City Club Apartment Construction in Detroit


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  1. #1

    Default Halloween back in the day.

    Lets hear your stories about being a kid in Detroit's heyday at Halloween/trick or treat.

  2. #2


    Shit, I don't remember being a kid. I was born old.

  3. #3


    A forum search on the term "halloween" will yield you a number of previous threads about this subject.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by mtburb View Post
    A forum search on the term "halloween" will yield you a number of previous threads about this subject.
    Yeah, but in a nutshell we'd go trick'r'treating on our block and a few adjacent ones. Almost every house had their porchlight on and we'd get a hefty pillowcase full of goodies.

  5. #5


    Late 1940's, 1950's, we could walk for blocks and blocks, trick or treat every house on the blocks, stop at all the Mom and Pop grocery stores, the bars, Woolworths, Kresge. Could walk down Vernor, Kercheval, Jefferson, Charlevoix, from Garland to St. Jean and never be afraid. Wonderful memories of a great Detroit and what was.

  6. #6


    I remember going out on a second run in a different costume, and re-visiting those house that gave out the good stuff.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by mtburb View Post
    A forum search on the term "halloween" will yield you a number of previous threads about this subject.
    The number is well close to (if not over) 8. So, it's too late to stop what has been done. Administration can start consolidating them.

    Being a supporter of the underdog, I will feed the one with the smallest replies-being this one:

    Halloween in Rosedale Park was cool. We had a lot of participation in the early years as we usually needed to only cover a five block radius. A lot of what Seinfeld said was true. Those crummy Ben Cooper costumes had bad masks, pictures of the character on the outfit, and wet, autumn leaves collected on the vinyl legs of your outfit. People who passed out Brach's were only surpassed by those who gave away pennies (which only weighed down your bag and caused them to tear open), in the field of craptacular hatred for kids.

    We learned early as kids to be on guard, by always walking with an adult in a tight band (we knew other older kids would steal our candy haul) and pumpkins had to be kept in windows (found out the hard way, one year, and that long pre-dated that horrible maudlin Corrigan band). Of course, Devil's Night, involved us sitting on the porch vigilant, if Dad was volunteering that year to ride CB patrol around Rosedale. Don't want to get roasted alive in your home or at least clean raw egg off the side of the house.

    In earlier days, the Halloween seasons weren't so bad, but at some point, they started getting cold and rainy and stayed like that well up until now (damn that Cobra and their weather machine!). Nothing like having a winter coat completely obscure the very costume you worked so hard to put together.

    Dad had a few good ideas for the house. Ghost on a pulley cable running across to the tree (which ironically had to be taken down shortly after the first Poltergeist movie came out because we had some terrifying tornado weather that summer), along with a light that changed colors, and shadows in the window-they were all elements he'd employ.

    We liked it when others got jiggy with their houses. Like the house with the scarecrow in a porch seat and bowl of candy. You get near it, and BWWARRR!! the scarecrow is alive with some joker in it. You're running in terror. Kudos to you.

    As older kids with bad attitudes from the "other side" (or down the way) of Evergreen started showing up with no costumes. Folks got more intimidated and would start dropping out in succession with every year. We stuck with it, yet, we'd get the same kids coming back to our house from five minutes previous-older, no costumes, and with nasty attitudes. It was becoming less fun.

  8. #8


    Halloween in Dearborn is not the same. They only do it for an hour (from six to a little past seven) and pack it up. We have to put out floodlights just to encourage carloads to come down our street. I hate the rhetoric of our racist neighbors lamenting the poor African, Latino, and Arab American families who drive around and come to our areas to Trick or Treat. I'm glad they show up! The kids are dressed up and everything. They just aren't fortunate to have this in the areas they are in, so the neighbors can shove it, because it isn't anything close to how bad it was getting in Detroit back when.

    You got some loveable nuts here that really go all out. One guy has got over fifty carved pumpkins set out, another who does decorations for the Village puts up a huge display with a huge Pumpkin King, a guy on Lawrence really goes all out with ghouls vomiting into toilets and everything, and my brother knows a bouncer from a bar on telegraph who puts up a huge pirate ship every year near Van Born.

    One guy on Denwood across from the park did awesome displays, but he got flak from the neighbors for doing a man-eating "Monster House" one year (teeth on the porch and evil eye windows) because of the dismembered bloody body parts laying around. It caused him to actually put out a laminated display airing his grievances and addressing (with references) the psychology of sheltering kids on Halloween. I felt so bad for him, I gave him some support with a (length, of course) note I put in his feedback box. Last I saw, he moved, and that bummed me out.

    Walking around Brookline, MA one year was odd. I'd see an unattended bowl of candy on a porch on Beacon St. with an honor system note that blew my mind. Later that night, I loitered sipping bubble tea with a girl (who, to my dismay, was into self-mutilation) at Harvard Sq. laughing at students dressed as rape-bots and furries (eww).

    Madison, WI got really into it. the kids and the parents. Wow! I could post pictures I took of the carved pumpkins folks did. The moon was full. Kids running wild, having fun. Parents passing out "pumpkin schnapps" to the tired parental escorts. I haven't seen that kind of spirit in a long time.

  9. #9


    My brother has reminded me: The Rosedale Park Community House sponsored Devil Nights to keep the kids in. By attending there, it kept you from being out in the middle of trouble.

    They had a haunted house walkthrough, they'd pass out popcorn and treats, they'd show movies like Bride of Frankenstein, House of Frankenstein (or meets the Wolfman), Tron, Sorcerer and the Stone, and one year some joker got a Hammer Dracula film from 1970 that showed a sacrificed woman with blood on her exposed nipples; yeah, that caused an uproar because of all the kids there. The intermission included a trick guillotine my dad made (Alice Cooper style) that would chop off some bald member's head.

