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Halloween: Iowa style

Netley is a first-year pharmacy major and can be reached at jared.netley@drake.edu

Now that the holiday spirit of Halloween is past the Drake University community (hopefully you all survived), the actual day of celebration is still on the horizon. Halloween is a day for children to go out and get candy from strangers and not be yelled at or a day to hide in the bushes and try to scare people. Now, I can never say I was a big Halloween fan when I was growing up, but here in the greater Des Moines area, we have created a tradition like no other.

When I was little, I remember the days of trudging through a foot of snow just to go claim my prizes at each house. Then one day it hit me, I should just stay at home and hand candy out to the other children. Call me a great person with a very large heart, but I would rather give to those children in need than take for myself. My belief was that every child should have the right to experience a sugar high.

What else did I have to gain from my giving experience besides not having to go out into the cold of Halloween night? I didn’t have to come up with a joke. Yeah, that’s right. In the Des Moines area, we actually have to tell jokes before we get candy. Literally. None of that “Trick or Treat” then the person just hands you candy. Like Republicans, we have to work for it. Normally the mode of payment is one joke for one piece of candy, but if it’s a good joke, you might be lucky and snag a jackpot. Score! Now if you were born without a funny bone, you weren’t easily forgiven. I have seen kids dance, sing or stand on one leg while patting your head and rubbing your stomach. Talk about the things kids will do for free candy!

I didn’t learn that this was bizarre until my first year here at Drake. I was talking with some of my friends, and I was telling some of the amazing jokes I heard over the years. They looked at me like I was stupid and asked if all the corn had gone to our heads. I looked back and told them “because in Des Moines, we aren’t commies.” That isn’t exactly how that story went, but it was the gist of what happened. This is just another reason Des Moines was unofficially named the greatest city in the world.

Before I end, I will share one of the better jokes I heard once. If you are African in the bedroom, American in the kitchen, Asian in the living room then what are you in the bathroom? European. Get it? It didn’t say we were good joke tellers. Keep it classy Drake, and have a great Halloween!


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