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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Memories of Palmersville's Halloween Royalty Celebration

by Laurean Brooks

When I was in school, one of my favorite times of the year was the annual Halloween Royalty held in October. It was an exciting month beginning the first week and ending the last week, as each grade competed for a coveted glittering crown.
Palmersville's school was small, staying at around 300 students in grades 1 - 12.  Because of the size of the school and our rural town, everyone knew everyone. Sure, we had occasional disagreements, but in the end,  all was forgiven, and we became family again. 

There were three categories in the Halloween Royalty competition. From grades 1-4, Maids and Paiges were elected. Grades 5–8 elected Princess and Princes. The high school grades elected Queens and Kings. All were voted on by the students from his/her class. The boys and girls who had been selected were excused from classes for one hour a day to practice a waltz in the gymnasium that would be performed at the Halloween Royalty celebration on the last Friday night in October.

The grades in each category competed against one another. Each grade strove to raise money by selling food or chances on items. Or they hosted hayrides, plays or sock hops. The class from each division who brought in the most money would win the coveted crown at the Halloween Royalty.

In sixth grade, one of my classmates brought his cotton candy machine to school. Our class took turns bringing cups of sugar to school to make the treat. I helped and can remember my amazement at watching the machine spin out cotton candy. The sweet concoction was a big seller. One day we ran out of sugar. But, never fear; I lived a short distance from the school. Our teacher, Mr. Trevathan, sent me home for two cups. Our sixth-grade class easily won the competition that year. They said we raised even more money than the senior class, which was unheard of.

On the night of the Halloween Royalty, the totals were tallied in each grade category. The three winning classes were announced over the loudspeaker and gold glittering crowns were placed on the heads of the elected royalty from those classes. As soon as the royalty winners were crowned, the three winning couples swept onto the dance floor to perform a waltz. 

The music swelled as the couples swirled about the dance floor while the entranced crowd fell silent in the gymnasium. The boys, decked out in suits and bowties, were handsome indeed, while the young ladies adorned in colorful, floor-length formals were a beautiful sight to behold.

The Halloween Royalty celebration was a magical night now etched in my memory. Our school looked forward to the excitement and camaraderie it brought.

All proceeds from the event went to the school to help with repairs, renovations, teachers' supplies, and other things that might be needed. 

In 2001, Palmersville School was consolidated. It was a sad day for the entire community. But we knew we had done our best. The funds from the Halloween Royalty had kept our little school alive and thriving for decades to come. The wonderful memories of tears and laughter shared from days-gone-by, still linger on.

                          (Credit for Palmersville School photo goes to Robert Reynolds)


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  1. Good morning, all you bloggers. I hope you enjoy this post about a small school from yesteryear, in a time when life moved slower and things were simpler. These small communities had a certain kinship all their own.

  2. What a great memory. Sad to see these times and way-of-life gone forever.

    1. I agree with you, Gini Rifkin. Sometimes I think I'd like to journey back and stay there for about about a month.

  3. Your experience in raising money for your school sounded like a lot of fun. I can just imagine how parents would resist today about everything from the sugared candy to choosing only three winning classes. We've lost that sense of community when the schools had to consolidate for financial reasons. Great post. Thank you!

  4. Judy Ann, things were different back then, in a good way. I'm glad I grew up in that time. I was amazed at how a cup of sugar in a whirling machine could spin out a batch of cotton candy. Who would've thought it? Thank you for commenting.


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