Bondurant Family Trades Sugary Treats for Hot Dogs on Beggars’ Night

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BONDURANT, Iowa — Those who have lived in the Des Moines metro for years know all the Beggars’ Night traditions.

“What do you call a hot dog with nothing inside it?”

“A ‘hollow-weenie!’”

But there’s no time for those corny Beggars’ Night traditions at one Bondurant house. The trick-or-treaters have to get in and get out quickly to make room for more ghouls and goblins waiting for the delicious treat.

Five years ago Bondurant’s Ryan Cook got an idea, giving those begging for candy something with a little more substance.

“When he said ‘oh why don’t we do hotdogs’ I was like ‘hotdogs?’” 12-year-old Joie Mitchell said.

The idea caught on and Cook ran with it.

“One year we just decided to do it and we gave away hot dogs and candy, but the hot dogs did a lot better than the candy so we just stopped doing candy and did all hot dogs,” Cook said.

Soon the hot dog house became the talk of the schoolyard each time the leaves started to fall.

“‘Oh are you guys doing hot dogs this year?’ and then I usually say ‘yeah, stop by,’” Mitchell said.

The word got out.

“There’s a lot of people I don’t recognize so I would imagine they are coming from all over,” Cook said.

And trick-or-treaters couldn’t get enough.

“One of the years, I’ll never forget, three teenage girls came back three times and got hot dogs each time and finally by the last time they came up they said, ‘um can we have another hot dog?,’ like they were afraid to ask. They gave it to them and away they went, but it took three hot dogs each to get those girls filled up,” Madonna Jones, Cook’s mother said.

But with all those people, it means a lot of supplies.

“We have 400 hot dogs, 400, buns, six bottles of ketchup, two bottles of mustard, four bottles of relish and two bags of onions,” Cook said.

It’s now a 10 man production, with even a local deli market helping out to order the food.

“It’s just gotten so big that now he has to have the neighbors come in and help and the neighbors’ kids, but we have a good time doing it,” Jones said.

Though a lot of work, they plan to do it for years to come.

‘It’s a family affair, so he just keeps everybody together,” Jones said.

“Oh I imagine the girls will take over at some point and keep it going,” Cook said.

According to Cook, the people who love the hot dogs the most are actually the parents because they don’t have to feed their kids before taking them out to trick-or-treat.

The hot dog house is located in the Mallard Pointe neighborhood in Bondurant.

Bondurant isn’t the only town celebrating Halloween a day early. Beggars’ Night goes from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the following communities:






Des Moines






Pleasant Hill

Polk City


West Des Moines

Windsor Heights


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