How to Have a Hilarious Halloween

The History of Halloween’s Spooky Joke Telling

Halloween isn’t only scary. In some Midwest towns, like Des Moines and St. Louis where I live, Halloween is silly too. The tradition of telling a joke before receiving a Halloween treat began in Des Moines during the 1930’s. Kids were encouraged to recite jokes rather than resort to destructive “tricks” like up-ending trash cans or breaking street lights. The goofy ghoulish joke tradition stuck for Des Moines and its suburbs.

In St. Louis, the origin of the popular joke-telling tradition is harder to put a skeleton finger on. (Sorry but I had to throw that one in. This is story about silly jokes after all.) Both the Irish and the German immigrants to the area in the nineteenth century had practices of going door-to-door and performing for a treat. The Germans did it on New Year’s Eve. In my mother’s German heritage in central Kansas, they called this tradition “winching.” They would sing a song and wish the household a “Happy New Year” for a coin or two.

In Ireland, they celebrated an ancient celtic festival of Samhain each year to prevent the people who had died during the year from returning from the dead. One particularly evil dead creature, “the Muck Olla,” did return each year.  In order to keep it away, the Irish would dress in costume to confuse the creature. By going door to door and asking for a treat, each person would have a treat to give the Muck Olla in case it caught them. To receive a treat from their neighbors, the costumed Irish would tell a joke or recite a poem. 

A researcher from the Missouri History Museum, Sharon Smith, purposes that the tradition evolved in St. Louis from the combination of such “Old World” influence as mentioned above and the thriftiness of the German immigrants who expected something in return for handing out their candy. Originally it could be a song, a poem, a dance, or a joke. The joke is what has stuck in St. Louis. It makes for a very entertaining night of opening the front door to cleverly-clad ghouls and goblins of all sorts.

The first recorded use of the words “trick or treat” appeared in a publication from Blackie, Alberta in 1927. By the 1930s, Halloween was much more widespread, but even in the 1940s many considered it begging and wouldn’t participate. Thank goodness that fear no longer exists. And of course, it’s totally not begging when each ghoul earns his/her treats with a clever—and usually corny—joke. 

For a lit of 100 Halloween Jokes, visit this link on my website.


Halloween FUN Treat



If you want to be frighteningly funny this Halloween, here is a list of 100 MONSTER JOKES for you. And if you have a favorite Monster Joke you don’t see on my list, please send it to me. I’d love to share it!!!

Monster Jokes

  1. What do vampire parents read to their kids?

(Bite-time stories)


  1. What baseball position do young vampires like to be?

(Bat boys)


  1. What works out at the gym, has a long tail, and lives in a lake in Scotland?

(The Jock Ness Monster)


  1. What creature is part vampire and part werewolf?

(A bloodhound)


  1. How would you create the world’s biggest stinker?

(Cross Bigfoot with a skunk)


  1. Why did the mummy lose track of time?

(He was all wrapped up in his work.)


7, Why are mummies such good workers?

(They like to get a job wrapped up ASAP.)


  1. How does a vampire know if he’s found the right mate?

(It’s love at first bite!)


  1. How does Dracula get brighter teeth?

(He bites a light bulb.)


  1. Why was the Invisible Man such a good guy?

(His conscience was always clear.)


  1. How did the mad scientist keep in shape?

(He became a body builder.)


  1. What does a zombie use after trimming his whiskers in the morning?

(Aftergrave lotion)


  1. Why did the monster collect clocks?

(He was trying to kill time.)


  1. What do near-sighted ghosts to need to wear to see better?



15, How do you know when a ghost is about to faint?

(He gets as pale as a sheet.)


  1. What do overweight ghosts need to do?



  1. What medicine does a vampire use when his throat hurts?

(Coffin drops)


  1. Why did the dog want a costume?

(So he could dress up for Howl-oween)


  1. Which piece of clothing can become haunted?

(A pair of scaredy pants)


  1. What fruit do ghosts like best?



  1. What food is a ghost’s favorite?



  1. Other than a cemetery and a haunted house, where is a good place for a ghost to live?

(A ghost town)


  1. Why are ghosts such good cheerleaders?

(They have great spirit.)


