Black Caterwaul Halloween Party (1920's)

Dennison "Sentimental Tommy" (H 445) 1920's

Oh, for the carefree life of a cat! It has been said that each and everyone of us has traits in common with the cat and that we politely suppress a desire to prowl at midnight and howl at the moon. Well, here at last is a chance to “be yourself” at the Hallowe’en Black Caterwaul.

The rhymed invitation written on a card­ board feline hints that this is to be no cake and yawn affair, but a regular howl from start to finish.

Oh, trim your whiskers and sleek up your coat

And respond to this old cat-call;

The Tabbies and Tommies will congregate
And howl at the Black Caterwaul.
On……….       At ………….

Cat-A-Wall Decorations for a Black Cat Halloween Party

The impression you get from the decora­tions is that you have stepped into an old back yard surrounded by a brick wall upon which there are “millions of cats.” It is moonlight, of course, and the felines are having a howl of a time. Blue crepe paper streamers draped overhead form the sky and innumerable stars twinkle from the ends of invisible black threads. The wall is made of decorated crepe paper printed to represent bricks. The cats are made of cardboard. Some of them are humped up looking for a scrap; others strumming on banjos are pouring forth their yearnings in song. You can purchase these cats all ready. to be tacked in place; or you can cut cats, silhouette fashion, out of black mat stock. It matters not whether you are a skilled artist well up on cat anatomy or merely handy with the scissors; cats are cats and the funnier they look, the better.

Here are some vintage cat decorations available on eBay:
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The master of ceremonies dresses like a black cat and carries a scroll from which he reads a verse before each stunt is pulled.
It is not difficult to rig up a cat costume; one needs only a pair of black pajamas and coat, a cat-head mask. a pair of mittens and
the finishing touch-acrepe paper and wire tail.

Follow The Cat Game for Black Cat Halloween Party

After all the guests have arrived, the master of ceremonies stands in the center of the room, unrolls the scroll and reads:

“Cry for your partner and form in line ready to advance,
We are going to start the Caterwaul with a Catacoustic Dance.”

“Cat criers” are passed around; these are the squashy kind that “meow” when squeezed. Each cat crier has a number pasted on it and th eguests find their partners by crying for them. The wail is sent out fire-alarm fashion; for instance, if the num­ber is 13, the crier is squeezed once, pause, then squeezed three times in quick succession.

After partners. have been found (the numbers help if the cries fail to locate them), a “Follow the Cat” game starts the line marching two by two with everybody crying out loud. They must not only follow the leader but must imitate his cat-like antics as well.

After the line has returned to the starting point, the leader calls out:
“Black cats galore perch on the wall,
Guess how many there are in all:
The two whose answers are nearest right,
This very year their troth will plight.”

No time is allowed to count the cats as the line is kept moving briskly and once outside the room each guest registers his or her guess on a slip of paper and drops it in a bowl. While the next game is in progress, the slips are checked and later on, the happy (?) couple (best guessers) are united in a mock marriage. A mosquito netting veil, a vegetable bouquet and a cheesecloth train are used to doll up the bride; while the groom wears orange paper spats, a sunflower boutonniere and carries a large brass ring with which to wed his bride. The black cat
officiates as preacher; the bridesmaids, maid of honor, flower girl and page are drafted from among the guests.

Mouse Hunt Game for Black Cat Halloween Party

Oh, hear ye cats! A mouse there is
With a price upon its head;
A reward awaits the cat that brings
It back, alive or dead.

A toy mouse is concealed in a not too obvious spot-the toe of a slipper, for instance, or the folds of a closed umbrella hidden in a closet. Small cardboard cats on which the following words are written: “Cold” “freezing” “warm” “hot” “burning,” are placed around the room to help guide the searchers. The reward is a black kitten dressed for the occasion in a ruff of orange-colored crepe paper.

Walking the Wall Game for Black Cat Halloween Party

“A prize awaits the cat who can
Prowl backwards on the wall
In quickest time, with surest step
While making caterwaul.”

