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Halloween is fast approaching and Des Moines residents are starting to think about Beggars’ Night. Over 148 million adults will participate in Halloween activities this year, with 23% taking part in trick or treating. These numbers are down from last year, showing that residents may be considering staying indoors in 2020. With a vaccine yet to be produced and guidelines stating to stay indoors where possible, many are wondering whether Beggars’ Night will go ahead. What is the latest on trick or treating in Iowa and what are some alternative ways to celebrate Halloween this year?

What Is Beggars’ Night?

Beggars’ Night is a term for trick or treating used in Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Wisconsin, among other states. It allows younger children to trick or treat on a different evening from Halloween, usually from 6-8pm and in the presence of an adult. The original idea was to avoid younger children mixing with older kids who may be taking part in more adult-appropriate activities. The aim is to keep children safe while going door to door in Halloween costumes. The tradition gained momentum in the 1950’s and is often held on October 30th, while various costume parties and adult Halloween activities are held on October 31st. Kids tell a joke, sing a song or perform a ‘trick’ in return for candy as part of the festivities.

Safety Tips For Beggars’ Night

The latest updates suggest that it is the choice of the individual whether to take part in Beggars’ Night or other Halloween activities. However, there are still some safety guidelines to consider before taking young children door to door. This year, members of the community have been advised to leave treats in a bowl or container outside the door or make grab bags for children to take away. It is advised to remain a six-feet distance when visiting community members who answer their doors. Regular safety tips apply including planning a route and ensuring that children do not enter strangers’ homes.

Staying At Home This Halloween

Many Iowa residents are considering staying at home this year. Last year, haunted houses brought in $10,000 in one district of Iowa, but many are staying closed in 2020. Families can create their own haunted houses at home as an alternative option. Communities can also hold costume competitions with residents in the area, keeping a safe distance. Pumpkin decorating with neighbors or friends in the garden can also be a fun way to spend Halloween at home, particularly for children. Create a spooky atmosphere by adding some traditional crackling candles to the finished product. A fun scavenger hunt across the local community can be an alternative way for kids to see the decorated houses while keeping a distance from neighbors.

As Beggars’ Night approaches, it is advised to check local guidance before heading out for Halloween and to follow CDC and government advice ensuring that the community stays safe.