One of the great joys of growing up in Azusa was Halloween Night. Do you remember the big Halloween celebration that the Park and Recreation Department used to host every year? They were always a blast! And there were always a ton of kids there! Yeah those were really much better days for kids, when parents felt safe letting their children take to the streets for some old fashioned trick or treating fun. I don’t know about you but my friends and I sure did! We would travel all over town collecting treats. It wasn’t unusual to finish the night with at least two big shopping bags full of candy and other assorted treats. Back in those days people were very generous especially on the north side of town. Yeah Halloween was nothing like it is today. Now its not unusual to see just as many parents on the street on Halloween night as there are kids, making sure their children are safe. Boy have times changed.
We lived for Halloween night! By the time were were around 14 Halloween became more about the tricks than the treats. Oh we still did our fair share of knocking on doors, but the true purpose of the night was not to build up a stock of candy, but to have a little fun at someone else’s expense. There were two particular Halloween nights that I will never forget. I’d like to share one of those nights with you.
It was October 1965 Halloween night. I was 14 years young, a freshman in high school. My friends and I had been looking forward to a little Halloween mayhem for weeks and now the big night had finally arrived. Although Halloween fell on a Sunday that year we were fine with it. One the benefits of attending Catholic School was the day following Halloween was All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation, which meant there was no school! Yeah, you gotta love those Catholic holidays! While all those poor souls attending public schools had classes the following day we got to stay out late and then sleep in. pretty cool.
There were five of us there that Halloween night, Art, Dave, Bob, Steve and myself. There were supposed to be a few others but they never showed up, probably not up to it. The plan was to egg cars up on old Sierra Madre Ave. Today Sierra Madre is a straight slightly uphill drive south that takes you passed Nob Hill and Pioneer Park, through the Rosedale housing development into Glendora, but back in the day it was a narrow two lane road that wound its way up a small mountainside. a little further on was the “big dip” in the roadway, a very popular spot for speeding and the site of more than a few accidents. But our focus that night was the windy road above Pioneer Park where there were plenty of perfect elevated hiding spots among the trees to launch an aerial egg assault on unsuspecting motorists as they slowed down in the curves.
Each of us was armed with eggs we had brought from home. I don’t remember just how many we had, but we had a pretty decent arsenal maybe three dozen or so. It didn’t take us long to realize that in war three dozen eggs don’t last long. Just after dark we all met at Bob’s house. He lived on Nob Hill which was easy walking distance to our target zone. After making our way up the hill we waited impatiently for our first victim. Soon we saw headlights approaching from the west. Knowing that the car would soon be coming around the curve we armed ourselves and the moment we saw the car we launched our aerial egg assault. We each threw one and we heard at least three make contact with the vehicle. The driver slowed down flashed his high beams and drove on while we howled in laughter. Yes, egging cars had certainly been a good idea.
Over the course of the next hour we hit three more cars all coming into Azusa. We had pooled our eggs and at that point had about a dozen left. Our next target came up from the Azusa side and really slowed down for the curve right below us. Needless to say we slammed it with eggs. Then the unexpected happened. The car came to a complete stop right before the curve and the driver got out! At first we were scared and quickly backed away from our perch, but then quickly realized he couldn’t see us and went back to the edge. Remarkably he had walked to the rear of the car and was standing there looking around.
I don’t remember who threw the first egg but as soon as it was thrown the rest of us followed suit and in a matter of moments the remainder of our egg cache was depleted. The poor guy had his arms up protecting his head as he jumped back in the car and sped away. I’d never laughed so hard in my life. Everyone was rolling! Thank God the driver couldn’t call anyone for help or to report us until he got home or to the nearest phone booth which was miles away. Fortunately for us this happened long before cell phones and instant communication or we probably would have gotten busted.
Fearing that the driver might actually call and report us we quickly made our way back to Bob’s house to hide out for awhile We must have spent about a half hour at Bob’s before making our way back onto the streets. Our plan was to walk over to the Foothill dairy and buy more eggs, then head back up to our ambush site. We hadn’t gone two blocks when a police cruiser pulled up along side of us. The officer in the passenger seat asked us what we were up too then shined his flashlight down at our feet. Our shoes were clean and dirt free. Fortunately for us Bob had the good sense to suggest that we all clean the dust and dirt from our shoes before going back out, just in case. Smart guy that Bob.
