Decades of northerners’ Halloween parties are immortalized in collections of photos held by the NWT Archives in Yellowknife.
Captured by some of the territory’s best-known early photographers, like Henry Busse and Rene Fumoleau, the images show residents of northern communities, particularly kids, dressing up for October 31.
The archive holds dozens of images related to Halloween spanning a period from the 1950s up to the 1980s.
Busse, considered Yellowknife’s first professional photographer, documented the city’s history in tens of thousands of images. They were donated to the archive by his family – he passed away in 1962.
Fumoleau, a priest who came to the NWT in 1953, lived and worked in various communities. Fifteen thousand of his photographs are now in the archive’s possession. He passed away earlier this year.
The NWT Archives are open to the public, though people are asked to get in touch before their visit. Anyone can ask for help from staff to find material related to specific requests, and there’s a reading room where you can study items the archive holds.
On this page, we’ve curated a selection of Halloween images from the archive. The text printed on each image tells you where to find it in the archive and which collection it belongs to.
Happy Halloween, and don’t forget to watch Cabin Radio’s live special from 6pm! (We assume the NWT Archives will stash that one away somewhere for future generations, too.)
This photo is believed to come from a children’s Halloween party in Yellowknife on November 2, 1950. At the time, just a few thousand people lived in the community.
Henry Busse took this photo and the one above. This one comes from the Armories Halloween Ball on October 29, 1954.
Kids at a Halloween party in Yellowknife, at the home of a Mrs Sykes, on October 30, 1955. Also taken by Henry Busse.
Robert C Knights, an RCMP officer, took this photo of a Halloween party – apparently one lacking chairs – in Inuvik in 1961. According to an NWT Archives caption, those shown are Lee and Lorna Post and Jim and Fern Crook.
The same RCMP officer also took this shot, of Lloyd Anderson and Terry Carleton, on the same night. Two Betacam cassettes filmed by Bob Knights and more than 600 of his photos are in the archive. As well as Inuvik, he was stationed in Tsiigehtchic, Sachs Harbour, Arviat, and Rankin Inlet between 1956 and 1964.
Rene Fumoleau was in Fort Good Hope for the community’s Halloween party on November 1, 1968. A caption provided by the NWT Archives suggests Leon Kelly and Dominique Tobac are in this image.
This shot, from the same night, shows Tobac, right, with Jim Pierrot.
And here’s the band that played that night: Ed and the Hopers, otherwise known as Edward Grandejambe, Alfred Masuzumi, and Angus Shae.
Our last image comes from Behchokǫ̀’s Chief Jimmy Bruneau School. This photo, taken for the Native Press, is from a Halloween assembly held in October 1977.
To search the NWT Archives for more images, use this search option on the archive’s website. Note that not all images held in the archive yet appear on the website.