Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween let down

Halloween in Des Moines is straight up bizarre. There are very set times for trick or treating and they almost never fall on actual Halloween. They call it Beggars' Night and it looks like this:
  • It's almost never on actual Halloween, which is a definite buzzkill. For us, it was last night.
  • Sanctioned trick or treating lasts from 6-8pm ONLY. No surprise high schoolers in masks at 10:00 'round these parts. 
  • Kids expect to tell jokes. (Really, this one doesn't bother me because I remember always having a joke ready for those few stubborn old folks who wouldn't give me a Reese's without hearing a lame knock-knock joke first)
No matter how long I've been here or how much I flat-out love this place, nothing about Beggars' Night will ever make sense to me. 

Add to this cultural conundrum the fact that I live on what I can only assume is the least fun street in the entire city. It's a long, long block and I can see about seven houses in either direction. You know how many had our lights on last night? Three. Three measly little houses catering to just seven groups of kids.

Bah humbug, Des Moines!

Here at Bigger, Better, Best, we refuse to go down without a fight and we shall keep our Halloween humor til the last.

 28.5% of the kids who came to out door declared a definite desire to say hi to the kitties, which was not met with matched enthusiasm by the cats.
Our jacks!

 We made spooky scene with a giant spider and paper bats that flew around on fishing line. They looked pretty awesome in the wind, but where tough to capture in pictures.

Dracula showing off his teeth.

I've got to know: Is your Des Moines neighborhood so lonely at Halloween? Out-of-towners: can I sell you 7 lbs of candy for real cheap?


  1. S.W.Scott in Ankeny was hoping with kids of all sizes. Fizzled out early though, around 7:30.

  2. Grimes got lucky and was an actual Halloween night beggars night tonight. I'm from Chicago originally and our trick or treating was always ON halloween night and there weren't hours. You just went. I've never really understood the reasoning behind making the kids around here go on a night other than halloween? Does anyone know the rationale?

  3. This made me laugh!! I have lived most of my life in Des Moines, but the few years I was away I realized that DSM is very... unique.

    Growing up our street was like yours, we always went to my grandmas neighborhood to trick or treat because there were more porch lights on and more kids!

  4. The tradition of Beggar's Night began in the 1930's in DSM. It was started by a local group of women who didn't want their kids out on Halloween night because of the vandalism and other issues associated with Halloween back then. Ergo, the mothers put together a set time before the local governments and thus Beggar's Night was born. As for the jokes, I have no idea why that's unique to our city... I guess we're all just awesome that way.

  5. I had two trick or treaters...count that...two. Sad Indeedy


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