Benicia Historic Photo of High School Halloween Event
The charms of Mr. Jack O’Lantern (Pumpkinhead to his friends) seen here riding along on the running board of this early model automobile are obvious: he has a large personality and his eyes crinkle delightfully when he smiles—and he is always smiling! This popular fellow was the official escort to a bevy of costumed Benicia belles over the Halloween weekend of 1924, during which time a number of parties took place.
The Benicia High School seniors’ entertainment and refreshment committees issued an invitation to their Friday night Halloween school fete addressed to fellow students, faculty, and faculty parents with this proviso: “The students and faculty must come costumed and masked although the parents do not need to. Those that do not come in costume and do not wish to take part in the games will be asked to stay in the gallery.” (For those of you who are Jerry Seinfeld fans: “No soup for you!”) The Benicia newspaper later reported that the event at the gym “… proved to be a great success. Those attending declared they had had pleasant times”. Hmmm … maybe this slightly underwhelming endorsement of hallowed eve fun was due to the absence or late arrival of the pictured revelers?
There was another costume event that weekend: Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Johnson entertained friends at their home Saturday night, requesting attendees to dress in costume “… suggestive of old fashioned models. Games and dancing by radio filled out an evening of fun with deliciously prepared refreshments served during the evening.” (Guests were “ … Messrs. and Mesdames Lloyd Williams, Roland Wilson, Fred Jensen Frank Alexander, A.D. McKnight of Berkeley, Miss Mildred McKnight of Yuba City, Miss Helen Bolton, Messrs. George Bolton, Vernon Dalton.”) Now, that’s more like it!! Truth is, without knowing the identity of those pictured we don’t know where they went –perhaps these happy costumed cuties did not attend either of these affairs but simply rode around town, waving and smiling, stopping to chat with friends, having a gay old time. Certainly, the real party that weekend is on view here, posing for posterity, no tricks, just a wonderful treat for us today, captured with a camera 92 years ago. Happy Halloween!
Copies of Photo Available at Museum
High-resolution reproductions of this original photograph and others are available for purchase at the Museum. BHM would be grateful for any information on the identity of those pictured above.