Communities Celebrate Halloween as a Crime Deterrent
Anoka, Minnesota is credited with having the first community-wide Halloween celebration in 1920. But it wasn’t because of the community’s good spirit. Halloween pranks were common in the community, as they were everywhere. Communities were quickly growing tired of spending All Saint’s Day cleaning up from the Halloween vandals. The day after Halloween in 1919, Anoka residents woke to see what sort of pranks Halloween and wrought. It was bad. Outhouses were pushed on their sides. Windows had been soaped over. Wagons had been lifted on top of roofs. Residents found their cows meandering in the downtown. Some cows even ended up roaming in the halls of the Anoka County jail. And it was getting deadly for some chickens being thrown off the roofs of buildings. Anoka property owners found their patience for pranks had run thin. To distract from the mayhem, they leaned into it.