PDD Quiz: Halloween High Jinks

Duluth News Tribune, Oct. 29, 1922.

There are more tricks than treats in this week’s PDD quiz, which looks back at bygone Halloween pranks reported in the Duluth News Tribune. All articles, photographs and cartoons come from database America’s Historical Newspapers, which covers the years 1855-1922. For a look at more recent Halloween shenanigans, check out Mike Creger’s 2014 Duluth News Tribune article.

The next PDD quiz will review this month’s headlines; it will be published on Oct. 25. Submit question suggestions to Alison Moffat at [email protected] by Oct. 21.

#1 In 1906, a grocery clerk noted that Halloween mischief-makers had nearly cleaned stores out of this item.

Peashooters are mentioned often in news reports of Halloween shenanigans.

#2 Even during quiet Halloweens, pranksters often smeared this on windows.

In 1915, Park Point’s lone police officer, Bob Smollett, threw a Halloween party attended by around 200 children.

Smollett is reported to have told children before they left “if you want to soap windows, go ahead. If you run out of soap on your way home, come back and I’ll give you some. Every housewife likes soap on her windows. She needn’t use so much of it herself.”

#3 In 1920, an early Halloween prank caused a streetcar to derail at the intersection of Bruce Street and this well-traveled road.

Pipes were placed across the tracks, which caused the streetcar to derail. The 35 streetcar passengers sustained only minor injuries.

#4 On Halloween 1922, 10-year-old Wilho Maki of Biwabik sustained a serious eye injury when he was shot with what?

12-year-old Victor Milo shot Maki with a shotgun loaded with rock salt in retaliation for a previous Halloween prank.

#5 In 1922, an early Halloween prank prompted Officer William Arts to threaten juvenile court. What was the prank?

A woman was “slightly injured” when she tripped on the wire that was stretched across the sidewalk along Adeline Street.

#6 An 1898 article noted that a Halloween prankster stole an undertaker’s sign and put it where?

The undertaker’s sign was placed over the drugstore’s soda ad, so the sign read “Best Embalming Fluid in the City — Five cents a glass.”

#7 A runaway wagon wheel–part of some pre-Halloween mischief–made headlines in 1914. The wheel rolled down Second Avenue West from Second Street and stopped here.

The wheel broke through the plate glass window of the Bellnet Furniture Company.

#8 On Oct. 31, 1910, a streetcar conductor was pelted with what?

The Duluth News Tribune reported that “as a car reached Twenty-eighth avenue west and Third street about 9:30 last evening with the conductor standing on the rear platform he was made a target for about two dozen eggs probably laid a year or more ago.”

#9 On Halloween 1897, a group of girls constructed a dummy with a valise and lantern to flag an Iron Range train in this Duluth neighborhood.

The Duluth News Tribune reported that the Iron Range Railroad superintendent paid the girls back with the prank of his own: he wrote a stern letter seeking to “procure the names of the persons in questions so that the matter might be followed up and the guilty ones punished.” The girls experienced “much trembling and apprehension” before learning that the superintendent’s letter was a retaliatory joke.

#10 In what year did an influenza pandemic prompt a ban on large Halloween gatherings?

Despite the ban on municipal Halloween celebrations and parades, the Duluth News Tribune reported a large number of smaller festivities.

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