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help the poor

help the poor exclam sMI
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1971 DARE File Detroit MI, Help the poor!—Expression used on Halloween by children instead of “trick or treat.” 1988 Detroit Free Press (MI) 3 Nov sec D 16/1, My brothers and I spent most of Halloween evening doing the soft shoe for small change in smoky neighborhood beer gardens instead of going door-to-door asking poor neighbors to “help the poor!” 1988 NADS Letters seMI, “Help the poor” is used by Detroit-area children when they go begging on Halloween. My mother and father (aged 70 and 69 . . ) report that the term was current when they were growing up in . . the city. . . My parents . . tell me that usage is now split between “help the poor” and “trick or treat.” Ibid csMI, Several students in class knew the term [=Help the poor]. They were all from Detroit and surrounding suburbs. However, none use it. It appears to be last used among their parents, i.e., 40–60 year olds. It seems to be associated with the term “begging” which some of the students still use, that is, they go out “begging” on Halloween, but when they knock on the door, they say “trick or treat” instead of “help the poor.”
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