Why does Des Moines have their own conventions for Halloween?


Joe Kronberg, Staff Writer

If you’ve grown up in the Des Moines area, you’ve probably grown accustomed to Beggar’s Night and telling jokes in order to receive candy.

I however, grew up in Illinois, where on Halloween night a simple “Trick-or-Treat” would be more than sufficient for full sized candy bars.

I moved from the Quad Cities when I was becoming a sophomore, with Halloween being one of my favorite holidays, and with many of my friends living in Davenport I’d be disappointed when I wouldn’t be able to go with them.

When I moved here however, I found it to be somewhat odd that no one celebrated Halloween on the actual night.

I’d ask my friends and they’d either respond with, “I thought everywhere was like that,” or “It must be an Iowa thing.” But having celebrated just across the river it didn’t seem to be the case.

My mother however, who grew up for a lot of her life in the area, but spending a lot of time traveling because her father was in the military, just simply explained it was something that Des Moines and the surrounding areas did.

“I don’t participate in Beggar’s Night,” said Chantelle Foster, ’19, “It makes sense to actually do it on Halloween because  that’s the holiday. Why do we have to have a separate day for literally just handing out candy?”

It’s not like it’s a huge deal or it bothers me too terribly around the holiday, but I just don’t understand why things are different around here.

It could just simply in hopes of no one being TP’d, but I’d argue that the problem could be bigger by doing that.

“I heard stories about vandalism and bad things happening,” said Foster, “So I guess it makes sense because they want to keep the children safe and everything, but people will always go out and do whatever whenever they want to.”

If on Halloween, hundreds of people are walking around neighborhoods, it’s less likely for any sort of vandalism to be performed, because it’s unlikely that a group of edgy teens would risk getting caught with so many people around. Plus I feel like doing it on Beggar’s Night or November 1st would take away the thrill.

“I feel like having a specific night for children walking around will just have all the creepy people sitting in their vans,” said Foster, “It doesn’t seem necessary or safe.”

Of course it could be a tradition as well, but would anyone be heartbroken if we Trick-or-Treated on actual Halloween or didn’t do the jokes? It doesn’t seem like it matters to anyone anyways, so why not just change the night?