  1. What day is a monster’s favorite?



  1. What road has the most ghosts haunting it?

(A dead end!)


  1. What position does a ghost play in soccer?



  1. What monster plays tricks on Halloween?



  1. Why did the vampire flunk art class?

(Because he could only draw blood!)


  1. What’s the problem with twin witches?

(You can’t tell which witch is which!)


  1. What do you do with a green monster?

(Wait until she’s ripe!)


  1. Why didn’t the zombie go to school?

(He felt rotten!)


  1. Why did the cyclops stop teaching?

(Because he only had one pupil!)


  1. Why is a cemetery a great place to write a story?

(Because there are so many plots there!)


  1. What’s the best way to talk to a monster?

(From afar!)


  1. What’s big, scary, and has three wheels?

(A monster riding a tricycle!)


  1. How do you fix a jack-o-lantern?

(With a pumpkin patch!)


  1. What do ghosts like for dessert?

(I scream!)


  1. What do you do if you find Frankenstein in your bed?

(Find a different bed!)


  1. What baseball position does Frankenstein like to play?

(Fright fielder)


  1. Because vampires don’t like to brush their teeth they have what?

(Bat breath)


  1. Why is Frankenstein known as a friendly fellow?

(He’s always ready to give a hand…or a foot…or…)


  1. What did the Cyclops teacher tell his student?

(Watch out! I’ve got my eye on you!)


  1. What’s ancient and itchy?

(A fleahistoric monster)


  1. What is a mummy’s favorite music?



  1. What happens to Frankenstein when he gets upset?

(He falls to pieces.)


  1. What do you call a frightful cow?

(A MOOOOster)


  1. What animal is a vampire’s favorite?

(A giraffe)


  1. Where do werewolves go who want to be in the movies?



  1. Where do zombies go to snorkel?

(The Dead Sea)


  1. What do you call a vampire who eats between meals?



  1. Which vampire is really good at math?

(COUNT Dracula)


  1. What does a witch like to write with?

(A magic marker)


  1. What game do little monster like to play?

(Hide and shriek)


  1. Which Great Lake is the monsters’ favorite?

(Lake Eerie)


  1. Why are skeletons so lonely?

(They have noBODY.)


  1. Why do none of the monsters want Bigfoot’s job?

(He has such BIG shoes to fill!)


  1. Which monster likes African safaris?

(The big game haunter)


  1. What’s the difference between a monster and a chocolate chip cookie?

(It’s much harder to dip a monster in a glass of milk.)


  1. Which is a ghost’s favorite ride at an amusement park?

(The roller-ghoster)

  1. What type of mistakes to ghosts make?



  1. How do you get a skeleton to laugh?

(Tickle its funny bone.)

  1. What happened when the mummy ate too much?

(He got a mummy ache!)


  1. How do you make a witch itch?

(Take away the “w”.)


  1. Why did the dog want a costume?

(So he could dress up for Howl-oween!)


  1. What subject do witches like best at school?



  1. Why are ghosts so bad at lying?

(You can see right through them.)


  1. What room do zombie houses never have?

(A living room)


  1. Why do many ghosts like books?

(They are ghostwriters.)


  1. Why do ghosts not take selfies?

(They’re not much to look at)


  1. What do monsters ride to school in?

(A ghoul-bus)


  1. What’s a mummies favorite game?

(Name That Tomb)


  1. Why are there fences around cemeteries?

(People are just dying to get in!)


  1. Where do little ghosts go to school?

(Day Scare)


  1. Who won the skeleton beauty contest?

(No Body)


  1. Which story do all little witches like to hear at bedtime?

(Little Red Ghoully Hood and the Three Scares)


  1. Why wouldn’t the skeleton work?

(He was a lazy bones.)


  1. How does a monster score a football touchdown?

(He runs over the ghoul line.)


  1. What is a skeleton’s favorite musical instrument?

(A trombone)


  1. Why doesn’t Dracula have any friend?

(He’s a pain in the neck.)


