Past pranks relived by elderly

t”He said everyone would dress up the same before going out to do ‘the dirty deed’ so that no one could be singled out and identified as the culprit.”

February 4, 2015

It is the wrong time of year but if this concerns you then read the following story again closer to Hallowe’en. I think this October 31 celebration was dreamed up with the idea that one day of the year it was okay for young people (and some not so young) to ‘break the rules’ and get away with it. What do you think?

Here is the article:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

October 27, 1999

Past pranks relived by elderly

by Tanya Lester

Hallowe’en pranks are nothing new but store-bought costumes are, according to a group of Greenwoods residents who met in a storytelling circle with the Driftwood last Thursday.

One gentleman brought up the subject of upsetting the outdoor toilets.

He said everyone would dress up the same before going out to do “the dirty deed” so that no one could be singled out and identified as the culprit.

A woman recalled a prank played on a teacher by students who disliked her. They filled up a garbage can with rubbish, tied it to the front door where the teacher lived and rang the doorbell before running away.

There was also the beau of an older sister who came calling in a horse-drawn rig. The younger siblings switched the smaller front wheel on one side of the rig with the larger back wheel.

The boyfriend went home in the tilted rig with a “thump, thump, thump.” After automobiles were invented, a favourite trick was letting the air out of tires.

One remembered dressing up as Charlie Chaplin. Others recalled “false facing,” which were paper masks made at school — “the uglier the better” — and even carving a face out of a pumpkin and wearing that as a mask.

A couple of other ladies insisted children dressed up in whatever “rags” were available to them. Sometimes this would mean merely wearing a pillowcase on the head. Boys and girls often wore their mothers’ old dresses.

Cookies seemed to be a popular treat for those going door-to-door.

One woman recalled taking her children to a party at their church. The minister opened the door dressed as the devil and almost “scared to death” her seven-year-old.

A Greenwoods resident who grew up in England remembered that they celebrated Guy Fawkes Day, named after a man who set fire to the British parliament buildings, instead of Hallowe’en. She recalled stuffing an old suit with newspaper and placing this in the outhouse to scare visitors to the privy.

On Guy Fawkes Day, she said, they would go door-to-door collecting treats. In the evening there would be bonfires and people would dress as the infamous Guy Fawkes.

One woman said she grew up in rural Quebec where Hallowe’en was not celebrated.

Those who took part in the circle included Hilda Summers, Elsie Rogers, Joan Purchase, Dorothy Beech, Carrie Cunningham, Dorothy Walters, Ellaline Pitcher, Roy Borrowman, Margaret Matthews and Sandy Silvey.



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Tanya Lester’s book, Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, can be purchased by the author.


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