Ep 22 Elizabeth Krebs: The Fairy Godmother of Halloween
The fairy godmother of Halloween
1912, hoodlums and child gangsters ran amuck in towns throughout America. The masked tweens took the ancient Irish holiday of Samhain as an excuse to destroy property, terrify innocent bystanders, and generally be just dicks.
This had become the tradition of devils night (later moved to the night BEFORE Halloween). That is, until one dope ass garden has a brilliant plan.
Elizabeth Krebs, born in 1848, was the president of the Hiawatha Garden Club in good old Hiawatha, Kansas. She was smart, fun, and passionate about her garden.
So on the morning of November 1st, 1912, when she awoke to find said prized garden smashed to bits. All across the town of Hiawatha, fences broken, statues were urinated on, and general mayhem had been afoot.
Krebs raged and cried over the destruction of her garden. And then, like any strong independent midcentury gal, she buckled her bootstraps and set to work.
Her plan was amazing, even by 21st century standards.
The next year Elizabeth Krebs planned an absolute rager for Halloween night. She decorated her house and lawn, and invited all of the local kids. There were games, prizes and bumping music. All of the local kids were invited, and they loved it! The kids and teens were too tired from the late night of bobbing for apples and eating pie, to do any sort of damage. Everything went so well!
Until the next morning, where Elizabeth Krebs woke to find her beautiful, delicate garden DESTROYED again. The whole town was hazed. Just as it had been for the last several years. A mail truck had even been set on fire!
Instead of feeling dejected, Krebs had a fire lit under her (just like the mail truck).
So Krebs worked, and sewed, and painted. She spent the entirety of 1914 planning the best Halloween celebration yet. She worked with the city, with residents, and even the police to make her vision come to fruition.
Halloween of 1914 rolled around and this time, Krebs was ready.
As the sun began to set on that late October night, Mrs. Krebs, in full costume, watched as the towns costumed youth trickled into the town square. A band began to march, leading the crowd on a parade to the theatre where the party continued on through the night. Candy and toys were given away to little kids. Older kids danced.
It was an absolute BANGER.
And on November 1st, 1914, Elizabeth Krebs awoke to….
A perfectly not fucked up garden and the towns police thanking her. There had been minimal hooliganry.
This tradition, of a costumed parade party, still happens in Hiawatha Kansas, and all throughout the country. IN fact, Mrs. Krebs was the brain behind the costumed trick or treating in America! So thank you, Elisabeth, for some of the best memories a kid can make.