Halloween has always been celebrated in Fairbanks since the beginning of our camp. Today’s Nugget gives a glimpse of how Halloween was celebrated in the early days.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner October 26, 1912


Owing to the fact that there seems to be some doubt in the minds of many as to how sheets and pillowcases should be worn at a sheet and pillowcase party, the committee of the forthcoming St. Matthew’s dance has made arrangements with F. S. Gordon for the use of one of the dummies in his show windows. This has been dressed up in the most approved form, and those who wish to attend the dance of next Thursday would do well to study the style.

In the first place, it is not necessary to take a pillowcase, put it over the head and cut holes for eyes and mouth. This method makes one uncomfortably warm. The better plan is to take the pillowcase and tie it around the top of the head like a nun’s cap, allowing the ends to drop in the rear, covering up any hair that would otherwise show, and making it impossible to tell if the wearer is a man or a woman. A mask or domino may be worn over the face.

For the body two sheets are necessary. One of these is folded and pinned around the body just under the arms. The other is passed over the shoulders and made into a cape with kimono sleeves.

Thus dressed the feet and hands offer about the only clue to the sex of the wearer.

At the Halloween dance of next Thursday no one will be allowed on the floor unless garbed in sheets and pillowcase, although the unmasked ones may have access to the balcony.

The unmasking and undraping will take place at 11:30 before supper is served.

Here is an advertisement for a Halloween dance that uses the legend of the Blue Parka Man to generate pre-event hype.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner October 28, 1916

Blue Parka Man Is Said to Be Working Again

Late this afternoon a man arrived in town from over the trail and, according to the management of the Auditorium, he tells a story of having been helped up on the trail by a blue Parka man, who demanded two dollars in order that he could attend the dance at the Auditorium on election night. He declared that everybody was to be there, and he refused to be left out, even if he had to steal the money to attend.

The following article shows how this occasion was celebrated here in the new Fairbanks Camp in October of 1906. There were no treats to be had, but the tricks were numerous as you will see:

Fairbanks Evening News- November 1, 1906


Boys Celebrated Halloween Last Night

Halloween was last night observed by the boys of the city to the limit, and anything that was found in place this morning had been previously anchored with logging chains for something similar or was so well cached that even the proverbially sharp eyes of the boys overlooked it.

What parental authority could not have effected in a long vacation, was cheerfully performed last night without a murmur, and more wood was unloaded and moved from one place to some other in which it did not belong than a whole bunch of dutifuls would have felt equal to in a month.

There were many houses this morning bearing legends (for sale signs) to the effect that their owners were willing to part with them, although the said owners were guiltless of any such intention, and those that really had been ticketed for sale bore not signs to that effect.

On the street corners the well-known Jack ‘Lanterns were thrust in the faces of passerby, and great was the glee of the small boy when his ruse produced the desired effect.

Every street was effectually blocked this morning until wagons laboriously hauled from their resting places had been gotten out of the way and taking it all in all the boys can congratulate themselves on a very successful celebration of Halloween.

By 1930 things had changed:

Fairbanks Daily News Miner- October 29, 1930


Fairbanks’ younger generation can have all the harmless fun desired on Halloween, but destructive pranks will not be tolerated.

To make sure this edict will be carried out, the city council has appointed three additional patrolmen to serve under Chief of Police Tom Yeigh Friday night, they will guard both the residential and business districts.

Note: Prior to the Second World War there was no such thing as “trick-or-treating” in Fairbanks. Halloween was celebrated with costumes, dances, private parties, and plenty of pranks.

This frightful History Nugget has been proudly brought to you by the Fairbanks Igloos of the Pioneers of Alaska, who would like to remind you that additional History Nuggets are posted on our website at pioneersofalaskafairbanks.org.

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