I grew up in St. Louis, MO. Â On Halloween it was essential to have three things: your costume, your pillowcase for carrying candy, and of course your joke book. Â At each house you had to perform a trick-usually telling a joke, to get a treat (hopefully not an apple or some pennies).
The first time I had kids come to my door in St. Paul, MN where I went to college at Macalester, I asked them what their jokes were. Â All I got were some blank stares. Â Who were these lazy kids asking for candy without any jokes!!??
Well, it turns out that St. Louis is the only place in the whole country (apparently) where kids tell jokes! Â Awesome!
This means kids in St. Louis get a head start on social experimentation over the rest of the country! Â At each house you go to, you try a different joke, until you settle on the best one (more laughter = more candy- “Oh that was a good one, take another piece!”) . Â Once you picked ‘your joke’, you could perfect the delivery at each stop so that by the end you had the joke so well dialed you were practically a stand up comedian!
I believe that Halloween was a big influence not only on my joke telling, but my ability to perfect a way of saying a piece of information, which is something I use everyday when I talk about the specifics of extreme microbiology.