Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

October 31, 1942

On October 31, 1942, the Norfolk Journal and Guide and Chicago Defender urged readers to have a safe Halloween. The Journal and Guide quoted a city official who said, “We‘re at war, and Norfolk’s people, I am sure, will co-operate with the police in their determination to prevent this year the kind of vandalism which our business district so often has suffered during Halloween celebration in the past...We are going to ask the people to help us this time and to refrain from causing any wild demonstrations downtown. We want them to stay at home, to leave off the masks and the paint and forget about the usual type of merrymaking until after we have won the war.”

The Defender offered suggestions for hosting a Halloween party. “Billikens who plan to entertain their friends this Hallowe’en might give a ghost party or a barn party. Both parties, from beginning to end, should have a mysterious element. Pen invitations on cards in the form of black cats, ghosts, or witches...If the evening is opened with stage entertainment the whole place is kept in darkness and moans, groans and hisses continue from all parts of the room until the guest feel shivery. If all enter into the spirit of the occasion pandemonium will reign.”

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