O'Fallon Progress

Halloween parade in ’33 drew thousands

The Rotary Halloween Costume Parade and Downtown Trick or Treating are O’Fallon fall traditions. But All Hallows’ Eve festivities predate even those events.

The Business Men’s Association, predecessor of the Chamber of Commerce, used to sponsor a parade on Halloween night. The 1933 version of the event drew a crowd of more than 3,000 from O’Fallon and neighboring towns.

Good weather helped. Over 300 costumed children and adults (it wasn’t just for kids) assembled on East First Street and then paraded through downtown guided by the eerie light of red and green torches spaced throughout the marchers. The parade ended in Community Park in front of what is now the Katy Cavins Center.

Cash prizes were awarded to the best characters in an array of categories. Afterward, there was free dancing until midnight with music by Walter Gindler and his orchestra.

75 years ago, Oct. 28, 1943: Farmers who either sell or transfer rationed foods, such as fresh or smoked meat, all types of sausage, lard, butter and cheese, are required to collect ration points from purchasers Carter Jenkins, district director of the Springfield OPA, emphasized Monday. The number of points farmers should collect for those foods is listed for the particular item on the official table of point values for rationed meats, fats and dairy products. The table is available at the County War Price and Rationing Board.

50 years ago, Oct. 31, 1968: A small portable television set was taken from Rita’s Doo-Little Tavern at Second and Cherry Sunday afternoon — while 12 patrons were in the room. None saw the theft, according to a police report. The television was owned by Gary Retting. He said he placed it on the back bar to demonstrate how it works. Shortly afterward, he said, it was gone and no one saw who took it. He valued the set at $175.