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

Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2016 09:14 am
Sma9toes lived near Denby high. Where there were small little "ponds" with polliwogs. I was too young to catch any (5,6) so said older brothers Bob, Bill. We called it northeast Detroit.
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Reply Sun 30 Oct, 2016 06:52 pm
Welcome mbc2run, Voodes, and Sma9toes, to the dwindling ranks of the poor beggars. Every year we get a couple of ex-Michiganders who've spent years hearing " You did WHAT?" from their non Detroit-area friends, and getting looks out of the corner of their eyes from them. Yes, we did it. Yes, we had a great time, yes we got sick to our stomachs from the popcorn-and0Karo-syrup balls. And yes it was all worth it. Best Halloweens ever. Glad you did it too.

I'd talked to my sister in NYC about it, and she remembered our move to New Jersey and the kids there
s unbelief the first time she went out trick or treating, which was a weird custom for her. I don't think I'd ever hears of eggins a house, or soaping windows, or TPing the neighbor's trees til we moved there.

She sent me an email about the NYC custom she'd seen iun the Times, dating back to the 1870's. which was poppular through the 50s at least, and may still have some survivals in the outer boroughs, or did at least into the 70s, has some similarities. Kids on Thanksgiving or the day before would dress up in raggedy old clothes (mostly) or some other similar costume and go"begging", as the Times called it, going door to door in their neighborhoods, asking "Anything for Thanksgiving?" and getting pennies, or oranges or walnuts, and carry them home in old pillowcases. Adults thought it was undignified and vilified it, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV had a hand in killing it off, but Apparently older Times readers still remember it fondly, according to the comments in the Times archive section. . Different chant, different origins apparently, same swag. It was "Ragamuffin Day" in NY, seems to havbe migrated to Oct. 31. Happy Halloween, Help the Poor.
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Reply Tue 1 Nov, 2016 08:08 am
I have been asking everyone I work with , how come you never say help the poor. No one here ever heard that before. For about 10 years I remember shouting that out as a child and even when I took my children out on Halloween, I was teaching them to say "Help the poor" It was when they were about 10 years old, back in the late 70's, did we start saying trick or treat. They wanted to say what their friends were saying. So I was born and raised in Detroit and my parents were Polish, and German. They told me that only poor people should go out and beg for food or candy..and in those days we got apples and oranges and food. My parents were WW2 era people and dad was in WW2 under patton. Maybe this had something to do with it as Detroit was filled with WW2 vets and so many of the factories had to make war vehicles. Anywa, I thought I would share that with you
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Reply Tue 1 Nov, 2016 03:01 pm
Add one more former Detroiter (NW of the city actually: Walled Lake) who grew up saying "Help the poor!" on Hallowe'en. I would have been "begging" (as we called it) from the late 40s to the early 50s (I was born in '42). And, like so many in this thread, I have had the odd looks from people from everywhere else when I mention this custom, and I'm delighted to have my memories confirmed by so many others. (At my age, one begins to doubt some of one's own memories unless others remember then too!)
Reply Tue 1 Nov, 2016 04:10 pm
I fully trust my own memories. The rest of you are nuts.

Welcome to a2k, by the way.
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