"Hallowe'en that year was the wildest in local history. Some 300 teen-agers, half of them Stanford students and half from Palo Alto Senior High, fought with police on University Avenue. They bombarded store fronts with eggs and tomatoes, pelted pedestrians and automobiles with the same items as well as with spray from seltzer bottles. The street was strewn with broken glass, while fires burned in alley trash-bins. In residential areas, some houses were damaged by paint splashes or by water directed into living rooms with hoses connected outdoors. One large plate glass window was broken downtown. The Palo Alto Senior High School Student Board, ashamed of their fellow students' behavior, offered to pay for the broken window."
Can you imagine if something like this happened today? This forum would be bombarded with comments attributing the events to the influx of pushy Silicon Valley businesspeople into Palo Alto in recent years and to the immorality of teenagers spoiled by too much money and ruined by their absent, workaholic parents. Others might blame it on kids spending too much time on social media and video games. Inevitably, many would decry this vandalism as somehow the fault of mainland Chinese moving to Palo Alto. And of course, all the old timers would express their shock at how much morality has decayed since the good old days when they were young.
I don't think anything in recent memory compares to the 1950 Halloween shenanigans described here. Certainly the Paly-Gunn egg fight does not really seem so horrific compared to the full-on destruction and vandalism that happened 63 years ago.
In every generation, teenagers will get rowdy and do stupid things. Adults will shake their heads and say things have gotten so much worse--and they'll be wrong.
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