the prizes, which were for the most attractive and the most horrible costume. After a great deal of difficulty in making their decision, the judges, Rev. William M. Thompson Jr., Frank Wright and Benjamin Abbott, awarded the prizes as follows: Most attractive, 1st Dianna Brickman, 2nd Barsha Leavitt, and 3rd Judith Barker; most horrible, 1st Jane Austin, 2nd Gertrude Rogers and 3rd Shirley Vincent.
Many and varied were the games played, among them of course, the traditional ducking for apples. Prizes in the games were won by Hugo Santos, Irene Santos, Joan Merry, John Rabello, Esther Santos, James Alley and Robert Austin.
Dixon Rogers, young son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Rogers, sang Bell Bottom Trousers and Mrs. Morris gave two ghostly readings. A chamber of horrors story was read by the Rev. Mr. Thompson — and many a shudder and scream was heard from the participants when articles illustrating the story and representing a dead man’s bones, hand, eyes, brains, and tongue were passed from hand to hand in the darkened room.
Refreshments of punch, sandwiches and cookies were served by Mrs. George Magnuson, assisted by Mrs. Maud Call, Mrs. John Palmeira and Miss Elizabeth Manter.
Members of the Boys Club of Edgartown took over policing duties on Hallowe’en, under a plan developed by their director, Ralph S. Boyd, and Chief of Police James B. Geddis, and the results attained, according to Chief Geddis, could be considered as far superior to last year, with less noise, disturbance or annoyance, and cleaner streets.
A minority opinion, opposed to this view, was given short shrift by the chief, who said that his tour had disclosed conditions as generally excellent. Reported incidents were the dropping of fruit from the top of the First National Store, mischief three boys were responsible for, he said, and the throwing of a bag of flour through the window of Mrs. James E. Chadwick’s house. The last, the chief felt sure, was unintentional, and that the youngster responsible meant just to hit the side of the house.
The streets were left in a much cleaner state than usual, the chief said, and the youngsters’ behavior was mostly confined to such harmless pranks as knocking on doors and so on. He expressed pleasure in the results achieved by the boys club experiment and their patrol of the town. The chief’s list of the boys in charge for the night follows:
Chief of police, John Medeiros; sergeants, Allen Gelinas, Herold Niethold, Richard Mavro; corporal, William S. Smith; patrolmen, Thomas Teller, Martin Kelley, Donald Barry, Leo Convery, David Galley, Raymond Prada, David Brown, John Osborn, Teddy Henley, Edward Richard, Curtis Boyd, John Searle, Clyde McKenzie, Timothy Osborn, Charles Roberts, James B. Geddis Jr.
Hallowe’en was somewhat noisy, but mostly harmless so far as the merry-making was concerned, according to Island and state police. The traditional observance, of All Saints Eve, consisting of masquerades, informal parades, the visiting of homes, and attempts to startle the occupants, was confined mostly to children and very young people, who had a wonderful time. More children were abroad than usual, it seemed, and the costumes were grotesque indeed, the masks most hideous and the atmosphere thoroughly characteristic of the day.
But there were certain older participants in the Hallowe’en celebration who were not as kindly in their treatment of the public. Windows were marked with candle-wax throughout the centers of Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, the wax being difficult to remove. Some cars were likewise disfigured. One car, a Buick, was stolen from in front of the owner’s home, in Oak Bluffs, Stanley J. Whittaker, the owner, reporting the theft. Some of the church bells were rung merrily, and the silence of the night was moderately disturbed.
In Edgartown a system of patrol was set up which employed members of the Edgartown Boys Club, under the direction of Ralph S. Boyd, and Chief of Police James B. Geddis. The chief expressed himself as being very well pleased with the scheme, and declared that disturbance and annoyance were held down to an extent much greater than usual.
In spite of the number of people participating, it was a quiet and generally harmless celebration, with little show of viciousness or hoodlumism, and quite in keeping with Island traditions and practice. Happy Hallowe’en.
Compiled by Hilary Wall