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Wartime Halloween

Antique Halloween postcard image

Halloween around the turn of the century often involved youngsters playing pranks on their neighbors, heaving cabbage and other excess vegetables at houses, attending masquerade parties, and generally making merry in the streets on All Hallow’s Eve.  In 1918, all these activities were curtailed.

Mayor William Zimmerman proclaimed that Halloween of 1918 would be a “sane Hallowe’en.”  Parties fell into the “public gathering” category that was outlawed under the influenza ban, and he pleaded that so many Richmondites were still sick with the flu that it would be considerate to keep quiet in the streets.

Wartime food conservation put a damper on cabbage throwing, and even soaping windows was considered unpatriotic.  The First World War ended 11 days later, so this was a temporary measure, at least until the Second World War.

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