Did You Know…
This Week in Sapulpa History – A Halloween Block Party Kicked Off With Over 20 Events
Rachel Whitney, Curator, Sapulpa Historical Museum
On October 31, 1921, hundreds of costumed and masked individuals gathered around the business district of Downtown Sapulpa. The city was to have a big Halloween celebration! Everyone was encouraged to wear costumes, engage with the music, sing, and dance, laugh and hang out at concession stands, all while twenty-plus different merchants were planning stunts in front of their stores.
The event was a spontaneous action by the downtown merchants. It brought in hundreds of outsiders from out of town with the Halloween celebration. “[It’s] going to fill the downtown streets of Sapulpa, a joyous and tumultuous Hallowe’en celebration such as was never given here before.”
The event took place from 7 PM to 10PM that Halloween night. Articles stated that traffic was blocked on Main St and Water Ave, between Hobson Ave and Lee Ave, and on Dewey Ave, from Main St to Elm St.
At least twenty-five clubs, organizations, and lodges joined the fun and had set up stands, not only to promote their clubs but to share hot dogs, hamburgers, pumpkin pie, cider, and other Halloween appetizers with the crowd. “Shocks of corn, yellow pumpkins, black cats, witches, spooks, and goblins are now filling the window stores.”
The town's Halloween party was a great success with huge crowds attending. The theme was Mardi Gras with everyone in costumes. The Herald stated "the proverbial lid was nowhere to be seen, and judging from the excess hilarity, was not on the city during festivities. Booths provided everything from candies to sweet cider and even other drinks were to be had in remote spots."
With the nine blocks roped off, a parade entertained the crowd. “Entire families came, grandparents, fathers, mothers, and children, entering into merriment…The merchants fulfilled every promise made [and threw prizes into the crowd]: six chickens, two turkeys, balloons, prize tickets, fifty theater tickets, handful of change, and two geese.”
The contest for the Most Grotesque Costume (for men; for women; and for boys) and the Best Fancy Costume (for men; for women; and for girls) earned $3 for first place, $2 for second place, and $1 for third place. Side Note: $1 in 1921 is about $15 today; $2 in 1921 is about $30 today; and $3 is about $45 today.
The downtown celebration was originally planned to rope off to Park St, but a last minute business wanted in on the celebration, adding more stunts to the program. The People’s Furniture Co. announced a high-dive from the Clayton building (also known as the Wells building) onto three mattresses and three bed springs.
Other business, such as Empress Theatre, Wilson Bros. Furniture Co., American National Bank, City Drug Store, and many others presented stunts at their locations at a scheduled program. They were scheduled about 5 to 10 minutes apart, from 7:30 to 10 PM.
The Best Window Display winner was awarded to Miller-Workman (at 10 E Dewey Ave), with honorary mention toward Sanitary Grocery (at 15 S Main St). Side note: it is unknown if the window display winner received a prize. Winners for the Most Grotesque Costume for men, first through third place: Harrison Hollingsworth, Ed Nelson, E. Ray Skinner. Winners for the Most Grotesque Costume for women, first through third place: Mrs. Cooper, Miss Seiben, Mrs. Ira Anderson. Winners for the Most Grotesque Costume for boys, first through third place: Glen Conrow, John D. Berry, Harry Lieberman. Winners for Best Fancy Costume for men, first through third place: G.G. Hyde, J.F. Locke, F.H. Dagley. Winners for Best Fancy Costume for women, first through third place: Zelma Sanders, Mrs. Dagley, Psyche Reed. Winners for Best Fancy Costume for girls, first through third place: Gladys Daniels tied with Will Daniels, Betty Battie tied with Beulah Battie, and Maretta Jacobs.
(Sapulpa Herald, October 29, 1921, October 31, 1921, November 1, 1921; County Democrat News, November 4, 1921; Sapulpa City Directories, 1920-1924)
The information found on this page has been researched through Sapulpa (and area) newspapers, Sapulpa Historical Society archives, books, and photographs, Sapulpa yearbooks, city directories, and other local authors. Any other sources will be labeled and named as the research continues. Any mistakes will be noted and adjusted as needed.