So read the headline of the New York Times on November 27, 1914. But the article isn’t referring to hungry poor people looking for a handout.
It’s actually about an old Thanksgiving Day tradition popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, when children would dress up as cowboys, Indians, or “ragamuffins” and go door to door asking neighbors, “anything for Thanksgiving?”
As this second article, published in the Times in 1907, makes clear, the ragamuffins were regarded as quite a nuisance. Some neighborhoods scheduled loosely organized ragamuffin parades (Bay Ridge still has one; it’s held earlier in the fall), but it appears that most of the time, kids were on their own. They went out in groups—asking for pennies, playing practical jokes, and of course, getting into fights.
The ragamuffin tradition supposedly came from Europe, where it was customary to symbolically beg on holidays. I don’t know if this is true, but it seems that at some point begging on Thanksgiving turned into trick or treating on Halloween. And another strange old New York custom was lost to the ages.