Beggars Night

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Beggars Night, or more properly Beggars' Night, is a recent regional term for the early Halloween-related activity that is referred to in some parts of the United States as "Trick or Treat". Some municipal counties, concerned with younger children getting hurt on Halloween Day when trick-or-treating; decided for a weekday day before Halloween Day for younger children to go trick-or-treating safely. This day is varying by county and year depending when Halloween Day is, resulting in this day to be in some cases a week before Halloween Day.

This term is new to possibly distinguish between Halloween Eve's or Halloween Days' Trick-or-Treating, which in most places is just called "The day the town decided when Trick-or-Treating was." Traditionally, Halloween Day or Halloween Eve, children went trick-or-treating at night when Halloween festivities started. Due to both days being festival days, especially on weekends, many car accidents and intoxicated misbehaviors occurred. To make this holiday safer, in a county all towns in it, will receive a different day for children residing in that town to go trick-or-treating: hours between getting out of school and ending between 6-8pm. Due to the differing days, children are able to go trick-or-treating on multiple weekdays in the neighboring towns.

Children are also allowed to trick-or-treat on Halloween Eve and Halloween Day as well. However, adults will usual only buy enough supply of candy for trick-or-treating the day their town decided on which day it was. This has led to much confusion and fewer houses having candy due to adults traditionally celebrating Halloween Eve or Halloween Day if it is on a weekend. However, it has led to better regulation and coordination between varying town law enforcement in decreasing rowdy acts. Mostly, school boards and local newspapers announce to their towns which day their town will be doing trick-or-treating. Halloween is still celebrated with parties but no younger children trick-or-treating Halloween Eve or Day anymore. Specifically, the term is broadly but not exclusively used in Ohio, and in many parts of Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and western New York.[1]

In the Buffalo area Beggar's Night is October 30 and is a scaled down version of Halloween itself, with children seeing if they can squeeze an extra night of candy out of the holiday.[2] In the Des Moines Metro Area during Beggar's Night, children ring doorbells, say "Trick or Treat" then tell riddles or jokes such as "What did the priest say when the church caught on fire?" "Holy smoke!" Homeowners will groan and laugh, then give out treats.[3][4]

In Columbus, Ohio, there was a police report made in 1954 where it had gotten too rowdy so the city had discontinued Trick or Treating. The cities surrounding Columbus started celebrating the day before or the Thursday before Halloween.[5][6][7] The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) sets dates for the Columbus, Ohio region. For both 2018 and 2019, Beggers' Night will be celebrated on October 31. [8]

In Washington, DC, and the immediate suburbs in the 1950s Beggars' Night was on October 30 and that was the night for dressing up in costumes and going door-to-door for "Trick or Treat." Hallowe'en (Oct. 31st) was the night when some schools held costume parties for kids.

In parts of Vermont, in the 1970s at least, Beggars' Night (Oct. 30th) was the night for playing tricks. The next night, Hallowe'en, was for begging for treats.

In Seabrook, New Hampshire, Beggar's Night is observed, however, they ask that parents and children use caution.[9]

In 1993 residents of Candlelight Plaza, a small neighborhood north of the 610 Loop in Houston, Texas, decided that it no longer wanted to pass out candy to kids who lived outside their neighborhood. They moved trick or treat to October 30th, and turned out lights on the 31st as the children so used to their generosity, and looking for a safe place to trick or treat, came through. Today, as the average age of the residents has decreased, more and more people are participating in trick or treat on Halloween by generously handing out candy to the few who wander through. However the majority of the residents (and many of those in an adjacent neighborhood of similar socioeconomic status) continue to send their children out on the 30th and keep them home on the 31st. No person who enters is denied participation on the 30th, but some residents still believe it is a private party whose details should only be shared with those personally known by the residents. Some have classified this as a Beggars Night, however unlike others, this was not created or promoted by a municipality.

In general, Beggars Night represents the "treat" portion of Trick or Treat[citation needed], where children in costume make evening rounds of homes (and to a lesser extent to businesses during the day) and are given candy[citation needed]. This event being closely tied to, but distinct from, Halloween itself, when various forms of mischief (or "tricks") may occur.

The night has often been scheduled by municipal governments on a date prior to the actual Halloween date of October 31.[10][11][12]

In popular culture

  • On the week of October 27, 2014, General Hospital, had some of the children that play children on the television show going around asking for treats on Beggars Night. [13][14]

See also


  1. ^ "Beggars Night". Lawyer, Guns, & Money. October 22, 2013. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  2. ^ Delaney, Patrick (October 31, 2014). "Kaisertown Beggars' Night". Time Warner News. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  3. ^ Challender, Mary (October 30, 2014). "Jokes set local Halloween apart". Des Moines Register. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  4. ^ "Halloween Is More Funny Than Scary In St. Louis". NPR. October 31, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  5. ^ "To treat, or not to treat, on Oct. 31". The Columbus Disptach. October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  6. ^ Thompson, Mike (October 29, 2009). "Beggars Night – Socialism Run Amock". WOSU Public Media. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  7. ^ Williams, Joe (October 24, 2012). "Some Licking County cities, villages pick different dates for Beggars Night". Newark Advocate. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Keep Your Kids Safe This Halloween". Hampton-North Hampton Patch. October 3, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  10. ^ "2014 Beggar's Nights". Active Dayton. October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  11. ^ Brogan, Thomas (September 27, 2014). "2014 Beggars' Night in Central Iowa". Des Moines Parent.
  12. ^ Linh Ta, (October 29, 2014). "Beggar's Night schdule for metro". The Des Moins Register. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  13. ^ "In today's episode all the kids are celebrating beggar's night, Franco and Scotty have a father/son moment and Sonny reaches out to Carly!". General Hospital Daily Dish. October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  14. ^ "GENERAL HOSPITAL - DAILY UPDATES". Soaps She Knows. October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
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