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Halloween in Wichita 100 Years Ago

Halloween in Wichita 100 Years Ago

Halloween as we know it is a time for fun, fantasy, and candy! However, back in the 19th and 20th Century, Halloween was very different. It was a time in which the young played often dangerous pranks and people kept their children inside.

Tricks had gotten so out of hand in Kansas that in 1896 the Wichita Eagle published, “Special policemen will be appointed throughout the city to patrol the property and anyone caught committing depredations will be locked up. Vandalism must stop in Wichita on Halloween.”

On the Halloween of 1897, Chanute reported that a sewer pipe was rolled into a big ditch with other parts of it being broken. Outhouses were overturned and sidewalks were torn up. Apparently, the day before, the town had advised citizens through the Daily Tribune to not destroy property or pull up bridges because they may endanger its citizens.

It wasn't uncommon for Wichitans to be outside their homes on Halloween, sitting on barrels or sleeping on porch swings with their pistols in tow. During the Halloween of 1901, in which rioters dressed up as elves and goblins, the Wichita Eagle wrote that "every Scotchman had a big fire in his front yard...so that the elves and others might be directed to his place and that he might invoke their aid on that occasion.”.

Pranks played during Halloween were widespread across the country and by the 1920s, damage could amount up to $100,000. Mischievous behaviors didn't stop with vandalism. It's said to have gotten so out of control that sporadic acts of violence and physical assault were also a big threat.

Fortunately, Halloween has changed shape over the past 100 years. It has gone from riots and pranks to trick-or-treating and haunted houses.

Halloween Today

Halloween Today

We take our children around the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. One of my favorite neighborhoods is the College Hill area. The residents go all out to decorate their front yards with various themes! If you haven't gone, you won't be disappointed. 

Here are some safe ways you can celebrate even before Halloween!


ICT Pop-Up Park
October 28

Grab your four-legged friends for a howlin' good time enjoying music and food trucks! There will also be a doggie costume contest, which you can enter your canines in online.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Orpheum Theatre
October 27

The is an event where adults can dress up and get out on the dance floor! Most party goers come dressed as characters from The Rocky Horror Picture Show itself.

Haunted Houses

Check out these local haunted houses! Some even have added attractions like haunted escape rooms on site.

Whatever your plans, Happy Halloween and have a fun and safe night!

Night of the Living Zoo

The Sedgwick County Zoo 
October 27-29

Adults and children can both dress up and attend this event! You can walk around to the various candy stations where children can fill up their bags with candy and stop along the way to partake in the many fun games.


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