Those damn kids. They will make life miserable for older Duluthians.

From the Duluth News Tribune, 1895.


(Note: If you find it a struggle to read this, scroll down to the first comment, where a helpful typist has provided a fresh version.)

23 Comments

Lithis

about 9 years ago

HALLOWE'EN TRICKS
—————
They Will Make Life Miserable for Older Duluthians Tonight.
—————
THE BOYS ARE "LAYING FOR 'EM"
—————
And Every Disturber Tradition Can Suggest Will Be Employed.
—————

Notes of preparation fill the air and announce the near approach of Hallowe'en. For the past few days there have been occasional squawks from penny whistles or experimental showers of corn against shop windows. This was by way of anticipation. By tonight these premonitory symptoms will be accentuated and multiplied by thousands of whistles and tin horns applied to the lips of as many school boys.

The young Duluthian has a dreamy look in his eye this morning. He is thinking, perhaps, of his plans for the night. Hallowe'en night is peculiarly his own and differs from all other nights as Thanksgiving dinner differs from lunch on washday. His pockets are filled with small, hard kernels, selected with a view to producing a maximum rattle and a minimum breakage when forcibly applied to window panes.

He isn't a bad fellow, that rosy-cheeked, bright-eyed schemer. His appetite for strange and startling events is perhaps abnormal, but he would rather carry off a gate or transplant signboards any day than to stretch strings across the sidewalk and trip folks up. Even when made bold by numbers and out for revenge he can't help a qualm of remorse when he has contributed to someone's positive discomfort or done some irreparable damage.

To evade policemen or watchful householders while fulfilling the mission of a mischievous pixy—that is pure fun and joy, and such secret misdeeds satisfy the yearnings of his soul, which for 364 days and nights of the year are comparatively stifled and dormant.

A thorough search through the woodsheds, stable lofts and attics of the city would no doubt reveal a surprising number of hollowed out pumpkins, artistically carved to imitate the human countenance. Tallow candles are not much used in cities nowadays, but your average boy has been secreting scraps and ends of candles for a week or more. Where he could afford the outlay he has even bought two or three from the corner grocery and generously divided up with his younger brothers.

His sisters will pull taffy, that is if they can find it after they set it out to cool. They will also have an opportunity to interview a real live ghost in the moonlight if their brothers are successful in purloining a couple of sheets from the linen closet.

It has been established beyond question that all policemen once were boys. That is probably the reason that on Hallowe'en a well regulated copper would rather step aside into a dark shadow and watch mysterious proceedings with a smile of amusement than interfere and spoil the fun. But duty is duty, and if things look at all serious he emerges from the gloom and causes a decided scattering among the Brownies.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Lithis, you are a hero and there might be a little something coming your way again as a reward. Might.

MaryK

about 9 years ago

1895 - a time when it was "beyond question that all policemen were once boys." Fun article.

markryan

about 9 years ago

This article reminds me of a song we used to sing as kids at Halloween in the late 50s/early 60s. The first verse may have been slightly different - maybe not - I don't remember. Some of the antics seem a bit harsh.

[Sung to the tune of "Deck the Halls"]

Deck the halls with balls of holly
Fa la la la laaaa, la la la la
Isn't trick or treating jolly?
Fa la la la laaaa, la la la la.

Ring the doorbell,
Slash the tire.
Fa la la la la la, la la la 
Trip the old man with the wire.
Fa la la la laaaa, la la la la.

hbh1

about 9 years ago

I really do think that throwing corn kernels at windows should be brought back.

Fred

about 9 years ago

Yeah! Flaming bag of dog poop award! Check your front door.

Lithis

about 9 years ago

Has the Preview Comment button stopped working for anyone else?

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

I don't think the Preview Comment button has ever worked for anyone.

Chris

about 9 years ago

Since someone else changed the subject first.  What happened to email notifications?  If you commented on something you'd get an email on any subsequent comment.  Is that gone now or is it just some issue I'm having?  I tried searching for an answer before posting but couldn't find anything.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

You get an e-mail notice if someone comments on a post you created. You do not get one if someone comments after you in another person's post.

Chris

about 9 years ago

So that's a change then, because you used to have the option of checking a box for that right?

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

I don't think that was ever an option. You might be thinking of Facebook.

Barrett Chase

about 9 years ago

It was an option. That plugin was turned off when our server contracted a virus.

TimK

about 9 years ago

I think preview comment button works when you are actually logged in to wordpress.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Does it work for you, Tim? It doesn't work for me.

Tom

about 9 years ago

Preview comment used to work for me....it mysteriously stopped working a few months ago.  I miss it because it was nice when you weren't sure how something was going to turn out, especially HTML stuff.

Tom

about 9 years ago

I blame those damn kids. They're making life miserable for us.

pH

about 9 years ago

"Every Disturber Tradition" and  "Experimental Showers of Corn" belong in some band's discography.

Reading old newspaper articles, I get the sense something was lost in the plain-language movement.  Thanks Rudolf Flesch.  Down with readability! Up with the abstruse!

Chris

about 9 years ago

Barrett, thank you for the clarification that I'm not crazy.  And Paul, thanks for implying I'm so dense I may have confused Facebook with this blog.  Speaking of which, where the hell did the "like" button go?  I swear we used to be able to like comments on here...

TimK

about 9 years ago

I only log in to Wordpress when I am creating a new post. Nothing pertinent to post at the moment, so we'll just have to wait... unless someone else tries it. I like WP, but it does have a few bugs now and again.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Chris, did you just poke me?

Chris

about 9 years ago

No.  The damn poke button is also gone.  I would have responded sooner but I had no way of knowing you posted.  Too bad the technology isn't there to send a person some kind of...

adam

about 9 years ago

It is a constant cat and mouse battle for WP to keep its platform secure. Blogger, for example, has pretty much become the exclusive domain of command-and control for botnets.

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