Musing from the Hill, Nov. 5, 2015
Halloween pranks of long ago from interviews of many years ago. I really got an earful! Sadly some who contributed are no longer with us, but their stories are so good they deserve repeating.
Boys surely were busy way back when on Halloween. I believe Gene Newland and Ken Hobson told me this story. “The college used to hire a few boys to watch the campus to keep us from tearing things up. One time, we set up a racket in the bushes down by Potter Lake (former lake on Baker campus) and this kid came charging down. We tackled him, slipped a sack over his head, drove him out of town and left him in a ditch on Signal Oak hill. There were no lights, and he had no idea where he was. He wandered around a good long while until a man driving his milk route found him in the middle of a road and brought him back to campus in the morning.” In last week’s column, from these long ago interviews I reported the Model T on the porch of Alpha Chi and a cow on the Tri Delt balcony.
One of the “old boys coffee group” told me this tale. So many talked at once, it was difficult to sort it all out. “Halloween a bunch of us were knocking down corn stalks and the farmer came after us. We were driving an old stock truck and were up and down an all over the sides of the truck. One boy was being chased round and round the truck. He went so fast, he ran right on past the farmer who was chasing him and he didn’t even know it. Well, the farmer finally collared him so we went and got about 20 kids, loads of older guys, and caught up with them. The farmer let him go. It was wild while it lasted!”
When the boys were out pranking, the girls often had slumber parties. “One time we stuck a possum in a bag, looped a rope over the roof and swung that old possum up and down and bounced it on the window. Boy, did those girls squeal and carry on.”
Lloyd Bilhimer recalled a Halloween of long ago. He told me he and his friends put a buggy on the roof of the food store where he worked. He also said, “On slow days a friend who worked across the street and I traded shots of tomatoes to liven things up a bit.” I wonder what would happen today if employees of City Market lobbed tomatoes at the bank across the street.
Another favorite trick was dragging farm equipment from outside of town and lining it up in the middle of town. Buck Jones and Paddy Lucas (Baldwin police) would let them have their fun, but the next morning they collared them all and they had to drag the equipment back to the owners.
I have many more old tales but column space limited. Hope your Halloween was as much fun as in the old days!
“When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then the time a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.”
James Whitcomb Riley. 1853 – 1916