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  • Writer's pictureTisha Dolton

A Glimpse at Hallowe'en in & around Glens Falls, NY: 1883-1914

As the Glens Falls tradition, Boo-2-You gets underway today (10/30/2021) from 2-4 PM, it got me thinking of ways we celebrate Halloween in the area. Using our subscription, I came across these...

The Glens Falls Morning Star reported on October 31, 1883 "Halloween to-night. The lads and lasses will indulge in old-time amusements, such as ducking for apples in a basin of water, throwing apple peelings over the shoulder hoping to see them form the initial of the chrsitian [sic] name of their future husband or wife, and other harmless diversions."

Five years later, on November 2, 1888, The Morning Star reported on a twist to the old-bobbing for apples, which I don't recommend, under the column "Hallowe'en Chat."

—Miss Mamie Crosbie, May Street, entertained a party of her little friends at a Hallowe'en party Wednesday evening. One of the games played by the children is thus described: Several apples were placed in a tub partially filled with water. Into some of the fruit small coins were pressed so as to be out of sight. Participants in the game would in turn drop a fork into the water and take the apple into which the prongs stuck. Those who obtained apples with coins in them took the pieces home as keepsakes. (clipping below)

An odd twist on bobbing-for-apples as appeared in "Hallowe'en Chat in the November 2, 1888, issue of The Glens Falls Morning Star.

On October 31, 1889, the Morning Star states "The Black Cap club and the Tally-ho Ten will have a Hallowe'en party to-night in the Laurel club rooms. That it will be a very enjoyable affair can be taken for granted as both clubs have a high reputation as entertainers." According to the 1890 Glens Falls city directory, the Laurel Club rooms were at 23 Ridge St which would be today be in the vicinity of the parking lot for Cronin High Rise. (clipping below)

Black Cap club & Tally-ho Ten plan Halloween Party, October 31, 1889, The Glens Falls Morning Star

A warning was issued in The Morning Star on October 31, 1890.

—All Halloween! Tradition and custom warrant the youngsters in having a happy time. They are not licensed, however, to annoy their neighbors or indulge in disorderly conduct.

How did they decorate for their parties? Let's have a look.

In Fort Edward on November 1, 1894 The Morning Star states "Thirty couples participated in a Hallowe'en masquerade party given by several young ladies at Young's hall last evening. The room was decorated with cabbage, pumpkins, etc. The costumes were original, many of the amusing, and the ladies looked charming in their outfits. The affair, which was managed by the fair ones, passed off delightfully, Miss Mickle furnished music."

Miss Amelia Kennedy, who lived at 31 Hudson St. in South Glens Falls according to the 1905 Glens Falls city directory, "entertained 38 of he[r] friends last evening at a Hallowe'en party. The house was decorated with autumn leaves and corn. Jack o' lanterns were placed in corners of the rooms making a beautiful effect. Games appropriate for the evening were played. Refreshments were served. (The Morning Star, Glens Falls, NY, November 1, 1905.)

Even the local suffrage club got into the spooky spirit, hosting a dance On October 23, 1914. The Post Star reported in the following day's paper...



Forty Couples Enjoy Political Equality Club’s Dancing Party in Ridge Hall


About 40 couples enjoyed a pleasant dancing party given last evening in Ridge Hall by the Political Equality club. The spirit of the Hallowe’en season prevailed, cornstalks and jack-o’-lanterns playing a prominent part in the decorations. In all corners, between chairs at the sides of the hall and about the orchestra rostrum were arranged large sheafs of corn and suspended from the pillars and about different parts of the hall were jack-o’-lanterns. About the wall were paper cats’ heads and black witches with high caps. Streamers of black and yellow were much in evidence. Mrs. Elmer J. West [Dora Brown West, mother of four, and active member of the GFPEC] had charge of the arrangements.

(Tp the right, Halloween decorating ideas from Dennison's 1914 Bogie Book.)

Glens Falls Political Equality club hosts Halloween dance. Post-Star (Glens Falls, NY). October 24, 1914. P.5.

Maybe Dora had a five cent copy of Dennison's 1914 Bogie Book. If so, maybe her decorations looked a bit like this...

What are your Halloween traditions?



Resources used to write this post include, Glens Falls city directories, & the biographical vertical files held in the Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library.


Tisha Dolton is Librarian/Historian at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Her areas of interest are suffrage music, suffragists of Warren and Washington Counties, local women and minority populations, and embroidery.


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