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Johnson Victrola Museum's offers throwback Halloween program online

Delaware Division of Historical & Cultural Affairs Photo
Illustration from a 1920's advertisement for crepe paper which could be used to create Halloween costumes

The Johnson Victrola Museum in Dover is presenting a virtual program Halloween weekend. 


The program is set for Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 and offers a bit of a historical perspective on Halloween, according to the Johnson Victrola Museum lead interpreter Christopher Hall.


“So we’re doing a program called “Mischief Managed:  Throwing a Hotsy-Totsy Halloween Bash.” We decided to do a nice virtual program - kind of a history of what Halloween was like in the 1920’s," said Hall. "So Halloween actually became a mainstream holiday in the ‘20’s, with trick-or-treating starting in 1927.”

Hall notes that Halloween was initially embraced as a holiday to deter children from going out and vandalizing things.

The idea was to make it a main-stream holidaym with parties, trick-or-treating and parades, to reign in some of the chaos and replace it with a fun, family holiday.

Hall says the virtual program will be accompanied by 78-rpm recordings of Halloween-related music played on authentic Victor (Victrola) Talking Machines.


Hall says examples of that music include “The Spooky Spooks” - which sounds like a standard haunted house-themed music - and “Skeleton Jangle” - which features a lot of xylophones.

“ Mischief Managed:  Throwing a Hotsy-Totsy Halloween Bash” will be available on Facebook Live Friday, October 30 starting at 6 p.m. People can also register to participate via Zoom at the museum’s Facebook page.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.