Oral History Excerpt with Tally Bowman
Speaking of a neighborhood woman who was a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union who gave “interesting” Halloween parties:
“She used to give Halloween parties to all the children in the neighborhood and show them these movies on people drunk…they were silent movies. And these men [in the films] would get their paychecks and go to a saloon, you know, and then go out…and our kids had never seen anything like that and…this was trying to teach them not to do this sort of thing I guess. And it was a couple of Halloweens before we found out. She had lots of cookies and lots of punch, that’s the only thing [the kids] would talk about . . .
“Then one year a friend of Mrs. Bowman’s said to her, ‘Well, you know what happened at our house last night?’ Bill, her oldest boy…about seven years old…her husband was late coming home…he was a lawyer in the government and he had real high job over there. She said, ‘Well, I wonder what happened to Daddy?’ And he said, ‘Well, maybe he stopped by the saloon and got some beers.’ And she said, ‘Where did you get that from?’ So on questioning him and feeding him some ice cream and cake, she found out that he found it out over there at the Halloween party!
“When the neighbor who had been giving the ‘parties’ was confronted she thought what happened was great, but she quit giving the parties because she refused to give up showing the movies, and her ‘secret’ was out! Everyone, however, according to Mrs. Bowman, had a good laugh over it!”
The quote above is from our oral history collection, which you can find in the library catalog. Oral history tapes and transcripts are available in the Virginia Room.
What About You?
What kind of Halloween parties did you attend in Arlington? What was trick-or-treating like? Let us know what you remember!
We would go trick-or-treating in our own neighborhood [Lyon Village]. At one house they ran out of candy or apples and started giving out nickels. Word spread quite rapidly!! Afterwards we would go to Clarendon. Wilson Blvd was blocked off from Highland Street all the way to Clarendon Circle. The local DJ played records and we danced until midnight. The street party was probably broadcast on the radio, but we were all at the dance, so I'm not sure about that. The local merchants donated prizes for all kinds of contests. Susan Clay [email@example.com]