Trick or Treating returning to Carson City |

Trick or Treating returning to Carson City

Carson City’s trick-or-treaters will indeed go door-to-door on Halloween this year, according to Mayor Ray Masayko.

Masayko has a say in the tradition because, for most of the Halloweens since Carson City staged a big Nevada Day celebration beginning in 1938, Nevada’s Oct. 31 admission day observances meant that Halloween activities had to be rescheduled to another day.

“We’ve done that as long as I can remember, at least 50 years,” Carson City Clerk/Recorder Alan Glover said Wednesday. “It may have gone back to the 1930s, when they started the Nevada Day parade.”

This year, that means trick-or-treating will be on a Tuesday.

State Archivist Guy Rocha said he has found indications of Halloween rescheduling as far back as the late 1940s.

“The general thrust was not to have the kids out the same night with all the revelers, to have a safe night for the kids,” Rocha said.

For many years, up through 1998, the Carson City mayor announced that trick-or-treating would take place the night before Nevada Day. The Nevada Legislature’s 1999 law creating a three-day Nevada Day weekend changed that, and trick-or-treating returned to Oct. 31 last year.

But the change of a local tradition that had endured for a couple generations still generates some uncertainty.

“A couple weeks ago I began to get telephone calls asking when trick-or-treating would be,” Masayko said. “Even the governor’s office called.

“So I asked around to see what everyone thought. I checked with juvenile probation and the folks at the sheriff’s office. ‘Halloween?’ I asked, and they all thought Halloween was fine.

“So it’s straightforward again. We’re going to traditionally celebrate trick-or-treat on Halloween.”

The history of rescheduling appears to predate the current sanitized version of trick-or-treat as a parade through neighborhoods collecting candy from neighbors and welcoming strangers.

When the Nevada Day parade was young, Halloween was more a night for youthful mischief than sugar-loaded treats. Pranks like clothesline cutting, privy tipping and gate stealing were on the evening agenda for many youngsters.

So organizers of the Nevada Day celebration, wanting to present a well-decorated community for the thousands of visitors who poured into Carson City each year, put out the word that such pranks would not be permitted to disrupt the celebrations.

The Nevada Appeal of Oct. 30, 1947, carried a warning to children not to destroy Nevada Day decorations and added that “the first of the month is Halloween.”

On Oct. 28, 1952, an Appeal article carried the headline “Keep Halloween Festivities Off Carson Street” and said children were supposed to keep their celebrations away from the street, which was the route of the parade and location of many other Nevada Day activities.

“For many years, this has been considered the young people’s part in the fete,” the article said.

“Police also urge the youngsters to curb their ambitions and keep the traditional Halloween pranks to the night of Oct. 30. Vandalism cannot be tolerated, Marshal Lester Smith said today,” the article said.

The Nevada Day parades from now on will be on the last Saturday of October. That means Oct. 28 this year.

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