Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Halloween at Boys Town

October 30th, 2015     By Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

Boys Town History, Father Flanagan

The Servant of God Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town to be a home for abandoned and orphaned children. His intention was to provide the boys a family-based lifestyle whenever possible. This included the celebration of holidays.

One major fall holiday was Halloween. Being Irish, the Servant of God Flanagan had celebrated this holiday in his native country. Once the Home had moved to Overlook Farm, the Halloween celebrations became a fall harvest event. In the 1920s, the Servant of God would invite neighbors from surrounding farms to join the boys for a large bonfire and the roasting of potatoes. The boys’ band and choir would perform for the guests. On Halloween day, local donors would deliver what the boys called “oodles” of candy and peanuts, rare treats for the youngsters.

In the 1930s, an all-school Halloween party was held for the boys. The high school freshmen were required to dress in strange costumes and a prize was given for the most outstanding costume. The boys had peanut races, a three-legged race, tugs-of-war between grades, a Wild West contest for the grade school kids, a tunnel race, a leap frog race, a potato race, and an apple-dunking contest. After all this activity, the boys enjoyed popcorn and apples.

For the older boys in the 1940s, there was an annual Halloween dance. Girls from local high schools were invited to attend and the Boys Town orchestra provided music. By the 1950s and 1960s, each Boys Town cottage and dormitory would hold its own Halloween celebration. Party rooms in each dorm or cottage were decorated with Halloween displays oftentimes made by the students. The boys would play games and have a rare treat of candy.

As the Home transitioned to the Family Home Program in the 1970s, staff members maintained many of the old Halloween traditions begun by the Servant of God Flanagan. Today at Boys Town, the younger students march in a costume parade and celebrate at parties at school or in their Family Homes. The children also get to go trick-or-treating in the Village, which is a special event for those who have never had the opportunity to do so in the past.

halloween2  

Related Posts

 

 

Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Protecting Children Is the Right Thing to Dohttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Protecting-Children.aspxBoys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Protecting Children Is the Right Thing to DoAs a national leader in child and family care and the keeper of Father Flanagan's legacy, Boys Town has an obligation to speak out whenever childre...July 2nd, 2018Boys TownAs a national leader in child and family care and the keeper of Father Flanagan's legacy, Boys Town has an obligation to speak out whenever childre...Father Steven Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Father Flanagan’s Foundational Values Ensured Boys Town Was Built to Lasthttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/Foundational-Values.aspxBoys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Father Flanagan’s Foundational Values Ensured Boys Town Was Built to Last​Many child care organizations have come and gone since the beginning of the 20th century, but Boys Town has survived and thrived, recently celebra...May 29, 2018Boys Town​Many child care organizations have come and gone since the beginning of the 20th century, but Boys Town has survived and thrived, recently celebra...​​Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History
Boys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Saving Children, Changing Lives and Continuing to Make Holiday Memories at 100 Years and Countinghttps://www.boystown.org/blog/Pages/saving-children-changing-lives-and-continuing-holiday-memories-at-100-Years-and-counting.aspxBoys Town: Saving Children, Healing Families, Parenting Tips | Saving Children, Changing Lives and Continuing to Make Holiday Memories at 100 Years and CountingOne hundred years ago, a dream became reality for a young Catholic priest. On December 12, 1917, Father Edward J. Flanagan founded his Home for Boys in downtown Omaha, providing a refuge for youngsters who had nowhere else to go.December 20, 2017Boys TownOne hundred years ago, a dream became reality for a young Catholic priest. On December 12, 1917, Father Edward J. Flanagan founded his Home for Boys in downtown Omaha, providing a refuge for youngsters who had nowhere else to go.Father Boes, President and National Executive Director, Boys Town