The walls. are two parallel tapes thumb­tacked across the floor. Two cats compete at one time to see which one can walk back­ wards along the tape in the shortest time, meowing lustily as he goes. The winner then races with another cat and so on until all have had a turn. Of course, there must be a judge to disqualify any cat who falls off the wall (steps off the tape). If the room is large and there are many guests, several tapes can be used so that more players can race at one time.

Collaring the Cat Game for Black Cat Halloween Party

“Health, happiness, luck -yes, all of that­-
Come to the one who collars the cat;
But he who fails three times, they say,
A forfeit he will have to pay.”

A toy cat is placed at one end of the room. Each player, in turn, stands eight feet away from the cat and attempts to collar it, using three different sized embroidery hoops. Those who fail pay forfeits.

Catacomb Fortunes Game for Black Cat Halloween Party

“The cat bones of your ancestors
Are lying here in state;
Go pick one from the Catacomb
And you will learn your fate.”

The catacomb is a half darkened closet from which all hats and coats have been removed. The only light is a small electric bulb covered bya cardboard skull, the eyes of which have been gouged out and lined with blue crepe paper. White cardboard bones are hung on black threads fastened to wires strung overhead. Fortunes are written on the bones and each guest in turn visits the catacombs, grabs a bone and, needless to say, hurries out.

The fortunes may be good-natured slams written in the following vein:

“If you don’t wish your wedding day
Indefinitely deferred,
Go bleach your crowning glory
Until you are preferred.”

“Your face is fair as a garden rose;
Superb is your slender form;
Your disposition is just as sweet
As milk in a thunder storm.”

“Some will break your heart in two,
Some will fawn and flatter,
Some won’t even look at you,
You’ll wonder what’s the matter!”

“Here is something
You won’t know;
How that hussy
Stole your beau.”

“There are some things
You’re better off without-
Love, animosity, freckles and doubt.”

“You hope to take an ocean trip
But oh, by heck!
You’ll have to sit on playing cards
To get on deck.”

“Cheer up, old dear,
Some fat you’ll lose,
But not at the place
That you did choose.”

“Floury love-making
Is surely very smart;
And you won’t wed a pie-face
If you can bake a tart.”

“Before tomorrow is tonight,
You’ll have an awful fright;
Someone will take you out to dine,
And you will get a bite.”

“You’re going to take a trip, my dear,
But it won’t be far at all;
You’ll just be running up the steps
And trip and take a fall.”

Catoptromancy Mirror Game for Black Cat Halloween Party

“Catoptromancy mirrors a picture of your face,
If it reflects you fair and calm, you soon will meet you fate;
But if it is distorted and your features are not straight,
Catoptromancy tells you that you’ve got to sit and wait.”

A mirror sunk in a bowl of water is placed on the floor and the guests take turns read­ ing their fate by gazing at their reflections.

Catnips Game for Black Cat Halloween Party

“Form a circle on the floor
Sitting on your knees,
And nip your neighbor’s pretty face
As nippy as your please.
The one who nips the hardest
Will only sorrow know;
The one who nips the softest
Will never meet with woe.”

This verse (read as usual by the master of ceremonies) serves a double purpose -it prevents the over-zealous ones from nipping too vigorously and it acts as a sortof blind to the one on whom the joke is played.

The players sit in a circle on the floor and the first one starts by turning to his right­ hand neighbor, saying:”The catnips a nose.” At the same time he gently tweaks his neighbor’s nose. The one who has been nipped turns to his right-hand neighbor and repeats the stunt. The second time around the circle it is: “The catnips a chin.” This is continued until the catnips the nose, chin, cheeks and forehead of everybody. The one on whom the joke is played is later astonished to see in a mirror his face smudged by sooty fingers.

Cat Feast Menu for Black Cat Halloween Party

“The next thing on the program
Is neither stunts nor feats;
It’s just an invitation-
To gather’round the ‘EATS’.”

The menu consists of:

CREAM CHEESE AND NUT BREAD SANDWICHES

OLIVES                          PICKLES                    SALTED NUTS

APPLE TARTS           DOUGHNUTS          PUMPKIN PIES

CHOCOLATE MICE

MILK