Beggars Night, or more properly Beggars' Night, is a regional term for the Halloween-related activity that is referred to in most parts of the United States as "Trick or Treat". Specifically, the term is broadly but not exclusively used in Ohio, and in many parts of Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and western New York.
In the Buffalo area Beggar's Night is October 30 and is a scaled down version of Halloween itself, with children seeing if they can squeeze an extra night of candy out of the holiday. In the Des Moines Metro Area during Beggar's Night, children ring doorbells, say "Trick or Treat" then tell riddles or jokes such as "Why didn't the skeleton cross the road? He didn't have any guts!" Homeowners will groan and laugh, then give out treats.
In general, Beggars Night represents the "treat" portion of Trick or Treat, where children in costume make evening rounds of homes (and to a lesser extent to businesses during the day) and are given candy. This event being closely tied to, but distinct from, Halloween itself, when various forms of mischief (or "tricks") may occur. (See also Mischief Night.)
The night has often been scheduled by municipal governments on a date prior to the actual Halloween date of October 31.
- The Des Moines Register, "Jokes set local Halloween apart" originally published October 2000
- Newspaper article on Beggars Night in Seabrook, New Hampshire
- The Advocate (Newark, Ohio) 2012 story on variation of dates for local Beggars Night
- Columbus Dispatch 2011 story on Beggars Night history
- WOSU-TV blogger's reference to unfamiliarity of Beggars' Night concept to those not native to central Ohio
- Des Moines Register article on Beggars Night