Iowa has a unique Halloween tradition: joke-telling. It’s unheard of in other areas of the country, but on Beggar’s Night, costumed kids going door-to-door in many parts of Iowa are usually asked to tell a joke in order to earn their treat. University of Missouri anthropologist Ken Erickson researches Halloween customs. He says all cultures have such rituals.Erickson says it’s a cool tradition, and may be the “nice” Midwestern version of Halloween.Erickson says it’s common to have a holiday in which kids do tricks and ask for treats.Erickson may send some grad students to Iowa on Beggar’s Night to research our “joke telling” tradition.
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