Thursday, Oct. 31, 1991 is remembered by many as the day and night of the Halloween Blizzard. Heavy, wet snow began falling the afternoon of Oct. 31 and by the time the snow stopped the next day, a total of 28 record setting inches of snow had fallen.
The Nov. 6, 1991 edition of the Sun carried a six column headline “Halloween Snowstorm 1991.” The story said “By early afternoon Thursday, October 31 the ominous prediction of a record snowstorm became apparent. As buses began to transport children home the gathering snow cover assured the riders there would not be a return to school on Friday. A reduced number of trick-or-treaters waded through the shin-deep wet heavy snow that evening.
“On Friday morning the snowfall had nearly reached the record setting amount of over 28 inches. Residents in the St. Croix River Valley began carving pathways to the hastily plowed roadways. High winds that increased through the night had erased the pathways previously cleared through the snow.
“Though a major concern, according to Osceola Police Chief Dennis Blanchard, traffic accidents were not a problem. ‘We got by pretty good considering,’ said Blanchard. ‘I think it was so bad that people just stayed home.’
“This sentiment was echoed by the director of the Osceola Area Ambulance Service, Bob Schmidt who said, ‘considering the weather, thankfully there was nothing big.’
“While several businesses understandably wondered why they even opened over the weekend, others reported very brisk business. Video rental stores saw considerable numbers over the weekend. P.M. Video store owner Ginni Peterson commented the Halloween weekend was her busiest in a very long time.
“Snow removal services in the area were kept busy from Thursday night through Monday. Bill Chantelois of Bill’s Hardware Hank reported he had just one snowblower left on Monday afternoon.
“The refrain Too Much – Too Soon, was heard reportedly from people slumped over shovels and snowblowers. On the other side of the coin, snow sport enthusiasts welcome the plenty and early with excitement.
“After years of little to no conditions conducive to snowmobiling, these individuals took to the streets, the fields and for the most part the unmarked snowmobile trails.
“Area ski hills, Trollhaugen and Wild Mountain also reported good turnouts, and added that all runs are in excellent condition.
“Wild Mountain reportedly was the first skiing center to open in the U.S. on Oct. 18. The ski area closed after that weekend and opened again on Oct. 29. The Halloween snowstorm however was credited with getting the season well underway.
“’We have been really, really busy,’ said Kathy Carlson of Wild Mountain. ‘The local people knew we were open, the natural stuff helps to get the Twin Cities people charged up about the season.’
“The record snowstorm that will be recalled as ‘The Halloween Blizzard of ‘91’ depending on perspective was a Trick or Treat.”
The Sun asked readers to submit their memories from the Halloween Blizzard. Brandon Leggitt said “The Halloween blizzard of 91 brings back great memories. I was 4 years old and my cousin came over all excited about the snow and wanted to take me trick or treating. So I got all bundled in my snowsuit and boots, mittens and he trudged me through the snow in my wheelchair. We didn’t go to many houses but we sure got a lot of candy. It was the most fun ever.”
The National Weather Service does not keep records for snowfall in Osceola, but does for St. Croix Falls. St. Croix Falls received 30” of snow during the three day event.
The winter of 1991-1992 is the second snowiest on record for St. Croix Falls with 81.3”. The snowiest winter on record is 2013-2014, with 83.4”.
No snow is forecast for this Halloween, with mostly sunny skies and a high of 48.