As the leaves begin to change and it comes time to turn the calendar page to October, stop to breathe and reflect on what the month will bring. Sweater weather, homework, final projects, and at the end of it all… Halloween! How will you celebrate? A costume party with friends? Trick-or-treating? A homecoming bonfire followed by a night on the town?
Flipping through past yearbooks and Augustana Observer articles, one realizes the good times related to this holiday have kept on rolling in this square of Rock Island for over a century, before Augustana even earned its place as a college. According to Reflecting on the Past: 150 years of Augustana Stories, the North Central Association of Colleges accredited Augie in 1912, the same year the school published the first yearbook under its new name, the Rockety-I.
What do the layouts of these Rockety–Is tell us about past students and their fall festivities? If you stop by Special Collections, or enter the online database, you’ll realize these pages listed the events considered important day by day, with candid photos along the side. Hallowe’en, as it was known in the early 20th century, was celebrated over the span of two days, as illustrated in the 1914 Rockety-I:“Oct. 30. Gay ensemble of witches, gypsies, clammy articles and weird phantasmagorid + decorations, + eats and cider, + Battle’s Bungalow, = girl’s Hallowe’en party for the men.”
The following day, All Hallow’s Eve, we see that the sophomores “…try Battle’s Bungalow and pronounce it some place for stunts.” Who are the faces behind these costumes? Sophomore stunts?
Augustana student Esther Youngberg, editor in chief of the Social page of the Augustana Observer, 1913-1916, is one of those faces. She describes Battle’s Bungalow as a cottage next to the Rock River, a place to convene for pranks and festivities. At the time, the students interacted on a senior-status basis. The sophomore class pranked the rest of the school, and afterward students attended get-togethers which included bobbing for apples, fudge, and popcorn– shared with president Andreen!
Although we might not bob for apples or share popcorn with President Bahls, Halloween remains an important holiday at Augie. As you study hard for those finals, take a break from time to time and think of a costume you might wear, a pattern to carve into a pumpkin, or how you can get involved in one of the many opportunities Augustana offers to celebrate. If you’re short still short on ideas, stop by Special Collections to flip through those old yearbooks, or visit our Flickr Page: Augustana Special Collections Flickr.