Universal York

Part of the USA Today Network

Post World War II York Celebrates Halloween–Kilroy Was Here

Halloween 1946 in Downtown York
As far back as I can remember, the parade through the streets of York has been the biggest event of the Halloween season. According to the November 1, 1946 Gazette and Daily, the parade had been replaced during the war years with a downtown party. Even though the war had ended a year earlier, the party tradition carried on in 1946.
As you can see from the Gazette and Daily photo above, downtown was jammed. The caption reads:

CONTINENTAL SQUARE IN A GALA MOOD–This shot from the Hartman building shows a segment of the many thousands of Hallowe’eners and spectators who jammed the Square and adjacent blocks during the community “witches’ night” celebration last evening. Mayor John L. Snyder said the crowd was “at least a third” larger than last year.

The accompanying article further gives further details:

Carnival Atmosphere Pervades York as Thousands Celebrate Hallowe’en.

Thousands of kids, their harried elders and just plain spectators invaded downtown York last evening for a noisy and colorful Hallowe’en celebration and program sponsored by the city and downtown merchants.
The program was a successor to the pre-war Hallowe’en parades. There were outdoor movies, band music in Continental Square and about 25 window displays which featured such ghostly and gruesome characters as “Digger Odelle, the Friendly Undertaker,” Fu Manchu,” “The Red Devil,” assorted ghosts, cats, serpents, witches–and the elusive Kilroy.
The latter won uncontested first place in popularity, even though most of the thousands who jammed the area in front of the store where he was scheduled to appear saw only the sign “Kilroy Was Here.” There were early comers, however, who claimed to have seen the hard-to-find guy in the flesh, and described him as a lean fellow in a tuxedo and mask.
Kilroy, incidentally, was the indirect cause of the most serious damage spotted by the Gazette and Daily. Four cars parked in the 100-block West Market street, in front of the Kilroy window, were dented badly about the tops as youngsters climbed to the roofs for a good view.
A plate glass window at the Sievers and Devers jewelry store on South George street, received a bad crack during the festivities. Otherwise, police said, the crowd was “orderly.”

Four children were lost and reunited with their parents, via the loud speaker system, those in charge reported.
The window displays, which attracted large crowds, featured live and mannikin performers–suited to the business establishment. A sports goods store for instance, sported “Red Grange, the Galloping Ghost.”

The article also mentions band music, movies and humorous “news” by broadcaster Otis Morse. It also notes that “Almost the entire police force was on hand to keep order.”
Does anyone know when York’s celebration went back from party to parade?