Halloween has been celebrated in New Westminster since its early years, and we find references to various events and parties that marked the day.
Halloween has certain images that have long been favourites and are featured right up to the present day, such as pumpkins, witches, black cats, ghosts, ravens, cobwebs and spiders.
In past columns we have noted Halloween bonfires with people gathered around sipping hot apple cider and enjoying the sights and sounds.
We have noted private parties, one with more than a hundred guests in attendance, where young people took part in Halloween-themed games and food.
We have also noted an early Columbian College festive evening with hundreds in special costumes to enjoy the nature of the day.
This must have been quite an evening as the college halls and rooms were apparently decorated with appropriately eerie effects.
This dark wood-finished building had lots of nooks and crannies, and the spooky things would have certainly been something to see.
While we haven't seen photos of those decorations, they were apparently very well done and certainly scary.
The excitement of trick or treating around the neighbourhood often brings back memories of the loot collected and the great fun that was had.
Fireworks often followed, sometimes very simple in the front yard, but they were always great fun with a myriad of colours and sounds.
Sometimes the "tricking" went too far, but that, along with all the other Halloween stuff, is not something new.
From 1887 we find the following under the heading "mischievous boys."
The paper reported that "a number of urchins who were bent on 'a lark' last Monday night, All Hallows Eve, did some very stupid things and wantonly destroyed some property belonging to citizens, who did not see anything funny about their proceedings."
The paper somewhat ominously continued, "We are told that some of the boys can be identified; in which case it will be a serious matter for somebody, as the owners of the wrecked property must be compensated. The chances are that the parents of the boys will be the sufferers, and they may come to the conclusion that a little wholesome chastisement to their offspring would be better for everyone."
A description of a funeral from near Halloween of that same year has a sombre feeling that seems to link to the images and purpose of the Oct. 31st date. The report noted that "after the service the cortege reformed and marched to the music of the dead march in Saul, played by the city brass band to Sapperton. There was a very long line of carriages and many citizens on horseback and on foot."
They proceeded, with sight and sound, from the centre of town to the burial ground in Sapperton and return. Quite an image!
Happy Halloween everyone - have fun and be safe.