Halloween In Tacoma, Washington (1930 – 1968)
Tis the night—the night
Of the grave’s delight,
And the warlocks are at their play;
Ye think that without,
The wild winds shout,
But no, it is they—it is they!
― Arthur Cleveland Coxe, Halloween: A Romaunt
The Tacoma County and Golf Club held a Halloween party for the children of the members in October of 1951. This unidentifiable young lady, posed at the foot of the club house staircase, came dressed as a dancing cigarette pack. Old Gold’s dancing cigarette packs first appeared on television in the late 1940s. By 1951 they were so well known and popular with the public that they were “TV stars” even though the dancers inside the boxes were faceless and “bodyless”.
A woman acrobat provided part of the evenings entertainment at the Halloween party sponsored by the Tacoma Athletic Commission on October 30, 1950. In this photograph she is balancing on the platform at the top of a small step-platform with her toes pointed straight up at the ceiling. The acrobate is probably Patsy Jean Smith, who studied acrobatics at the Barclay School in Seattle. Mr. Barclay also taught at the Lewis Harter Studios, 945 1/2 Broadway in Tacoma. The Athletic Commission Halloween party was held at the Top of the Ocean.
20 children have gathered for a Halloween Party. They are seated at two tables in a formal dining room with dark wood wainscoting, heavy draperies and a china cabinet full of glassware. Halloween decorations are seen on the tables, on top of the china cabinet and a witches’ face is pinned to the curtain. Many of the boys wear party hats.
Due to the cooperative efforts of schools, park board, police department, the Moose Lodge and other organizations, there will be no dearth of Halloween entertainment for Tacoma boys and girls this week. For the second year, the Moose Lodge will sponsor a dance for students of Tacoma’s five public and parochial high schools at the National Guard Armory on Halloween night. Two thousand teenagers are expected to attend the 1950 event. The group in this photograph is trying out decorations for the dance.
“Official Witch” Chari-Kee Rowell, age 10, is flanked by her court, “Official Princess” Darcy Orr and “Official Devil” Janet Barr, as she prepares to lead the first Eastside Halloween Torchlight Parade which will be held on October 31, 1968. They are standing in front of the office of the Eastside Multi-Service Center, an arm of the Tacoma-Pierce County Opportunity & Development, Inc. Alice Dunn, director, had recently announced that the Eastside Youth Center in Salishan, destroyed by fire on March 30th, would be open in time for the “biggest Halloween party ever held in the Eastside.” An anonymous donor had just pledged $2,000 to complete the building fund. Hundreds of children dressed as goblins, ghosts and fairy-tale creations were expected to assemble at Gault and Roosevelt elementary schools to march in two torchlight one-mile parades culminating at the new Eastside Youth Center where they would bob for apples, hunt for pennies in the hay, eat pies and have their costumes judged for prizes.
Lowell students and their principal prepare for a howling good time at the ’53 Halloween Carnival. The Lowell School Parent-Teacher and Preschool Association sponsored a school carnival on Friday October 23, 1953. Pictured left to right are Sammie Warren, Nancy Conly, principal Clarence Monson, Andy Levesque, Tommy Rowland and Judith Sleep.With his chef’s hat and apron, Principal Monson looks as if he’ll be manning the hot dog grill. The carnival midway had over 30 booths including fun booths where students could throw darts at balloons or shoes at stuffed animals; food booths with ice cream, hot dogs and pop corn; and craft booths where they could make decorations or put on make-up.
Description Three men hold ukeleles with heads stuck on top of the necks while they sing in front of a microphone at the Halloween party sponsored by the Tacoma Athletic Commission at the Top of the Ocean. A man in the background is playing a white piano while the crowd looks on.
These telephone operators and their families enjoyed a Halloween party in October of 1930. Costumes of gold miners, hobos, strongmen, and wandering musicians were on display. Names of those in attendance were not provided.
Description Two unidentified men watch as nine unidentified Proctor area “trick-or-treaters” deposit the clothing that they collected for shipment to Korea, during the Halloween weekend, into marked white barrels. In 1953, the Oil Information Committee of Pierce County was working with the Overseas Relief Committee of the Tacoma Council of Churches to collect warm clothes for the needy in Korea. Items needed included blankets, coats and sensible shoes, children’s shoes & clothes, baby layettes and knitting wool and sewing thread. Donations could be taken to service stations and deposited in special white barrels marked “Clothing for Korea”.
A woman contortionist performed on the dance floor with her legs elevated on two tables on either side of her body in a split formation. Her body is lower than her feet. Groups of people who are seated at tables around dance floor applaud her performance during the Halloween party sponsored by the Tacoma Athletic Commission at the Top of the Ocean.
In October of 1947, the Sigma Nu fraternity at CPS (UPS) hosted a Halloween costume party for fraternity members and their guests. The various revelers dressed up as angels, devils, ghosts and pirates. The distinguished fellow who seems to be dressed as a college professor was in fact Dr. Charles T. Battin, Professor of Economics and Chairman of the Social Studies Division. The couple behind him are Edwin G. Cook III (in sombrero) and, to the right next to ghost, Barbera Jean (Rojean) Knight. The pair married on December 31, 1947.
These telephone operators and their families enjoyed a Halloween party in October of 1930. Costumes of gold miners, hobos, strongmen, wandering musicians and one gorilla were on display. In 1930 the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company provided local and long distance service to the residences and businesses of Tacoma. At that time their main office was at 919 Market. Names of those in attendance were not provided.
