Halloween Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. de stijl says:

    In my city kids go out trick or treating on Halloween Eve, October 30th, and not on Halloween night. It’s called Beggars’ Night. It’s exactly the same as Halloween, trick or treating, teenager shenanigans, but one day earlier. No idea why when I first moved here.

    This was all news to me and I didn’t know diddly squat when I was a brand new resident so I asked my born and bred friends and colleagues why Beggars’ Night exists and no one really knew why.

    “Umm, I don’t know. It’s some old tradition. Good question, actually, but I don’t know.” That was the typical response.

    Michigan has Devil’s Night geared towards mischief making. Des Moines has Beggars’ Night which is exactly the same as Halloween only one day earlier.

    I looked it up. In 1938, the city decided that Halloween was too rowdy and boisterous what with neighborhood teens tp’ing old man Johnson’s elm tree, so they decreed Beggars’ Night as a safe and kid-friendly alternative. How that made it in any way “safer” was unexplained in the the wiki article. It just displaced the same stuff to one day earlier.

    How and why is new alternative Halloween night now safer than original Halloween night? It is daft. But it is a local “tradition” that somehow stuck. It catches me off guard every year – “oh yeah, remember it’s a day earlier than what you expect, dummy! Be prepared.”

    Last night I had 6 visits. About twenty kids in total, they tend to run in packs of two to five. I got one late knock about 8:30 just before I was going to turn off my porch lights and a lone dad and his kiddo showed up. I had about twenty Twix fun-sized bars and a handful of Hershey’s milk chocolates fun-sizers left and I just decided to dump both bowls in little dude’s swag bag. You, little man, get all the leftovers because I am done for this year. The late bird gets all the worms. Dude scored big time – hit the motherlode!

    Turned off the porch lights and rewatched Run, Lola, Run.

    You all have Halloween tonight. Mine happened last night.

  2. Bill Jempty says:

    Former MLB player Frank Howard has passed away. I remember watching him play with the Washington Senators plus manage the NY Mets briefly*. RIP.

    *Back in the day when WOR Channel 9 was a super station comparable to WTBS in Atlanta.

  3. Bill Jempty says:

    Haven’t seen a Trick or Treater since at least 2014. I live in a second floor condo in a 55 and older community. Seniors don’t trick or treat.

    Where I lived for Halloween from 2015 to 2018 had plenty of families but I don’t remember any coming to our door while living there.

  4. CSK says:
  5. Tony W says:

    @de stijl: This is the kind of content I come to these forums for.

    Learned something new today already and it’s only 2:40 AM out here in the west.

    Happy Halloween (and Beggar’s Night).

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This will be the 14th Halloween in a row with nary a trick or treater in sight. I suspect living in one of 3 houses in 4 1/2 miles has something to do with it.

  7. Scott says:

    Every Halloween my neighbor and I have a front yard “party”. Started back when our kids were little. Set up food tables, everybody brings chairs and pot luck type food (mine’s going to be chips and queso) and sit around and eat and drink and hand out candy. When the kids were little, us Dads would take our beers and escort the little ones. There were a few houses along the way to get a refill if needed. It’ll be a little chilly this year. Front came through Sunday night and all day yesterday. Down in the 40s but supposed to be sunny and in the 50s today and tonight.

  8. Scott says:

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    3 Expert Shoemakers Say Ron DeSantis Is Probably Wearing Height Boosters

    In the last few weeks, posts mocking Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ strangely shaped cowboy boots have racked up millions of views on Twitter and TikTok, with online sleuths trying to determine whether he’s wearing height-boosting insoles to pump himself up against a 6’3” primary frontrunner with a penchant for nicknames who reportedly considered calling DeSantis “Tiny D.”

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Adam Wainwright managed to survive 18 years amid the grueling schedule of Major League Baseball before a puppy ended his career.

    The 42-year-old called time on his long career at the end of the 2023 season after 478 games, 2,202 strikeouts, three All-Star appearances and a World Series title with the St Louis Cardinals, his only major league team.

    But when he lodged his official retirement papers to Major League Baseball, rather than listing health concerns or the opportunity to enjoy his $182m in career earnings, he gave his reason for stepping away from the game as “Because I got a puppy”.

    As good a reason as any other.

  10. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    The night before Halloween was Mischief Night in my neck of the woods. Time to soap windows and t.p. trees. My mother said it was vandalism and wouldn’t let us participate.

  11. Kylopod says:


    to pump himself up against a 6’3” primary frontrunner


    You know one man who actually is 6’3″? Jeb Bush. And he was visibly taller than Trump on the debate stage during the 2016 cycle. For some reason, it wasn’t enough for him to vanquish Trump in the primaries.

