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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Here are the trick-or-treating details for Beggars' Night in central Iowa

The CDC has offered health guidance for Halloween this year, including wearing masks and staying home if you feel sick.

DES MOINES, Iowa — With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing into the fall, that means Halloween plans will look very different from years' past. 

From sanitation to avoiding large gatherings, here's what you need to know about trick-or-treating in Iowa, plus what individual cities are planning for Beggars' Night.

A quick history of Beggar's Night in Iowa:

According to the State Historical Society of Iowa, the Des Moines metro tradition dates back to 1938. During the 1930s, there was a high volume of mischief and vandalism reported each year, especially on Halloween night.

Some people became concerned for the safety and well-being of their children who would typically go trick-or-treating on that same night. To help reduce this fear, the City of Des Moines created Beggars’ Night.

By having the favorite Halloween fun just one night earlier, police were able to focus more readily on stopping petty crime and reducing the high amount of vandalism.

Within just a few years, the rate of criminal mischief or vandalism on Halloween night dropped substantially, but Beggars’ Night lived on.

Now, over 80 years later, the City of Des Moines and the surrounding communities still recognize Beggars’ Night as October 30th.

CDC Guidance

Remaining socially distant, wearing a mask and washing hands are all essential to reducing the risk of being exposed to the virus. 

One thing is abundantly clear: If you may have been exposed to COVID-19, stay home. "If you may have COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stressed.  

Door-to-door trick-or-treating, attending crowded costume parties or haunted houses, going on hay rides and traveling to fall festivals not in your community are just a few of the "higher risk activities" that the CDC said Americans should avoid this year.

The "lower risk activities" from the CDC during Halloween include carving pumpkins with your household or while practicing social distancing with neighbors and friends, decorating your home, creating a scavenger hunt either inside your home or outdoors looking for Halloween-themed items from house to house. 

Also suggested is having a virtual Halloween costume contest or a movie night with the people you live with. 

NOTE: The CDC says costume masks should not be used in place of cltoh masks.

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Safety tips from several cities for trick-or-treating include: 

  • Keeping your family together, not mixing with other families or groups.
  • Maintaining six-foot distance when waiting to approach a house
  • Wearing face coverings when approaching homes. Those handing out treats should wear a face covering when getting within six feet of guests.
  • Not using a common container to hand out treats. Consider individually-packaged treats in bags for kids to grab and go.
  • Washing hands often, using hand sanitizer and be reminding others not to touch their faces
  • Homes that are participating in trick-or-treating should turn on outdoor lights, and kids should only go to homes where the lights are on


Beggars' Night is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

"This is a choice if you would like to participate in Beggar’s Night," the city wrote in a release. "If you have a concern in regards to COVID-19, then do not participate."


The official night of trick-or-treating for Ames is Saturday, Oct. 31 with recommended hours of 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Beggar's Night is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m., according to the city's website.

"Drivers are urged to use extra caution during this annual event. In fact, children are four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween than any other night of the year," the city writes. "Be on alert for trick-or-treaters, avoid distractions, enter and exit driveways with caution."


Beggar's Night will be held 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30

"Regardless of how you choose to celebrate Halloween, it is important to keep health and safety top of mind," the city said in a statement. "This includes social distancing, face coverings, and hand washing."

Des Moines

Beggar's Night will be held Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

“The original idea behind Beggars’ Night was to make trick or treating safer for kids by designating it the night before Halloween,” Mayor Frank Cownie said in a statement. “We want to reinforce that commitment to safety and urge everyone to follow the guidelines from our medical experts for a healthy Halloween.”


Beggar's Night is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.


Beggars' Night is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

"We encourage all residents to respect homes with their lights off, as it may be home to someone who is either more vulnerable to COVID-19 or is not interested in participating in the yearly event," the city said in a release.


Beggar's Night is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31 from 5-8 p.m.

"I would encourage anyone handing out treats to please wear a mask and disposal gloves," Mayor Michael L. Hansen said in a statement. "I would also encourage anyone participating in the door to door activities to wear a mask also. Let’s all have great fun, keeping the safety of everyone a priority."


Trick-or-treating in the city will be from 6-7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.


Beggars' Night is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

West Des Moines

Beggars' Night is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30 from 6-8 p.m.

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