  1. What’s a monster’s favorite play?

(Romeo and Ghoulilet)


  1. What do witches put in their hair?

(Scare spray)


  1. Why couldn’t the ghost see her mom and dad?

(They were trans-parents!)


  1. Which monster is the best dancer?

(The Boogey Man)


  1. What’s worse than being a two-ton witch?

(Being her broom)


  1. Which circus act do vampires like best?

(The juggler)


  1. How do you know if it’s a terrible mummy joke?

(It Sphinx!)


  1. Who did Frankenstein take to the party?

(His ghoul friend)


  1. When is it bad luck to be followed by a black cat?

(When you’re a mouse)


  1. What goes around a haunted house and never stops?

(A fence)


  1. What do you get when you cross a duck with a vampire?

(Count Quackula)


  1. Why did the monster buy another sock?

(Because it grew another foot!)


  1. What kind of lock does Dracula have on his castle?

(A dead bolt)


  1. How do monsters stay cool?

(Turn on the scare conditioner)


  1. Why wasn’t there any food left after the party?

(Because everyone was a goblin)


  1. What type of art does Frankenstein create?

(Monster pieces)


  1. What kind of horses do ghosts ride?

(Night mares)


  1. What kind of monster has the best hearing?

(The eeriest)


  1. What do ghosts like to eat with a sandwich?



  1. What’s scary and goes to the second floor?



  1. What did Frankenstein say to his new girlfriend?

(I’ve been dying to meet you!!!)


Happy Halloween!






























SCARED SILLY: Halloween Joke Fun



In my upcoming Middle Grade Fantasy, FROM THE GRAVE, (Fall of 2016 from Jolly Fish Press) one of my favorite supporting characters is Stan & Dan, the two-headed gargoyle. This creature, like Frankenstein Frightface Gordon—the hero of the story, is a misfit.


Stan & Dan, the goofy gargoyle, tries to fit into a world that doesn’t think monsters should be funny (or quiet, or neat, or anything other than monsterly.) Both gargoyle heads are master jokesters—often trying to one-up the other.


STAN: Why do skeletons go the grocery store?

DAN: I don’t know. Why?

STAN: To find spare ribs!

DAN: Har! Har! That’s a good one!


Yep, these two just can’t help themselves from telling giggly gotchas, no matter how hard they try. I guess a two-headed, green and ghoulish gargoyle clown is still a clown. Right?


Here in St. Louis it’s nearly time for all our local ghoulish clowns to come out for their big night. Halloween trick-or-treaters in the Arch City are ALL jokesters like Stan & Dan. St. Louis is one of only two major cities in the U.S. (Des Moines, Iowa is the other) that expects their Halloween trick-or-treaters to tell jokes before they receive their treats. A funny one-liner, riddle, or even a knock-knock joke is expected from each costumed-clad child on October 31.



How did this stand-up routine become part of two local Halloweens? Well, it turns out that back in the Depression era (1930’s) in Des Moines the local hooligans were doing too much vandalizing on trick-or-treat night. In an effort to stop the destructive behavior, the city encouraged tricksters to tell a joke, rather than play a prank. Perhaps it was for a similar reason that St. Louis (just south of Iowa) adopted the tradition too. Or another possibility for the custom here could stem from the St. Louis’ large Irish population. The Irish had an even older Halloween practice of performing for a treat.


Going door-to-door on the eve of Hallowmas (November 1—All Souls Day), they would offer prayers and songs for the dead in return for treats. This custom dates back to the Middle Ages. In Great Britain and Ireland, this yearly practice was called “souling.” In Scotland by the end of the 19th century, “guising” was popular. Costumed people would carry scooped out gourds with lights and go door-to-door hoping for treats. Still today in Scotland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada, Puerto Rico, and parts of Mexico, Halloween “trick or treating” is popular. But it is the United States that boasts the largest Halloween festivities in the world!


If you’d liked to up your comedic game this Halloween, check out my daily MONSTER JOKES on Twitter (@cynthiareeg) and on Facebook (


And be sure to visit my blog on FRIDAY OCTOBER 30, for a list of 100 FRIGHTENINGLY FUN JOKES! Don’t miss it!!!