The flash point came on Halloween in 1938 when Des Moines police answered a record 550 calls concerning vandalism. Krieg, along with the Community Chest’ group work council, began a campaign to encourage less violent forms of Halloween fun.
They set aside Oct. 30 as Beggars’ Night and got the word out to the public that on that night – and only that night – children would be allowed to go from door to door and say the phrase “tricks for eats.” The council urged that “eats should be given only if such a ‘trick’ as a song, a poem, a stunt or a musical number, either solo or in group participation, is presented.”
The next year, the group work council again promoted the Beggars’ Night concept, this time as a way to aid the war effort. An article published in The Des Moines Register on Oct. 29, 1942, carried the headline “Kids! -Don’t Help the Axis on Halloween” and included this poem encouraging proper behavior:
“Soap and ticktacks are taboo,
Ringing doorbells? Not for you.
Thoughts of pranks, you must detour,
Lest you bet a saboteur.”
The Beggars’ Night program was so successful that by the mid-1940’s, the number of Halloween police calls in Des Moines had been cut by more than half.
I suppose it’s a rational and pragmatic decision. I still agree with my new friend, Emily:
Waverly does trick-or-treat night not on the actual Halloween. I think it is because they are scared of the creepers on the actual night. But WavTown- I’ve got some bad news. In making it publicly known to all the little children that tonight is candy party central, the creepers found out too. The last time I checked, creepers had pretty flexible schedules.