From the Archives: Halloween costumes, candy and events

Time again to think of all things that go bump in the night! Let’s take a walk though the haunted paths of Halloweens of the past.


Little 6-year-ear-old Stanley Kiser has a tough time choosing a pumpkin as he prepares for the hobgoblin parade for Halloween in 1955. ROBERT PASKACH/THE WORLD-HERALD

This little unidentified ghostie’s photo ran with a story about Halloween safety in 1946. Among the recommendations were to be sure your mask had large enough eye holes, and that the costume should not be made from a flimsy fabric that might catch fire from a candle or careless smoking. THE WORLD-HERALD

Even grown-ups like to dress up. Check out these guys! The Oct. 29, 1950, World-Herald caption read, “False faces. … One may scare Republicans.” THE WORLD-HERALD


Pulling pranks used to be a very big part of Halloween. Look what the people of Ralston woke up to in 1954.

An outhouse labeled “polling place” was in the middle of the intersection of 77th and Main Streets. A laundry bundle drop and traffic signs were also in the center of the street. ROBERT PASKACH/THE WORLD-HERALD


About a year ago, I set up my very first blog. It had only four photos in it. Here are a couple of my favorites.

World-Herald photographer James Breeling’s self-portrait. He hid a flash gun in the jack-o’-lantern, shut off the photo studio lights and donned his shroud and mask. He then opened the shutter of his tripod-mounted camera and moved into position. First, Breeling tripped the flash bulb. Then, with a flashlight he spelled out his eerie greeting. Pretty high-tech back in 1956! THE WORLD-HERALD

The 1967 caption only said “Halloween’s headless man … glows in the night.” THE WORLD-HERALD


Getting ready for Halloween has always been half the fun. Remember coming up with the perfect costume every year? Watching the Peanuts special? Planning the optimum trick-or-treating route? And how exciting (and disgusting) carving pumpkins were?

Kindergartner Alan Lee, 5, carves his very own jack-o’-lantern at Wakonda Elementary School in 1988. RICH JANDA/THE WORLD-HERALD


I still haven’t figured out who this is supposed to be.

Lonna Gienga, 11, painted her pumpkin to look like a World-Herald reporter in 1977. THE WORLD-HERALD


Try as he might, Kirk Schuster, 9, couldn’t match the ugliness and downright meanness in the crowd of faces around him at Mangelsen’s in 1981. BOB WILSON/THE WORLD-HERALD

Godzilla won third place and $75 at the Trick or Treat Trot at Memorial Park. Andrew Wakefield is Godzilla and friend Chris Bright supports the elongated tail as the pair jogged along Underwood Avenue in 1986. BILL BATSON/THE WORLD-HERALD


Don’t forget the school parades. Our photographers usually take these photos every couple of years, but I only had room for a few.

A smiling Superman, a skeleton and even a masked fairy princess are among the goblins from Hillside School visiting Crossroads Mall in 1962. THE WORLD-HERALD

Mrs. Sylvia Brown’s kindergarten class at my alma mater, Minne Lusa Elementary School, in 1970. RICH JANDA/THE WORLD-HERALD

Ninja Turtle Joshua Norman and footballer Jameson Cantwell are among the 230 students who walked from All Saints School to the St. Joseph Villa to wish the elderly a happy Halloween in 1994. BILL BATSON/THE WORLD-HERALD

At Mercy High School, students dressed up as their teachers in 1995. From left: Theresa Levey, 16, and her math teacher Maureen Davis; Bob Wolf and his religion student Kari Howell, 16; and Spanish teacher Diane Welch with her student Andrea Pfeifer, 17. RICH JANDA/THE WORLD-HERALD


Trick-or-treating used to be a carefree event when we would run house to house, eating our treats as we went. In the 1960s, some really mean-spirited people took that joy away. Candy could be tainted or have pins driven into it. Apples could have razor blades embedded in them. And homemade popcorn balls became a thing of the past. Now parents have to check all the goodies and kids have to be careful.