The cop told us they’d had a report about someone throwing eggs at passing cars on Sierra Madre and since we just happened to be strolling down Sierra Madre they had to check us out. We assured him that it hadn’t been us, no siree buddy! “Are you sure you boys aren’t holding any eggs?” he asked suspiciously. Again we assured him that we were not and even went so far as to pat down our pockets. We all heard the crack of the egg in Dave’s pocket when he hit it, apparently he’d forgotten he still one in his jacket pocket. Fortunately for us the cop didn’t hear. They gave us a friendly warning to stay out of trouble and drove off. Man we had dodged a real bullet. After Dave cleaned out his pocket we continued on to the dairy.
At the dairy we each bought a dozen eggs. At 53 cents a dozen we could have bought more but had no way to conceal them. As we were leaving an old, gray primer, panel truck with windows pulled up out front. About a half dozen or more guys climbed out of the back and came into the Dairy. Inside the back of the truck we could see dozens and dozens of eggs, and these guys were buying more! I recognized one of the guys from the rec center and we struck up a conversation. It seems they were involved in some sort of ‘egg war’ with another group of guys up near the Azusa Greens Golf Course. He then asked if we’d like to join them in their adventure. Although we really didn’t know these guys,after a brief discussion we decided to join them anyway. After donating our eggs to the cause we climbed into the back of the panel truck and soon got underway.
The golf course was only a few minutes away. East of the course was a new housing development. All the new streets had been cut in and the lots graded and leveled but no houses had yet been built yet. This was ground zero for what was to be an amazing egg war. As we neared the entrance to the tract about 5 other guys joined us and piled into the back of the truck.We all armed ourselves with eggs as we turned into the development and were ready to go. We hadn’t gone far when we came under attack! We drove to the middle of the block then all jumped out of the truck. There were eggs flying everywhere. We stayed behind the safety of the truck for several minutes, then mounted our own assault. We managed to press our attackers out of hiding and chased them down the street. There had to have been about twenty of them and we had them on the run.
We all then climbed back in the truck and proceeded deeper into the housing development. Soon the driver shouted that we were going to “capture the flag and claim our prize!” we traveled slowly for a few blocks under a constant barrage of shattering eggs. The windows were so smeared you could barely see out. We purposely kept our heads down so the enemy would have no idea how many of us there really were. We finally came to a stop, armed ourselves and jumped into the fray. We had pulled in beside another car where a handful of guys were engaged in battle. We quickly joined in. We were the reinforcements! Like in some old western movie, the cavalry had arrived!
The battle seemed to go on forever, eggs shattered everywhere, the air was thick with residue. The enemy seemed to be protecting this one small cul-de-sac up ahead of us. Eventually we managed to form a line and pressed forward. In no time at all they made a hasty retreat. We then regrouped and about a dozen guys grabbed several dozen eggs and continued to pursue the enemy keeping them on the run. The rest of us, about 20 or so walked down the small cul-de-sac to see the prize we had captured. Parked at the end of the street was a beautiful, black two-door 57 Chevy! We were all kind of milling about admiring the car when the panel truck pulled up behind us. The driver got out opened up the rear door and started passing out eggs. “What are we waiting for?” he yelled, “Let’s do it!”
With that everybody started firing eggs at the Chevy. I was a little reluctant at first but hell, everyone was doing it so why not! God that car was a mess! Then the situation got out of hand. Someone opened up the drivers door and fired some eggs inside. soon both doors were open as well as the hood of the car and everything was being pelted with eggs! Yeah things had gone from fun to bad real quick.
The driver of the panel truck who appeared to be the unofficial leader of the group must have realized that things had gone to far, began yelling at the group to stop and get the hell out of there. we piled into the panel truck and left. We were hit by a few eggs as we made our way back to Sierra Madre Ave., and a few minutes later we were dropped off near Pioneer Park. We were thanked us for our assistance, and given three dozen eggs from their still plentiful stash. They then went on their way.
We stood there for awhile unsure of what to do. The plan had been to go back up on Sierra Madre and throw more eggs at unsuspecting motorists, but that just didn’t sound like fun anymore. We were burned out on eggs, post egg war syndrome I suppose. Instead we dumped the eggs into the water channel that ran through Pioneer Park and walked down to big Halloween festivities down by the Library. From there we headed home.
I will never forget the great egg war of Halloween 1965. It was a hell of an experience. I always wondered what happened when the owner of the car finally came back to retrieve it. God what a mess! We never did find out who owned the car. That was one of my first incidents of vandalism. But then everyone was doing it, we were just caught up in the moment. Yeah, I know that’s no excuse, no excuse at all. I wish I could say it was the only time I got caught up with the crowd and did things I shouldn’t have, but it wasn’t, far from it. If the car was yours I’m deeply sorry. That Halloween night’s experience was just another in the treasure trove of memories I have of growing up in Azusa.