Did you know kids used to “Trick or Treat” on Thanksgiving??

thanksgiving-ragamuffin

When I was a kid, my Grandmother one time casually mentioned that she remembered when kids used to Trick or Treat on Thanksgiving. When I pressed her for details about it, she was vague, and it made me wonder if she was pulling my leg. It has been decades since she brought that up and I think I finally found out what she might have been talking about, it was a tradition called, “Thanksgiving Ragamuffins” or “Ragamuffin Day”.

Robert Martens posted this video on YouTube showing kids in 1940s New York, dressing up like paupers and going door to door “begging” for money. As you can see, their costumes are almost Halloween-like, some almost look like clowns. No explanation is given as to why they tradition went away, but this article from the New York Public Library, which has more info about this New York tradition, states that people seem to be annoyed with the practice and just wanted it to go away.

So what would you do if kids, trying to restore this tradition, showed up on your doorstep on Thanksgiving in a tattered but colorful costume and asked if you could spare, “Anything for Thanksgiving?” Would you slam the door or dig in your pockets for a few coins?

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