    It’s amazing to me that the press just uncritically accepts Trump’s claim to be 6’3″ despite the years of photographic evidence disproving it.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: I saw a video last night of him striding across a stage. Actually it was more like tip toeing across the stage. It was obvious his toes didn’t reach past the instep of the boot what with how they bent, I couldn’t help laughing.

    @Kylopod: And what is it he says he weighs? 215? Bwahahahahahahaha…. gasp…. wheeze…

  13. just nutha says:

    @Bill Jempty: Worked nights for 20 years and lived in apartments for all but about 4 of the rest. Never had trick or treaters in any large numbers. By my adulthood, cities on the Left Coast had become too antisocial for kids to go out in.

  14. gVOR10 says:

    @Scott: @Kylopod:

    up against a 6’3” primary frontrunner

    Who is generally believed to wear lifts himself. Remember a couple years ago when he had trouble walking down a ramp from a speakers platform? Between the ramp and the lifts he was pitched too far forward and ended up almost running to keep from falling forward.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rescuers free humpback whale ‘hog-tied’ to 300lb crab pot in Alaska

    “This was a complicated entanglement with a line through the whale’s mouth, and wrapped around the animal’s tail stock,” Fred Sharpe, advanced large whale entanglement responder with Alaska Whale Foundation, told the Noaa. “The drone imagery assisted tremendously with our understanding of the entanglement and how to prioritize our cutting attempts,” he added.

    The NPS said the whale was making 7-9-minute dives and was at the surface for only approximately 30 seconds.

    “The whale had a loop of line through its mouth that led to a large, heavy glob of tangled lines at its tail. In effect, the whale was hog-tied, its body bent sharply to the side as it swam in a predictable clockwise circle each time it came up. The whale also had a distinct healed scar across its back from being hit by a vessel’s propeller,” it said.

    That they managed to free it feels like a minor miracle to me.

  16. CSK says:


    It’s normal to lose height after age 40. In addition, Trump has terrible posture. Given his slumped stance, he’s probably about 5’11’ minus lifts and weighs maybe 275.

  17. de stijl says:

    I watch Lola Rennt (aka Run, Lola, Run) on Beggars’ Night for two reasons.

    There is an exchange very early on where Lola and her boyfriend are on the telephone and discussing the instigating incident where Manni inadvertantly left 100,000 d-marks on the metro in a bag. The exchange is a back and forth between the two is “die Tasche” (the bag) kinda like with kiddos on Beggars’ Night.

    The second is at the end of the first “run” where both Lola and Manni die is the use of What A Difference A Day Makes on the soundtrack. 24 little hours. Kinda like Beggars’ Night is exactly like normal, regular person Halloween only 24 hours earlier for some vague reason.

    I came to the conclusion that Lola Rennt should be my traditional Beggars’ Night movie from here on out in 2010 or thereabouts. Heck, I already own the DVD so it’s super easy.

    Bonus reasons: the music is fricking excellent, time loops exist in this universe and Lola preserves her memories and knowledge from previous runs like a Rogue-like game, Franke Potente runs like a demon possessed, you get snapshot backstories of the people she runs past that change from run to run, the casino scene, the song from the final “run”.

    The casino scene is incredibly intense and is full of cinematography tricks to get you fully invested. I cannot recall the name of the game she plays – the big spinny wheel game where you bet on black or white, tranches of numbers like 6 though ten, or on a specific number. I have to look it up… roulette, ya big dummy.

    If I am ever again in a casino which is highly unlikely, I will bet on 20 three times in a row and scream like a banshee.

    The third “run” has a favorite song that I occasionally listen to while on a walk. Both Tom Tykver and Franke Potente should have had bigger careers. Potente did the first Jason Bourne movie and a cameo in the second, and Tykver did Perfume and Cloud Altas both of which I enjoyed a lot.

    If you have never seen Lola Rennt / Run, Lola, Run I highly recommend. Not a great movie, but a damn fine one. An arty type movie that is not a bit pretentious. Extremely tight and propulsive.

    After the game is before the game.

  18. Kathy says:

    When bad thing happen to horrible people: Many of Benito’s accomplices are having trouble paying their legal fees.

    They may lose all quality legal representation. On the other hand, they all fit the criteria for representing themselves in court.

  19. gVOR10 says:

    @Kathy: I’m normally outraged that almost all criminal cases are settled by plea bargain because the defendants can’t afford to fight the system. In this situation, I’m more amused by it.

  20. Kathy says:


    In this case I think the appropriate reply to your comment is: Doubleplusgood!

  21. Bill Jempty says:


    They may lose all quality legal representation. On the other hand, they all fit the criteria for representing themselves in court.

