20,000 Turned Out for 1948 Halloween Party

Sentimental Journey Volume XVI, Issue 14A, April 9, 2014

Today’s sentimental journey is taking us to 1948, the same year the Cleveland Indians won the World Series. Wouldn’t it be great if they could do it again?

Our first item appeared in The Marion Star Monday November 1, 1948 with this headline. “HUGE CROWD SEES PARADE.” Then followed by this smaller headline. “20,000 Turn Out for Annual Police-Sponsored Halloween Party.”

More than 20,000 Marion county citizens jammed downtown streets and the grandstand and the infield at the fairgrounds to see the third annual Fraternal Order of Police Halloween parade and prize award Saturday night, Police Chief Marks said today. An estimated 15,000 persons lined the parade route while not less than 5,000 people jammed the fairgrounds’ grandstand and racetrack infield to watch over 100 county and city school children receive prizes for the best, funniest and other masquerade costumes.

Five brilliantly uniformed bands provided the cadence for the gayly garbed school aged marchers. The first division, first and second grade students, was led by Buckeye Aerie No. 337 Fraternal order of Eagles. The second division, third and fourth grade students, was led by Morral High school band. The third division, fifth and sixth grade students, was led by Caledonia High school band. The fourth division, all seventh grade students, was led by Pleasant High school band. The fifth division, all eighth grade students marched to the music of the Harding High school band and included a Harding High vocational department float drawn by mock horses with students underneath. Riding the float were Dorothy Clunk, Harding High homecoming queen, and Harriet Monnette, Carolyn Creager, Betty Stanley, and Helen Moore, her homecoming court.

Art Davis, newscaster of station WMRN, was master of ceremonies at the fairgrounds where three judges , Dr. H. R. Finney, Charlton Myers, and John Watters, judged the costumes and awarded the prizes to the various costume prize winners in the various marching divisions.

An estimated 750 high school students from every high school in the county attended the free Halloween dance given in their honor at the Rollarena, following the parade, with free prizes for the outstanding costumes, donated by Marion county merchants and organizations. The hall for the dance was donated by the management of the Rollarena and the music of Glen Johnson’s orchestra was furnished by the recording and transcription fund of Local 531, American Federation of Musicians. Juvenile Judge Edward Ruzzo and Mrs. Ruzzo were chaperones at the dance.

The prizes awarded at both the fairgrounds and the dance for high school students at the Rollarena were donated by merchants, fraternal organizations, and citizens from all over Marion and the county. Value of the prizes was estimated by city police as nearly a thousand dollars.

Chief Marks today extended his personal thanks and that of the department to all who contributed to the success of the Halloween celebration and expressed the hope they would all join the FOP and the police department in making next year’s Halloween celebration an equally great success.

Saturday night’s was the biggest and best Halloween celebration in county history, the chief said. Not one call for Halloween vandalism was reported by city police or the county sheriff’s office.

City and county police and juvenile officials agreed today that the police Halloween parade and dance program reduced Halloween vandalism here to an all time low. “Destruction of property by Halloween pranksters was practically nil here,” Chief Marks said.

Grand prizes of the parade costume winners were awarded as follows: girl’s bicycle to Sanara Reed for the best girl’s costume, boys bicycle to Francis Maloney for the best boy’s costume, velocipede to Peggy Walker, radio to Delbert Collins, coaster wagon to Curtis Pickens and Dennis Webber, pen and pencil set each to Dan Weary and Joan Bailey, all for outstanding costumes of special types, funniest, most elaborate, etc.

A list of lesser prize winners who received every conceivable type of prize from softballs and boxing gloves to yoyos and candy, were reported by school grades as follows: first grade Peggy Ann Walker, Jimmy Harriet, Mary Ann Everly, John Paul Woodruff, Diana Irene Davis, Charles Davis, Patty Higdon, Bobby Faulkner, Jerry Maddux, Bobby Jacobs, Dick Hosey, Patsy McClenathan, Veta Davis, Sally Freeze, Bob Patrick, Dan Artz, Richard Kalber, and Karen Irey.

Second grade prize winners were: Sue Ann Roberts, Tommy Carskaden, Patricia Ann Shepard, John Lawson, Patty Strause, Gilbert Rank, Vicki Simpson, Raymond Pearce, and John Hopkins.

Now, here is where we stop this article for this week. To many more names to allow continuing. So, stay tuned for the finish of this article next week.

About Phil Reid

Phil Reid is a former Chief of the Marion City Fire Department, teacher, and City Council President. In addition to his writing on local history, Reid hosts "Sentimental Journey" on Saturday mornings on 97.5 FM. He is also the author of "The Mystifying Murder in Marion, Ohio." You can learn more at www.philreidbook.com.