Since Halloween is in less than 48 hours, I thought I would highlight a lady who is actually a major reason we celebrate the holiday the way we do!
Elizabeth Krebs was the president of the local garden club in Hiawatha, Kansas back in 1912. On the morning of November 1st of that year, Elizabeth woke to find her prize-winning garden smashed to bits. There were other reports of havoc; fences being destroyed, houses egged, and windows being smashed. She knew it had to be the same culprits who had destroyed other flowers around town–rowdy children. In her town, kids were notorious for creating all kinds of destruction on Halloween night. Desperate to make her town garden-smashing free, Elizabeth put together a plan.
The next year, Elizabeth threw a huge Halloween party at her house for the town’s children. She had treats, games, and fun planned for them. Several kids came to Elizabeth’s party. Because of the turnout, Elizabeth was confident there would be no chaos.
When she woke the next morning, however, her hopes were dashed. Several gardens were demolished and a mail wagon was even set ablaze! During the next year, Elizabeth worked tirelessly with local law enforcement, city leaders, and educators to come up with a plan to make the holiday more enjoyable and less violent.
On Halloween, 1914, Elizabeth put her plan into action. She organized a town-wide Halloween parade complete with events, games, and costume contests. Practically everyone in the town came! When November 1st rolled in, the town police chief visited Elizabeth at her home. He informed her that the reports of destruction were down dramatically from the previous year!
Because of the success of Elizabeth’s plan, the town of Hiawatha, Kansas has kept up the tradition and several cities and towns have followed suit. Because of Elizabeth Krebs, many of our Halloween traditions exist!
Thanks, Elizabeth, for helping Halloween be less of a trick and more of a treat!