Beggars Night

Beggars Night, or more properly Beggars' Night, is a regional term for the Halloween-related activity that is referred to in most parts of the United States as "Trick or Treat". 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 "Why didn't the skeleton cross the road? He didn't have any guts!" 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]

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.[8]

In general, Beggars Night represents the "treat" portion of Trick or Treat, where children in costume make evening rounds of homes (and to a lesser extent to businesses during the day) and are given candy. 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.[9][10][11]

In Popular Culture

See also

Mischief Night


  1. "Beggars Night". Lawyers, 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. "Keep Your Kids Safe This Halloween". Hampton-North Hampton Patch. October 3, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  9. "2014 Beggar's Nights". Active Dayton. October 30, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  10. Brogan, Thomas (September 27, 2014). "2014 Beggars' Night in Central Iowa". Des Moines Parent.
  11. Linh Ta, (October 29, 2014). "Beggar's Night schdule for metro". The Des Moins Register. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
  12. "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.
  13. "GENERAL HOSPITAL - DAILY UPDATES". Soaps She Knows. October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
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