    Count Scary was a regular Halloween Night T.V. performer. Our neighbor's kids were in the U of D Jesuit high school band that did the "Let's Go Count" piece for him.

  10. #10


    Way back in the day, I think this would be near Lenox and Mack- late 1920s.
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  11. #11


    And not quite so old, 1950s, Wilmot and Ten Mile area- in then 'East Detroit'. And yes, pillow cases were the bags and if you were fast you could fill two or three before the night was over. Not that any of these 'trick or treaters' were using them, but we sure did! LOTS and LOTS of kids going door to door.
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    Last edited by xdet; October-17-15 at 09:26 PM.

  12. #12


    It's time to see the old stories and maybe hear some new ones.

  13. #13


    Cork lining from a bottle cap, singed on the gas stove provided the beard. Patches basted onto jeans and one of Dad's old hats completed the "hobo" costume. A pillow case to hold the loot. Nobody in our neighborhood said "trick or treat". It was "help the poor". We were actually damned near poor, but didn't know it. The bars on Gratiot were bountiful. Some patrons would give quarters, a couple of times a dollar.

  14. #14


    On a normal non-Halloween day in the '60s in my baby boomer Irish flavored
    Royal Oak neighborhood our group of children would go to a playmate's house
    and yell "TRINA! TRINA!" until she appeared. So on Halloween it was pretty
    natural to yell "TRICK OR TREAT" - we had practiced all year, just different
    words. Occasionally we would use "HELP THE POOR!" - I personally was baffled
    by receiving money - no one told me this was a March of Dimes fundraising cry.
    We would usually receive a few pennies. A roll of Lifesavers cost five cents though.
    The price of a first class stamp had just gone up from four cents.

    The Baptist children in the neighborhood would not observe Halloween. We would
    join them at their fall church festivals sometimes.

  15. #15


    I remember as a kid (6), in Oak Park, having my mom dress me up in an old modified refrigerator box covered in foil, with dryer vent arms as a robot.
    Every few steps, I'd fall flat on my face, mom would laugh, snap a picture, and we would move on.
    Short on candy - long on a skinned nose. Nowadays, uploaded onto the internut, that would go viral as child abuse.
    Last edited by Bigb23; October-24-16 at 10:24 PM.

  16. #16


    Lived in the Warren, Jefferson, Chalmers, and Conner area. Loved to go on Mack and Warren and hit the bars, the patrons would usually give out coins. Would often revisit the same bars later. Hated to get the "Dreaded two", apples or popcorn balls, they took up too much room in your sack. Had many great memories of that time. No pins or needles back then.

  17. #17


    Just wondering, I lived in this area. Where are all the Dutch Elm trees?

    Quote Originally Posted by xdet View Post
    Way back in the day, I think this would be near Lenox and Mack- late 1920s.
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Size:  102.6 KB

  18. #18


    I don't even do Halloween anymore. You get very few little kids, just roving packs of teenagers. My wife and i usually go out for dinner and some shopping and come home at 10PM.

  19. #19


    Quote Originally Posted by Ray1936 View Post
    Shit, I don't remember being a kid. I was born old.

    Me too, Ray. I share your pain. But I think you and I are but a few on the Forum who only remember HELP THE POOR. There was no TRICK OR TREAT back then.

  20. #20


    "Help the Poor, my pants are tore, gimme some money to buy some more"

  21. #21


    Halloween was always a big night on the east side when I was coming up in the late '60s and early '70s. We would start over in my grandparents' neighborhood around Chalmers south of Jefferson, comparing costumes with my cousins and gathering up an early bag of candy before it got dark. Then back over to where we lived in Indian Village where there were porch lights on everywhere and always lots of good stuff given out. A highlight was the folks who lived in the house on Iroquois just north of Kercheval, who did the whole bit, giving out candy in elaborate costumes, with a jungle of decorations, sound effects, even a fog machine.

    Then came the Indian Village Halloween party, which was a big event with games, music, and a costume contest. In later years us disaffected young teens would get together in the back of the gym and spike our punch with a little bit of something grabbed from dad's cabinet.

    My folks always gave out candy, and my mother really got into the whole thing of putting together costumes for us, carving pumpkins, and choosing her own favorite candies that kids actually liked (no crappy Brach's!). Even after we were grown, and it became less popular in the neighborhood, they continued giving out candy on Halloween until they moved in the late '80s.

  22. #22


    The Halloweens in the neighborhood where the closed Kettering High School stands today was the dark and sparsely attended, watch yer back type with some property destruction tossed in.

    The best ones came later when I moved to Hamtramck on the north east end. They were more of block parties. Lot's of closely packed houses lit up, people outside in costume and kids of all ages everywhere.
    Last edited by Dan Wesson; October-28-16 at 12:11 AM.

  23. #23


    One common Michigan adage is: "Your know you're from Michigan when you design your children's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit."

    By the way, Lawrence house guy in Dearborn (south of Ford-across from the school) has gone all out. He has so many automated things screeching and writhing (some with clappers hooked up to them). It will be nice weather tomorrow (for a change) so, it's worth checking out.

  24. #24


    Quote Originally Posted by G-DDT View Post
    By the way, Lawrence house guy in Dearborn (south of Ford-across from the school) has gone all out. He has so many automated things screeching and writhing (some with clappers hooked up to them). It will be nice weather tomorrow (for a change) so, it's worth checking out.
    I might drive over there & check it out.

  25. #25


    A beard for my hobo costume was applied with a thorough smearing of Crisco followed by a patting of used coffee grounds. It worked.

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