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Did you say "trick or treat" or "help the poor"?

 
 
Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2009 02:16 pm

when I was a kid growing up outside of Detroit, we'd go "begging" on Halloween, and call out "Help the poor" rather than "trick or treat" to get the candy (the "poor" was us, not a starving kid in India). The only online mentions I see come from the Detroit area. Did anyone else somewhere else say "help the poor"? Any ideas why we might have?
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2009 02:19 pm
@MontereyJack,
I grew up in the suburbs.

Maybe that was a regional or city or local neigborhood thing? Or a family inside joke that was never explained to you. I've never heard of it as a movement or a real world meme.

0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  3  
Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2009 02:25 pm
stepan, it wasn't just a family thing, but definitely all the suburban town, and judging from online comments, also in Detroit itself (tho they apparently did and still do call it "Devil's night", which we didn't). Everybody who grew up in the "trick or treat" world looks at me funny when I mention this (I hadn't thought of it in thirty years or so, until last year, when for some reason I remembered that we'd done it differently)
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2009 02:29 pm
@MontereyJack,
somebody called the Ron & Fez Show (Sirius/XM) on Friday and mentioned begging night, i think they were from Detroit

Ron who's from Philly had never heard of it, and neither had Fez, who's from Florida
High Seas
 
  3  
Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2009 02:37 pm
@MontereyJack,
Jack, it was a Detroit area phrase no longer in use according to this source:
http://books.google.com/books?id=vAr2T4Bh7nkC&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Searches can't be posted directly, enter "detroit" into search box, the go to page 967 to find the result.
High Seas
 
  3  
Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2009 02:43 pm
@High Seas,
PS it's a dynamic search engine
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  2  
Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2009 05:28 pm
Interesting about the Detroit area variation.
As a lad, I grew up in Alexandria, VA, which was a close-in suburb to D.C. There were a 100 or 200 houses in the nice, hilly neighborhood known as Beverly Hills. A lot of military brass and diplomats. In fact, my folks bought 3307 Carolina Place from a guy who had just been defeated in his re-election bid to the House from CA. The guy who beat him was Richard Nixon.
There was no formal neighborhood association that I was aware of. Things, like clearing snow out of driveways and sidewalks just got done. The big 4th of July (totally illegal) fireworks display was organized by an informal group of people.
I digress. Trick or Treating. There were a lot of kids there in the early to mid-50's.
Somehow, an informal rule was developed. Costumes and trick or treating for candy ended when kids reached the age of 13 (10 in our family). Older kids could chaparone, sans elaborate costumes, but only collected spare change for something like the U.N. Feed the Children program.
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McTag
 
  3  
Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2009 05:42 pm
I come from Scotland. "Trick or treat" is an American thing from older German custom I think, but it's catching on here now unfortunately.

We used to say "Please help the Gloshans" which has Celtic, pre-christian pagan origins.
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farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 04:46 am
We used to say:
"What's it gonna be, some candy or soap on yer windows"
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jimed
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 11:35 am
@MontereyJack,
I've long wondered if I'm the only one who remembered Begging on Halloween, and calling Help the Poor. This was in the days of Soupy and before our once wonderful Detroit became plagued by Devils Nights.
clg
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2009 03:13 pm
@MontereyJack,
I also grew up outside of Detroit (Allen Park) and we used to say "Help the Poor" also. This was during the 50's, 60's. None of my friends from other areas, including Detroit proper, ever heard of the expression.
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MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 06:52 am
I guess it is just those of us who grew up around Detroit who used to say it. Doesn't seem to be familiar to anyone else. I didn't realize it really was just so local--always thought there must be other people somewhere who said it too. Guess not.I wonder if there are any connections to any of the old English customs like wassailing or Guy Fawkes day or St. Stephens Day, where people went round soliciting food or drink or "a penny for the Guy", often proclaiming their poverty?. What are Gloshans, McT?
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 07:25 am
@djjd62,
Yeah, Ohio has "Beggar's Night" -- which is not always on Halloween!! And to make things more complicated, different areas have different days designated as "Beggar's Night." I know some people who went to three different Beggars' Nights in three different areas on three different nights this year.

