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Here’s why kids in St. Louis tell jokes on Halloween

It dates back to Irish culture in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — The countdown to Halloween is on.

It’s just six days away, which means all the little ghouls and goblins are preparing their jokes.

But joke-telling on Halloween is just a St. Louis thing – much like gooey butter cake or Imo’s pizza.

Kids around here don’t simply say, ‘trick-or-treat’ for their Halloween night sweets, they have to work for it!

And it’s something that out of towners are often left asking, why?

Doctor John Oldani, author of “St. Lou-isms,” said it dates back to Irish culture in St. Louis.

He said it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what year it all started, but it could go back a century.

RELATED: Spooky St. Louis: Exploring the haunted history of our town

Oldani said during one festival in Ireland, people would dress up so no one could recognize them and go to houses asking for something to keep an evil entity away.

To get it, you had to recite a poem or tell a joke.

You would get a gift for your talents, then you’d give it to the entity to keep them away.

Fast forward to today – you walk up to your neighbor’s door and give your best joke, in return for a treat.

Although these days, you get to keep what you earn!


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