    Because they are all fools?

  22. CSK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    That would be my guess.

  23. Kathy says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    Let’s say a smart person doesn’t wind up with multiple civil suits on top of criminal charges.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Yep, they’d all have fools for clients..

  25. Jay L Gischer says:


    John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of WABC radio, where Giuliani has a daily radio program, told the Guardian that Giuliani “earns good money with us. He gets paid monthly.” Catsimatidis added that: “I pray he’s found innocent.”

    I note two things. First, Catsimatidis worked “pray” into there and second, he didn’t say he thinks or believes Giuliani is innocent, just that he prays that he will be found innocent. Which we normally call “not guilty”.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Which we normally call “not guilty”.

    Which is most decidedly not innocent. It’s a feature of our legal system that the prosecution has to prove guilt and all the defense has to do poke enough holes in their case to raise reasonable doubt. Which generally is an expensive and difficult thing to do.

  27. Jay L Gischer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My point is that a legal proceeding will never, ever find someone “innocent”. It is not capable of doing that. It’s possible that you understood that and were just riffing, but I wanted to be clear.

  28. Daryl says:

    My top story of the day…

  29. dazedandconfused says:


    Pretty safe bet they couldn’t have gotten that whale untangled if it had panicked at being approached or had been unable to figure out what the rescuers were trying to do. Big brains, some marine mammals have. They can most definitely figure stuff out.

    “So long and thanks for getting that damn wire out of my fin!”

  30. inhumans99 says:

    Since this is an open thread, I will point out that I just listened to a youtube of the Halloween III Soundtrack, which is considered by many (including me) to possibly be the best film score out of all the Halloween films (which is funny, because it is the one film w/o Michael Myers in it). It is worth a listen.

    Now I am listening for at least 5th or 6th time to the film score of the Bond film The Living Daylights on youtube. Many years back when Aint It Cool News was still well, a very cool Hollywood gossip site that actually broke stories before some of the major players including Variety, THR, and the your local news stations, I clicked on a post and went to what was one of the more active comments sections back in the day, and a poster mentioned that the score to The Living Daylights is one of the best Bond scores period, and highlighted the horns in the score, and even though at that time I was aware that this film was being looked down on by many fans (in the years since, many folks have come to newly appreciate the Dalton bonds), I was down to listen to a good film score so I bought the cd on Amazon.

    The unknown to me person who encouraged folks to give the film score to The Living Daylights all those years back was correct, it is a great score by John Barry. I have noticed on-line that more people are starting to show it some love, but probably still considered an under-rated Bond film score.

  31. Rick DeMent says:


    Timothy Dalton was Daniel Craig 1.0

  32. Kylopod says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    Timothy Dalton was Daniel Craig 1.0

    Dalton definitely wanted to bring the series in a darker, grittier direction, and the ultimate example of that style was License to Kill. The Living Daylights was kind of a hybrid–it was darker and more down-to-earth than the Roger Moore films, but contained traces of the camp and silliness from those films. This is because it was first written with Moore in mind, then after Moore retired, the actor they wanted as replacement was Pierce Brosnan, but he was under contract for Remington Steele. Dalton (who had previously been considered to replace Connery in the late ’60s, but they decided–correctly–that he was too young at the time) was basically a placeholder until they could get Brosnan. And Brosnan’s first one, Goldeneye (which involved the longest lapse in time between two Bond films, due to their uncertainty over the direction of the series following the collapse of the Soviet Union), was kind of a hybrid, too–it’s darker than any of his later films in the series, as it was one that might have ended up as Dalton’s third entry. It’s too bad, as Brosnan is a good actor, but he came into the series just as it was starting to run out of steam and become a parody of itself, leading to the Daniel Craig era.

  33. Bill Jempty says:


    Dalton definitely wanted to bring the series in a darker, grittier direction, and the ultimate example of that style was License to Kill. The Living Daylights was kind of a hybrid–it was darker and more down-to-earth than the Roger Moore films, but contained traces of the camp and silliness from those films.

    The Living Daylights features my favorite line from all the JB films.

    “Hold on, you’re dead”.

    Barry’s score for TLD was excellent. The less said about Michael Kamen’s work for LTK the better.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Yeah, I knew what you were saying, just elaborating on the whys and wherefors.

    eta: Not because I thought any of the regulars needed an explanation, but to explain it to the driveby commentors hopefully before they made fools of themselves.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: I know, but at the same point he was diving for 7-9 mins between each 30 second surfacing. So exactly what he understood is unknown. And exactly what he was dealing with was unknown to us (eg. was the crab pot pulling him down to the extent that staying on the surface for more than 30 secs was too tiring for him?)