beggars’ night n
A night on which children dress up in costumes and go door to door asking for candy or other treats, associated with:
a Halloween or one or more days in the preceding week. scattered Nth, N Midl, but esp OH, IA
1924 Eve. Democrat (Ft. Madison IA) 31 Oct 8/2, Last night was beggar’s night. The night before was picket night. But all these are preliminary—and mild too—tonight, the night of all nocturnal prank festivities. 1933 Ibid 27 Oct /5 (newspaperarchive.com), It used to be that beggars’ night was staged the night before Hallowe’en. Now the practice is engaged in a week previous to the big event. Many folk are growing tired of having to go to the door 15 or 20 times a night to hear the request from grotesque figures: “We want something to eat.” 1936 Piqua Daily Call (OH) 15 Oct 4/7, If the kids would get organized and pick on one particular date for their Beggar’s Night, we could brace ourselves for the onslaught, lay in a supply of pennies, cookies or whatever it is they seek and endure it. 1946 Billboard 9 Nov 51Des Moines IA, Disappointing attendance Wednesday and Thursday were attributed to Beggars’ Night and Halloween respectively. Ibid 16 Nov 81 Columbus OH, All of the pitch lads here did okay with Halloween novelties despite the fact that it rained that night and on Beggars’ Night the day before. 1955 Courier–Crescent (Orrville OH) 27 Oct 1/3, “Ordinarily, as I suppose everyone knows, Beggars’ Night is the night before Halloween,” Mr. Sollenberger said. “But because it seems improper to go begging on Sunday, we believe that the best solution is to combine Halloween and Beggars’ Night this year.” 1962 Daily Sikeston Std. (MO) 11 Sept 2/1, We hope that Mayor Dudley does everybody a favor by declaring Wednesday, October 31 as the one, the only and the official “Beggar’s Night” for Sikeston. 1968 DARE Tape WI13, But now, this idea of going door to door, this Beggars’ night—that is an importation from somewhere, I don’t know where. 1969 DARE FW Addit OH, “Beggars’ Night, how ’bout a bite?”—said on Beggars’ Night (night before Halloween) to people by children who are “begging.” 1977 Fond du Lac Reporter (WI) 22 Oct 5/2, The party is planned for the afternoon of Sunday Oct 30—the same afternoon Mayor Henry Maier has designated as the time for traditional trick or treat or beggar’s night activities in the city [=Milwaukee]. 1994 DARE File Cleveland OH (as of 1950s), We had Beggar’s night on Oct. 30. We had the option of going out on Beggar’s night and/or Halloween. On Beggar’s night we said “Please help the poor.” On Halloween we said “Trick or Treat.” 2010 in 2015 DARE File—Internet MD, I remember Beggars’ Night when I lived in MD! When we went out the day before the official Halloween Trick or Treat day. 2011 Ibid seNH, “Beggar’s Night”, is New Hampshire’s equivalent to Halloween Night here in Maine. Children trick or treat the night before Halloween- dubbed “Beggar’s Night”. 2012 Buffalo News (NY) 27 Oct (Internet), The East Side neighborhood [=Kaisertown] has historically held trick-or-treating on Beggars’ Night, Oct. 30, and Halloween night had been reserved for a parade. 2015 DARE File—Internet OH, Beggars Night. . . Worthington City Council approved a policy that schedules Beggars Night in Worthington on Halloween, October 31st each year, no matter what day Halloween falls on. Many communities in central Ohio, including Columbus, are following a different schedule with Beggars Night taking place on Thursday, October 29th in 2015.
b also beggar night: The evening before Thanksgiving. seNH, neMA
1909 Portsmouth Herald (NH) 19 Oct 1/6, The young folks are already beginning to talk of what they will be able to have in the way of sport on “beggars’ night” Nov. 24. 1938 FWP Guide New Hampshire 117, In Portsmouth . . on Thanksgiving eve children go from door to door with bags and carts crying “Give us something—this is beggar’s night”—and are seldom refused. 1944 AN&Q 4.87/2 Newbury MA, I should like some information on the custom of Beggars’ Night, which in this region takes place on the eve of Thanksgiving. Children dress up in old clothes and, armed with large paper bags, they tour the neighborhoods, begging for candy, cookies, and other delicacies. Apparently this is not a nation-wide custom. In fact, within a few miles of Newburyport it is not observed; and in other parts Beggars’ night comes at Halloween. [Ibid 4.109/2 NYC, Beggar’s Night. On Thanksgiving Day (not Eve) children in New York City still beg for food and money. They are masked and rigged out in “grown-ups” clothing, and they plant themselves at strategic spots, often at some of the busiest street corners.] 1955 Portsmouth Herald (NH) 8 Oct 8/6, Mrs. Feaster believes Portsmouth children won’t be losing anything by giving up Halloween for “this humanitarian purpose” [=collecting for UNICEF].They will still have . . “Beggar Night” on the eve of Thanksgiving Day for their candy and cake.