Oct 30, 2023 - Culture

The dangerous, destructive and elaborate Halloween pranks of yore

Old newspaper headline reads "Weird Pranks of Halloween, Troublesome small boys create mischief and worry the police force"
Headline from The Salt Lake Herald-Republican, Nov. 1, 1907

We at Axios love pranks, and it's hard to outdo the Halloween mischief of the early 1900s.

  • But the tricks frequently got destructive.

Our favorites: In 1912, pranksters in Ogden somehow moved two of the blacksmith's wagons to the roof of his shop and perched a police detective's chair on top of a pole. Someone also moved an entire chicken coop to another person's yard.

  • The next year, students at the U., loaded and fired a Civil War cannon that was in a machine shop on campus. The blast reverberations shattered 15 windows and could be heard around the East Bench.
  • The many accounts of overturned outhouses also gave us a chuckle.

Yes, but: Some of these pranks were really dangerous.

Tell us: What were your proudest (or most shameful) Halloween pranks?

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