Halloween history: Joke telling tradition confuses St. Louisans

Riley Mullgardt
Print Editor

Preschool trick or treaters haunt the high school’s halls on Oct. 30, 2014. Photo from ECHO archives

“Why are ghosts so bad at lying? You can see right through them!”

“Wait, jokes are only in St. Louis? Are you kidding me? It’s called TRICK or treating,” senior Julia Ross said.

All over the U.S. children are just handed candy for wearing a costume, but not in St. Louis.

Here, children must say a joke or perform something in order to get candy.

The start of this tradition is unknown, but the motive is very clear: to prevent violent things from happening. This idea of making children say jokes in order to get candy so that no violent pranks were pulled was deemed successful and is still a tradition today. The jokes didn’t have to be scary; in fact, they’re mostly funny.

Some of the ECHO staffers’ favorites are  “What was the most important class for the witch? SPELLING.” “Who did Frankenstein take to the dance? His GHOULfriend.” “What goes around a haunted house and never stops? A fence.” “Why are ghost good cheerleaders? They have a lot of spirit.”

This whacky tradition shocks some people from St. Louis, but it also shocks people who live in different places. The idea of having to work for candy upsets people. It is supposed to be a fun holiday, not a time for children to work.
Meanwhile, people in St. Louis think it is weird NOT to tell jokes.

“They just get candy for wearing a costume? That’s so boring,” senior Caroline Mund said.

“I’m going to make my kids tell jokes in my neighborhood when I grow up,” Ross said.


See Also: Teachers share Halloween memories

See Also: Students, teachers weigh in on age old question

See Also: Students, staff discuss Halloween costumes


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