52 weeks with Carolyn

A Theme Based Photo Blog

Week 13 #Masked


With Halloween approaching I thought it appropriate for me to include a little history into the tradition of Beggars’ Night in Des Moines, Iowa along with my photos. Back in the late 1930’s a woman by the name of Kathryn Krieg, who was director of recreation for the Des Moines Playground Commission working with the local police department set aside October 30 as Beggars’ Night. The police and Ms. Krieg hoped by doing so it would cut down on the numerous calls and arrests of children and youth who used Halloween as a reason to be mischievous and go on damage sprees. Beggars’ night would be on October 30, the night before Halloween. On that night children were allowed to go door to door and say the phrase “trick for eats”. Treats would only be issued if such a “trick as a song, a poem, a stunt or a musical number, either solo or in a group, is presented”. Over the years fewer and fewer arrests were made as Beggars’ night became more popular and eventually the term “trick or treat” came into existence. Children were still not to be given candy until they earned it “with a stunt, song or riddle”. By the time my young family moved back to Iowa and settled in Des Moines in the late 1970’s, children had adapted the tradition to only telling a riddle.

For some reason along the years I began to assume many communities across the country followed this same long standing tradition. After we moved to Oklahoma and my daughter to Colorado, I discovered that was not the case. Children actually trick or treated on Halloween day and many of them don’t even say “trick or treat” just thrust their over filled bags at you for their obligatory piece of candy. About the only enjoyment I get out of it now is seeing the creative costumes! I can’t tell you how many times I heard the joke “Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side!” I always played dumb so you could see the enjoyment on the children’s faces when they responded with the answer. What fun it was!

I’ll close with a silly joke, hope it makes you smile and maybe chuckle. “If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? Pilgrims ” IMG_3207




Author: CarolynEliason

I have always enjoyed photography, but with encouragemet from family and friends over the past several years I began to realize I really love it! Belonging to this blog and a local digital photo group has challenged me to look at the beauty of the world and to enjoy capturing it with my camera.

16 thoughts on “Week 13 #Masked

  1. I enjoyed reading this! Thanks, Deanna

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Carolyn for the pictures and the interesting comment. I too remember with fondness the Beggars’ Nights in Iowa. Both Andrew and Sarah loved the jokes or riddles and they worked hard before the 30th to come up with a good one and then practice until they had it right! I remember the first Halloween in our new house and Andrew was too young to go out and Sarah was an infant. When I answered the door, I started to hand out the candy, the kids said, in very disappointed voices, “Don’t you want to hear my riddle?” I knew then, we were going enjoy living in Iowa!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting. Growing up in Florida, I had never heard of Beggars’ Night, but it sounds like it was pretty fun. Unlike today when the kids just expect you to give them a treat.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Growing up in New England, I never heard of Beggar’s night. We had Halloween followed by All Soul’s night – walk with candles to and into the cemetery in remembrance of all the lost souls. It was quite a sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting. I have never heard of Beggar’s Night or All Soul’s Night. Funny how traditions change with each generation.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great story. I had never heard of Beggar’s Night. And very creative with your Masked theme! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I learn something every time I read this blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great history. As everyone else, I too, never heard of beggars night. Back home in NY we just did Trick or Treat on Halloween. However, on Thanksgiving, we used to dress up as a poor or homeless person and go door to door asking for “Alms for the poor” and most persons would gives us nuts or fruit.

    Your mask pictures are great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks George! I got so carried away with my background info about Beggars’ night I didn’t even say anything about the masks! They were hanging amongst other Halloween items in a grocery store. 👹


  9. This was a very interesting read. I had never heard of Beggar’s Night. I will admit to a few tricks while growing up! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too Julie! In fact on Halloween night in my small Iowa town where I grew up we called that night “Damage Night”. Tradition was if you didn’t like the treat you got the night before you would go back the next night and do a little damage, like soap their windows or throw husked corn kernels at their windows to scare them. All in pure fun, but now we would probably get arrested!


  10. Interesting history of your hometown Halloween celebrations — good pics of some masks.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. that sounds like fun. In NJ, the night before halloween was mischief night and kids did things like soap windows, TP tress, throw eggs. Halloween was for trick or treat.
    I like your masks and love your header.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great masks. Thank you for the information about ‘trick or treat’. We were talking about the origins of it this year. I was born in Scotland and we did something call “Guysing” which I think must have been linked to Guy Fawkes celebrations on 5 Nov. We dressed up and went knocking on doors. We were invited in and had to sing a song, tell a story etc and then were given a sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Very interesting read and incredible masks. I love the history behind it. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  14. Thank you for that. Scary masks! I remember singing songs after ringing the doorbells! Long time ago!


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