Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

Community

Stories of Red Deer’s earliest Halloween celebrations

Published

7 minute read

By Miichael Dawe

Another Halloween will soon be upon us. It is one of the most popular of the annual celebrations. While door-to-door trick or treating by young children has become somewhat less common over the last few years, more and more people seem to be decorating their homes and their yards for the evening. Dressing up in costume remains as popular as ever, as are social get-togethers with all kinds of food and drink to share.

Halloween is a very old celebration, with some of the traditions dating back to the ancient Celtic rituals and festivities, marking what was then considered the start of the Celtic New Year. Later, there were strong Christian influences, as the night became connected with commemorations of All Hallows Eve (the origin of the name “Halloween) and All Saints Day on November 1st. All Saints Day is still a public holiday in parts of Europe.

Celebration of Halloween was not common in North American until the arrival of large numbers of Celtic immigrants from Ireland and Scotland during the 19th century. However, the tradition of children going door-to-door for trick or treating did not begin until the early part of the last century. It did not become a practice in Red Deer until the latter part of the 1920s.

History of Halloween in Canada.

Alexandria Hotel

Some of the earliest celebrations of Halloween in Red Deer took place in the early 1900s. Usually, a local group would organize a party at a local hall with all sorts of fun and games. Apples were a staple of these early socials. The wearing of costumes was strongly encouraged.

One group that organized annual Halloween events was the Alexandra Club. This was a group of young women dedicated to raising funds for the Red Deer Memorial Hospital. Hence, the annual Halloween gathering was as much a fundraiser as a social occasion. Other popular fundraisers staged by the Alexandra Club were women’s hockey games at the rink on Morrison (52) Street.

St. Luke’s Parish Hall

In 1913, the main Halloween event was a dance at the new Parish Hall on Gaetz Avenue, just north of St. Luke’s Anglican Church. This large new public hall had been officially opened on the eve of Red Deer being incorporated as a city on March 25, 1913. The Halloween music was provided by the Orpheus Orchestra. The evening was such a success that plans were made to have Halloween dances at the Parish Hall as annual events.

 

Red Deer Armouries

Tragically, the First World War broke out in August 1914. The community focused on the war effort and little was done to mark such “frivolous” occasions as Halloween. However, after the War, a new tradition started. The local 78th Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery organized Halloween Balls at the Armouries on First Street South (now the location of the Children’s Library).

The annual militia balls were quite lavish events and extremely popular. People were not even bothered when, at the first ball in 1921, the outside of the main exit was blocked with a pile of piano boxes. A threat by the attending officers of a week’s short rations ensured that the young artillery men quickly cleared away the obstacles so that the guests could depart for home.

Halloween pranks have been one of the most enduring of the evening’s traditions. In 1921, in addition to the piling of the piano boxes at the 78th Battery’s ball, the local newspapers reported that Police Chief Anderson probably had as much fun the day after Halloween as anyone else. He rounded up all the likely suspects from the previous evening’s pranks. He made sure that these “young enthusiasts” spent the day putting things back in place and removing the soap that they had applied to various store-front windows.

Red Deer Public School, nicknamed “The Castle”

Unfortunately, a small group had gotten carried away with their pranks at the High School building on the Central School grounds. In order to drive home the point that there were limits to the number and type of activities that would be tolerated on Halloween Night, Principal C.D. Locke imposed a “two-day enforced holiday” on the perpetuators as a warning to rein in their “youthful exuberance” during next year’s Halloween activities.

Michael Dawe – October 31, 2018

A fifth generation Central Albertan with roots in Red Deer and Pine Lake, Michael Dawe serves on Red Deer City Council. In 1979, he became the city’s first full-time archivist with the Red Deer and District Archives. In May 2009, he was seconded to become the curator of history in preparation for the City of Red Deer Centennial in 2013.

Michael has won a number of awards including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Alberta Centennial medals. He was named Alberta Citizen of the Year by the Council on School Administration of the Alberta Teachers Association for his work with local schools. He received the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Commendation for his work with veterans. He was twice voted Red Deer’s Most Beloved Citizen by the readers of the Red Deer Express newspaper.

