Douglass Crockwell — ‘A noble experiment’
When the Glens Falls Board of Public Safety challenged local service clubs and the Chamber of Commerce to come up with an alternative to Halloween mischief-making in 1946, artist/illustrator Douglass Crockwell led the charge.
“Something in the nature of a noble experiment will take place in City Park and the adjacent thoroughfare of Maple Street tonight on the form of a community Halloween party, the first of its kind that has ever been attempted here,” The Post-Star reported.
Crockwell, representing the Glens Fall Rotary Club, and Clifford Philo, representing the Young Adult Civic League, co-chaired a brain-storming committee that organized a community festival in City Park that ended with a good-behavior incentive — prizes for children and teens that went straight home after the festival.
“The really ingenious part of the program is the get-home-on-time contest for which prizes will be awarded.”
The event was deemed a success, as only six false fire alarms were turned in that night and there were “only a few isolated police calls.”
More than 5,000 people turned out for three-and-a-half hours of “solid entertainment.”
Maple Street was closed to vehicle traffic for a street dance, with Coach Gerald J. Donnelly of Glens Falls High School directing the Ray LaFarr Orchestra from 7 to 10:30.
The Rev. James Lowell Harris led in a community sing, and there was a costume parade.
“Led by baton twirlers and the Glens Falls High School Band, the parade passed from the Health Center (McEchron House) on Ridge Street, through Lapham Place to the band stand in City Park.”
Cheer leaders from Glens Falls High School and St. Mary’s Academy led in community cheers.
Priscilla Lee Baker’s dance students performed.
There was a heavyweight boxing match in City Park between Art Ramsey and Al Taft.
The Glens Falls Lions Club sponsored a greased poll climbing competition, with a $5 prize for the winner — Franklin Wilson, who celebrated by singing “The Gypsy” over the PA system.
“It represents something far better than simply acceptance of adults of a memorable evening. It is an effort to prove that Halloween can be fun.”
Sources: The Post-Star Oct. 24, 31, Nov 1, 1946
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