Children are treated from 4 to 6 p.m. by downtown merchants, then gather at the Hall of Waters drive for the Annual Bill Payne Halloween Costume Contest. Afterwards, everyone parades behind the firetruck to the Veteran’s Club for hot dogs, chips and more candy!
The tradition was begun by one of Excelsior Springs most beloved Police Chiefs, Bill Payne. He found a way to make Halloween safe and enjoyable for kids of all ages, keeping everyone busy so there was no time for “tricks”!
In 1925 Bill Payne was appointed chief of police and he held that position until 1953. In 1926, Payne experienced his first big test as chief of police. Halloween that year was described as a “disgrace to the city”. Vandals painted windows, slashed tires on automobiles, defaced the streets and storefronts, caused damage to one of the city’s bridges. As Halloween of 1927 was approaching, Payne was determined that the same thing would not happen again. He decided that on Halloween he would give a party for the citizens of Excelsior Springs, both young and old. About 100 people attended the party. Free drinks and food were donated by the city merchants, and to gain admittance to the party, citizens had only to pledge not to damage or destroy any property. The party was a huge success, and the amount of vandalism was greatly reduced that year.
The tradition continues with pride today! Come join us in 2018!