 

Todayville is a digital media and technology company. We profile unique stories and events in our community. Register and promote your community event for free.

Follow Author

Alberta

Holiday Mental Health – It’s Okay if it’s not the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Published on

The stores are stocking up on red and green everything, the shelves are lined with ornaments and dancing reindeer and you can’t ignore it even if you want to – the holiday season is nearly here. 

For many, Christmas means celebrations, decorations, rum and eggnog and time with family. From sledding and snow days to hanging the lights and putting up the tree, there are lots of things to love about the holiday season.
However, for others, there are lots of reasons why it might not be the most wonderful time of the year, and that’s okay too. 

While the claim that suicide rates spike during the holiday season has been repeatedly misused and ultimately disproven as the “holiday suicide myth” (1), the holiday blues are a very real phenomenon. In the midst of the celebratory season, feelings of anxiety, isolation, depression and grief can be overwhelming, particularly when combined with additional stressors such as strained personal relationships and financial uncertainty. Not everyone is looking forward to Christmas, and in the midst of the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many people without employment and unable to travel, the emotional toll of this holiday season promises to be increasingly complex. 

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Alberta Division released a statement regarding coping with the holidays during these unusual and uncertain times. 

“The pandemic has disrupted many yearly holiday traditions and has increased collective anxieties and social isolation. As we look for alternative ways to spread joy and take part in new ways of celebrating the holidays, Albertans must focus on their mental health during an already busy and often overwhelming season.”

According to the CMHA, these are some simple but useful ways to maintain your mental health during the holidays. 

Focus on what you can control. Like the food you eat, the time you have a shower or the media you consume.  

Anxiety is normal. During times of crisis it is normal to feel increased anxiety. Acknowledge those feelings are valid. 

Limit your consumption of media. Allow yourself time to focus on activities you enjoy instead. Reading, listening to music or meditating are all great ways to de-stress when you are unable to attend regular holiday festivities. 

Remain connected to your body. Exercising regularly, getting outside, eating well and resting will support positive mental health. 

Be open with your support system. Identify supportive people you can connect with if you begin to feel overwhelmed or lonely. 

Reach out for help. If you or a loved one needs help, call 211 (Alberta only) or the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642. 

As the holidays arrive amid the fog of the ongoing global pandemic, remember – it’s okay to feel confused, frightened, and uncertain of the future. You are not alone, and there are always resources available to help you and your loved ones through these complicated times. Be gentle with yourself and others, ask for help if you need it, and above all, be kind. 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Continue Reading

Central Alberta

Understanding My Own Grief was Life changing for Me

Published on

Understanding My Own Grief was Life changing for Me

A personal story:

“…I connected with the PCN program through my doctor’s recommendation. I have always been a thirsty learner of better ways to navigate through life. The Coaches of the program Journeying through Grief showed up every day with their humanness and wisdom.

I appreciated their loyalty to improve our wellness through learning to manage our grief. They were willing to be vulnerable in a way I have never seen in any kind of therapy or counselling. Their own histories with grief nurtured my trust and receptivity to the information.

They shared their personal experiences in dealing with life’s challenges. For me, I would describe my experience as emotional debridement. I am thankful for the contribution and support of everyone in the class. Several of us had mastered supporting others but needed to learn how to do this for ourselves.

Connection with empathy as in this group is nothing less than GOLDEN in creation of a better life of wellness in arguably a better world. Reflectively I now feel that my own grief was due initially to the loss of my dreams too quickly as important people did not believe in me. Not learning how to handle this made subsequent losses more difficult to manage.

I learned that dealing with grief is a journey and to never give up. If things get tough, have faith that things will get better soon…”

About Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN):  We are a partnership between Family Doctors and Alberta Health Services. Health professionals such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and pharmacists work in clinics alongside family doctors. In addition, programs and groups are offered at the RDPCN central location. This improves access to care, health promotion, chronic disease management and coordination of care.  RDPCN is proud of the patient care offered, the effective programs it has designed and the work it does with partners in health care and the community.

Learn more about the Primary Care Network.

From Night to Day – how a visit with our clinic’s psychologist changed Steven’s life

Continue Reading

november, 2020

No Events

Trending

X