© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
KSOR Header background image 1
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

As It Was: 1892 House Party Displaces Halloween Tricks

The rather destructive pranks of the 1800s’ Halloween revelers, like hoisting buggies on top of barns, tipping over outhouses and putting gates in the nearest lake, gave way to more genteel parties later in the century.  These house parties had decorations of jack o’ lanterns, sheet ghosts, paper witches, fortune-telling, popcorn, and pumpkin pie.

One such party was given in October 1892 by Mr. And Mrs. G. M. Grainger of Ashland, Ore., in honor of Miss Carrie Beekman. Their invitation read as follows:


As herein will be seen,

The pleasure of your company

On the eve of Halloween

At a little social party

At their home on Granite St.

At eight you’ll form a merry circle

That will around true friends meet.

They would also kindly ask you

A favor so please do not decline,

And that is this; be sure and send

Your acceptance or regrets in rhyme.

And to the one whose verse is best, In rhyme and meter as the judges shall deem,

There will be given a dainty prize.

With the kindest regards of Halloween.”

Source: The invitation is in MS 137 at the Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library and in their Halloween Vertical File.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.