Trick or Treat
Learn about Cape May’s Secret Societies
By Jim Campbell
What kind of trick would bring over 5,000 people in the Cape May area to witness or participate in a real treat. The event was Cape May’s Second Annual Hallowe’en Carnival that took place on November 3, 1916. The two hour parade started at 8:00 at Washington and Franklin Streets and ended at Washington and Perry Streets.
The largest contingent in the parade was the Cape May High School with 148 students led by principal Butterwick. The senior class marched in cap and gown and the freshmen brought up the rear with a prairie schooner pulled by an old horse and followed by several cows. In the middle of the high school contingent was a float depicting the crowded conditions in the high school (the one that once stood where the Acme is now).
The high school kids got a$ 10.00 first prize for having the largest representation in the parade and another $10.00 first prize for the most grotesquely dressed organization as well as a third prize in the best decorated float category.
Of Cape May’s numerous “secret societies” only the Ogallala Tribe of the Improved Order of Red Men, the Cold Spring Council of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics and the Cold Spring Order of the Patriotic Sons of America are mentioned as appearing in the parade, although others may have been in the line of march.
The Women’s Christian Temperance Union had a float that was described as “very expressive and prophetic”. Prohibition was only a few years away.
The Wildwood Fire Department arrived with two “magnificent large motor fire trucks” and two strong blue columns. The Cape May firemen followed with apparatus drawn by “magnificent horses.”
You’ve come a long way! This 1910 photograph of Cape firemen of yesteryear draws a sharp contrast to the modern, efficient Cape May Volunteer Fire Department of today. Pictured here are Driver Chad Poulson and City Engineer Jim Rice with their fire horses, “Harry” (right) and “Joe.”
A number of automobiles appeared in the parade including Woodruff Eldredge’s new Studebaker in Hallowe’en colors and one made to appear as a Cape May Point trolley car described as a “humorous but realistic representation of our former ‘one lungers’” which won first prize for best decorated float.
The large contingent from Wildwood, which included a suffrage float, was led by the Baker brothers in automobiles decorated with flowers.
Mayor Stevens presented the prizes from the reviewing stand at Washington and Ocean Streets. Among the prizes that were awarded, Oscar Tenenbaum got first prize for the best Charlie Chaplin, with Charley Swain coming in second and Charley Schellenger third. William Porter’s Cape May Band provided the music for the skating competition that followed the presentation of the prizes.
Although the 1916 Halloween parade was for adults, our Halloween parades now are for children and maybe that is the way it should be. Or maybe there should be two parades?
Source for this article: Cape May Star and Wave November 4, 1916