A Golden Halloween
As the weather cools and the leaves begin to change from their summer green to a vibrant yellow, Goldenites are welcoming fall and looking towards the holiday season. With the presence of COVID-19 still in our minds and some reports that trick-or-treating may be canceled, many may be wondering what a Saturday Halloween in 2020 will bring. While I cannot predict what the future holds, I can look to the past and see how previous Goldenites embraced the October festivities.
Nearing Hallows’ Eve, ‘tis the season for spooky decorations, creative costumes, good-natured mischief, and delicious treats. According to a Colorado Transcript article written on November 1, 1939, “Hallowe’en, the evening of October 31, is so called because it is the eve of the Christian festival of All Saints…[and this year] The Hallowe’en parties all preceded Hallowe’en night so as to leave the evening free for mere mischief making.” What is this mischief making, you ask? Well you are in for a treat!
It appears an early Golden tradition involved the “annual Hallowe’en soaping of the windows.” In a Colorado Transcript article dating to November 3, 1927, apparently “Not a business house on the avenue escaped the annual [soapy] decoration [and this] can also be said of a number of windows in private homes in various parts of the city. The little folks indulged in a lot of harmless fun.” It is unclear the exact timing of this tradition but thus far I have found mention of the “soap-ocalypse” from 1923 to 1936. With the earlier toilet paper shortage brought on by COVID-19 stockpiling, maybe the Golden “little folk” will return to their soaping roots and visit a window near you!
Although we may not be able to experience the same type of festivities as last year, we can still imagine some of the previous neighborhood parties such as the King Tut party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Garrison at their home on 1820 Arapaho in 1923 and other events like the Halloween Dance at Armory Hall in 1915. Perhaps this October season we can continue to spread cheer, feel a sense of community by celebrating with our neighbors (albeit masked and social distant), and hopefully even laugh at some good-natured mischief that we read about on Nextdoor the next morning.
From the staff at Golden History Museum & Park to you, we wish you a spook-tacular Halloween!
—Megan Murphy, Visitor Services and Interpretation Coordinator