More than 100 trick-or-treaters brought the goodies to Midlands Hospital to be scanned for metallic objects in an X-ray device in 1982. Hospital radiologists G.P. McArdle, left, and Diane Kidder prepare to check trays of candy. They found no foreign objects in these treats, but there were three cases of tampering reported to police. JOHN J. GAPPS III/THE WORLD-HERALD

Andy Kidder, 2, gets a cookie from Big Bird (Cecille Norton) and Cookie Monster (Annette Slenker) while Ernie (Don Norton) looks on in the background in 1979. The Nortons’ house near Our Lady of Lourdes was a great place to trick or treat. ROBERT TAYLOR/THE WORLD-HERALD

Kelly O’Donnell, 9, left, and her brother Steven, 4, went on a practice run before dark and received some treats from Lynn Bowen, 14 in 1980. Later, they canvassed the neighborhood and filled their goody bags. SEBI BRECI/THE WORLD-HERALD


Omaha’s BEST PLACE EVER to trick-or-treat was a mansion in the Regency neighborhood. Willy Theisen gave out huge candy bars, then Terry Watanabe bought the house and continued the tradition.

Larry Lewis and Kimberly Hare carry Brodgunique Dunn, 20 months, into Terry Watanabe’s annual trick or treat feast supporting the Amber Alert program in 2003. Brodgunique was honored by getting the first piece of candy. She was abducted the previous December and was rescued after an Amber Alert call. Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, dressed as Elvis Presley, handed out treats at the event. Watanabe also donated $5 per trick-or-treater to Nebraska’s Amber Alert program.

Ladies in waiting: Trick-or-treating sometimes means waiting in lines. Here, from left, Shawna Vogel, 7, sister Kendra Vogel, 5, and sister Erica Vogel, 4, wait in line at a Regency residence for good treats in 2003. BILL BATSON/THE WORLD-HERALD

Unidentified trick-or-treaters pass trees downed in the Oct. 26, 1997, storm. Power lines were still down in several Omaha neighborhoods, so many children went store to store instead of door to door for their goodies. People were urged to go trick or treating during daylight hours in neighborhood that were deemed safe. BILL BATSON/THE WORLD-HERALD


And finally, a few other Omaha Halloween traditions.

It’s not a mask but a treat as a gorilla at the Henry Doorly Zoo takes his time to eat the top of a jack-o’-lantern on Nov. 1, 2005. The jack-o’-lanterns, left over from the Halloween Spooktacular, were also served up to the rhinos and elephants. JEFF BUNDY/THE WORLD-HERALD

Brad Bates gets ready for “Halloween With the Wild Things” at Fontenelle Forest’s Camp Brewster in 1999. He is placing a pumpkin near the grave marker of a species rarely seen in Nebraska. BOB BAILIE/THE WORLD HERALD


Puppies aren’t supposed to play with alligators, right?

Tanner Sunquist, 2, has second thoughts about holding an live alligator at one of the Treat Street booths in 2003. JAMES R. BURNETT/THE WORLD-HERALD


I hope this got you all in the mood for a “Spooktacular” Halloween. Check back soon for a sneak peek at photos from our upcoming Cold War book.

Happy haunting!


Jolene McHugh

About Jolene McHugh

I was a graphic artist prior to coming to the Omaha World-Herald in 2007, and now I’m a photo imaging specialist, which means I prepare photos to print properly in the newspaper. I also have the incredibly fun task of restoring old photographs from our massive library. My favorite part of my job is getting lost in the history and stories behind the photographs. Many of the archive photos have little or no information attached, so I need to properly date and identify the people and places in them. Researching the stories is a bit like being on a historical scavenger hunt. The largest challenge I face is restoring photos we run in our books. Our newest book, “At War, At Home: The Cold War” is filled with hundreds of old photographs, and most of them small and in poor condition. I live in Omaha with my husband, one of my daughters and three very furry Maine Coon cats.
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