On October 31, 1959, two boys, Patrick on the left and David on the right, modeled their costumes for a group of approximately 20 children and assorted adults at a Halloween party held at the Blue Barons Motorcycle Clubhouse, 5623 South Monroe Street. David is dressed in a shiny black skeleton costume topped with a cowboy hat and Patrick wears a clown outfit that is a few sizes too small. The children reside at St. Ann’s Home and they are receiving gifts and treats at this party hosted by the Blue Barons. St. Ann’s Home was an orphanage located at 6602 Alaska and run by the Sisters of St. Francis.
Hostess Peggy Grumbling, left, and three of her friends listen to a scary story read by a Halloween witch at this costume party held at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfeus Grumbling. The girls also enjoyed games directed by Miss Helen Poe. ( T. Times 10/31/1938)
Miss Peggy Grumbling, in the standing row in “Devil” costume, played hostess to several of her friends at this pre-Halloween costume party, held at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alfeus Grumbling. Second from left in the standing row is Betty Wilbur. Seated in the front, beginning at second from the left, are Charlotte Dowling, Betty Magnuson and Elnor Deimer. The girls had a buffet dinner and played Halloween games. (T. Times 10/31/1838, pg. 11)
This photograph shows part of the crowd of 2,800 teenage Tacomans who spent their Halloween evening in 1951 at the Tacoma Armory, 715 South 11th Street. Working with the Metropolitan Park District and the Tacoma Police, the Tacoma Moose Lodge sponsored the third annual all-city high school dance to give Tacoma’s young people someplace safe to go after dark. The dance was from 8 to 11:30 p.m. with music provided by Larry Carino and his orchestra, one of the best 10 piece bands in the area. Police later said that the evening was one of the quietist on record.
On October 30, 1937, a Halloween barn dance was held at the Tacoma Country & Golf Club. Among the partygoers gathered around the bar were Caroll Carstens (second from left), Ed Griffin (fourth man from left), Tom Carstens (in cowboy hat), and Bud Doherty (second from right). The walls of the bar are papered with stock certificates. This decorating idea was the brainchild of Club president Harry K. Todd. The walls are papered with about 8 million dollars worth of stock certificates from businesses and ventures that did not work out. (T.Times, 11-30-1937, Society, p. 11).
Children at Manitou School are celebrating their tenth annual Halloween festivities with costumes, masks, parades and special tricks and treats. View of children dressed as, fortune tellers, cowboys, indians, witches, hillbillies, ghosts, scarecrows, clowns and “Little Red Riding Hood”. Jack-o-lanterns, witches and owls decorate the walls of the classroom, names appear in newspaper (T. Times, 10/31/47, p. 16).
Lyman Burke of Washington School and John Hughes of Jefferson School, togged out as pirates for the Proctor area Halloween costume parade in October of 1935, are ready to do battle for the Attendance Trophy Cup to be awarded to the school having the largest representation in the parade. In back row are Marilyn Wagnild of Jefferson and Betty Jean Woley and Edward Miller of Point Defiance School. Several thousand children and their parents joined in the parade and party sponsored by the 26th & Proctor St. Business Men’s Club.(T. Times, 10/31/1935, p. 1)
People enjoyed the floorshow at the Halloween Party sponsored by the Tacoma Athletic Commission at the Top of the Ocean. A group are seen here wearing party hats and holding party favors.
Several children watch a man dressed in a clown costume apply a face paint moustache to a boy dressed as a pirate at the North 26th & Proctor St. Business Men’s Club 7th annual “safe and sane” Halloween party. Several thousand youngsters and their parents attended the function that began with a costume parade led by Mayor Smitley and the American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps. The event would end with a huge bonfire. In between, about 100 prizes would be awarded, including a cup to the north end school having the largest attendance. Record cold temperatures did not prevent Tacoma’s petite witches and ghosts from taking part. (T.Times, 10/31/1935, p. 1).
The Tacoma Country and Golf Club had a Halloween party for the children of members in 1951. Two children are shown in mid-step entertaining others; the girl has on a top hat sprinkled with glitter and sparkling short costume while the young boy has on a flamenco style outfit with a large R on his bolero.
Frank Temple, sitting on a large pumpkin, appears to approve Joann Glenn’s selection of a nicely shaped, small pumpkin. Frank, Joann and “Charlie Brown” were photographed in Mr. and Mrs. Eberhard Kaelin’s pumpkin patch at Valley Avenue and 54th Avenue East in Fife on October 22, 1968. Charlie Brown seems to be commenting on the dilemma of picking out just the right pumpkin for Halloween. Frank is the son of Mrs. Ethel Temple and Joann is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Glenn. (Photograph ordered by the Tacoma-Pierce County Opportunity & Development, Inc.) (TNT 10-25-68, A-11)
Groups in costumes for Tacoma Yacht Club Halloween Party held on October 27, 1951. Pictured above in front of a ship model are: pirate William Ostruske with Mrs. Ostruske as a hula dancer and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Heffernan as a courtly Spanish couple.
A group portrait of the Kindergarten class at Washington School. Displays with a Halloween theme are seen beside the blackboard, perhaps “Five Little Pumpkins”. Drawings of nursery rhymes line the top of the area. The girls all wear dresses and several wear saddle shoes. Many of the boys wear suspenders over their striped tee shirts. They have been discussing, “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings, ” from R.L. Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.
Members of the Tacoma Country and Golf Club reveled at a masquerade ball at the clubhouse on Halloween, 1934. In the center in kilts with wig askew was future Mayor of Tacoma Harry P. Cain. To the far left was his wife, Marjorie Cain, dressed as a Russian cossack. Cain was holding the leg of an unidentified French maid, as an unidentified aviator held that of his wife in this interesting picture. The unidentified cross dressing couple to the right smiled merrily at the camera.
Via Tacoma Public Library