As far as I know, Ohioans say "trick or treat" (when they say anything), though.
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McTag
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 07:46 am
@MontereyJack,

Quote:
I wonder if there are any connections to any of the old English customs like wassailing or ......


Of course. Many connections.

Quote:
What are Gloshans, McT?


That's not so easy to answer (not that I provided a satisfactory answer above) but there was a pagan god in the Celtic tradition called Goloshan.
He was killed in the autumn by **** and was brought back to life, in effigy, in an annual ceremony. It's the old overwinter survival/ John Barleycorn/ evergreen plants folklore from the misty prehistory of the northern European peoples.

You can google the heck out of all of that: here's a fragment

Quote:
This is the court of the Goloshan, the summer king with his retinue of performers, animal headed mummers and musicians. They claim Parliament Square as their own, transforming the space into a scene of merriment and rejoicing - not unlike after the Beltane procession reaches the bower!

Meanwhile, up near the Castle, the Cailleach and her own entourage gathers. This is a more sinister mob, bringing with them the dark energy of winter. With them is the Holly Lord, the Cailleach's consort and the winter aspect of the Green Man.

When the procession arrives at Parliament Square, the Cailleach's cohots run riot and break up festivities. The Holly Lord confronts the Goloshan and the two do battle with swords. The Goloshan is slain and the Holly Lord proclaimed victor. He then realises what he has done and bids the Cailleach to restore the fallen Goloshan, otherwise the continuity of the seasons will be broken. Following the resurrection of the Goloshan, there is much frenzied drumming and screaming as the Cailleach begins her reign and finally reveals her true self.

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McTag
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 07:58 am

Here's another bit :

Quote:
The Summer King will be supported by colourful and cheerful dancers, musicians and acrobats, dressed in bright yellows and greens to represent the freshness of summer, while the Winter King will have the support of the wild hunt " the dark forces who will overwhelm the Summer King " in the reenactment of the ancient Goloshan Play.

Drummers, hunters and stilt-walkers dressed as crows and wolves, among other predatory animals, will assist the Winter King during the battle of wooden sticks, while fire performers from both sides also take part in the battle.

The Cailleach, who embodies the Winter aspect, will wear a cloak throughout the procession, before an exciting unveiling at the end of the spectacle.

The event, which features a 150-strong cast, is organised by the Beltane Fire Society, who also hold celebrations on Calton Hill to mark the arrival of Spring.

Society spokeswoman Padmini Ray Murray said: "At the heart of Samhuinn is the battle between dark and light, and winter and summer. The story is the same from year to year and we know that Winter wins the battle, but there are different spins put on the narrative every year.


The festival is believed to be based on pagan celebrations which predate the Celtic culture. As well as the passing of seasons, it marks the night of the dead, when spirits of the departed pay their last visit to earth



Quite far removed from a children's amusement, originally, wasn't it?
0 Replies
 
Elderflower
 
  2  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 11:42 am
So I didn't make it up! Until this evening I've never heard anybody say that they remembered "begging" or "Help the poor"! I, too, grew up in Detroit (in several different areas) and even friends with whom I grew up there have said that they've never heard of it! I'd love to know its origins!
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MontereyJack
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Nov, 2009 11:46 pm
Welcome to the Beggars' Guild, Elderflower.
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Nov, 2009 12:06 am
My Irish mother always called it begging. Then again, she didn't go Halloweening(?) as a child, so this was a new thing to her.
In Newfoundland they have Mummers nights, not sure if it's on Halloween or not. But they dress up and visit homes and there is much alcohol to be had.
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ruthhun ter5
 
  2  
Reply Wed 20 Oct, 2010 06:57 pm
@MontereyJack,
I grew up Downriver from Detroit (Trenton). We always said "Please help the poor! Please help the poor!" In the mid 50's the younger children in our group wanted to go Trick or Treating (I'm guessing because of the influence of TV ads by then)>
We started Begging at one house and Trick or Treating at the next. So glad others remember this. :-)
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McTag
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Oct, 2010 02:54 am
@MontereyJack,
We used to say (1940s, in Glasgow, Scotland) "Please help the Gloshans"

I found out much later that Goloshan was a Pagan deity.

But don't ask me why we said that.

whoops, (EDIT) I see I've been here before.
 

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