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St. Louis’ Halloween joke tradition is still adorable

St. Louis children go trick-or-treating armed with funny jokes to deliver.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis children go trick-or-treating armed with funny jokes to deliver.

As a newcomer to the region who has never once heard of working for your Halloween candy with a joke, I find the St. Louis tradition endlessly charming — even after the 15th “What is a ghost’s favorite food? Booberries.”

The tradition of jokes isn’t just a St. Louis thing. It is said to have started in Depression-era Des Moines, Iowa, to tamp down on tomfoolery. It ran on the logic that if you distracted children with the task of coming up with a joke in exchange for their candy, they might decide not to smash the pumpkins on your porch.

While so many of the jokes I heard from the throngs of children walking around Tower Grove East were the classic spooky monster-themed fodder, some said more about what’s going on in the world. I heard a surprising number of election-related jokes.

There was this one: “Where do polar bears go to vote? The South Pole” — and the less-joke more-commentary, “Where’s Donald Trump never going to live? The White House.”

No matter how you feel about the upcoming election, to have 6- and 10-year-olds talking about the electoral process during their evening of sugar hazed bliss is sort of heartening.

Follow Jenny on Twitter @jnnsmn 

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