The history of trick or treating is weirder than you thought Service members and their families attend the Army's 229th Military Intelligence Battalion hosted by the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center "Trunk or Treat" event at Soldier Field, Oct. 28, 2016. (Presidio of Monterey/Neefer Duir/Flickr)
The history of trick or treating is weirder than you thought
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

It's almost that time of year. Children get into costume and walk around the neighborhood. They ring doorbells. They beg for treats. When you think about it, trick or treating is kind of a weird thing. Where did it come from anyway?

Today I Found Out discovered that the practice began with a Celtic tradition. It celebrated the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. Here is what the Celts believed. As we move from one year to the next, the dead and the living would overlap. Demons would roam the earth again. Dressing up as demons was a defense mechanism. You might encounter a real demon roaming the Earth. If you were dressed up they would think you were one of them.

Fast forward to when the Catholic Church was stealing everybody's holidays. They were trying to convert them. They turned the demon dress-up party into "All Hallows Eve" and "All Soul's Day." And "All Saints Day." They had people dress up. They dressed as saints and angels. There were some people who still dressed as demons. Today I Found Out writes:

As for the trick or treating, or "guising" (from "disguising"), traditions, they began in the Middle Ages. Children would dress up in the aforementioned costumes. Sometimes poor adults did too.  They would go around door to door during Hallowmas. They'd beg for food or money. This was in exchange for songs and prayers. They were often said on behalf of the dead.  This was called "souling." The children were called "soulers".

You might think that this practice then simply moved along with Europeans to the United States. But trick or treating didn't re-emerge until the 1920s and 1930s.  It paused for a bit during World War II because of sugar rations. But its now back in full force.

The term "trick or treat" dates back to 1927. Today I Found Out explains:
The earliest known reference to "trick or treat" was printed on November 4, 1927. It was in an edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald.

"Hallowe'en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done. Except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc. Much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder. They used the word "trick or treat." To which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing."

The British hate Halloween. That's according to a 2006 survey. It found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights. They pretend not to be home on Halloween. Yet another reason by the United States is happy to be free from British rule. No fun.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 172 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What part of the history of trick or treating did you find most surprising? Why?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (63)
  • SarmeeL-bad
    10/28/2019 - 09:24 a.m.

    The most surprising part of the history of trick or treating is when the passage said how humans disguise as demon so the real demon as they say would not think they are humans.

  • EsiyaS-bad
    10/28/2019 - 09:24 a.m.

    The history of trick or treating i find most surprising is that the British hate Halloween.

  • SaKyiD-bad
    10/28/2019 - 09:24 a.m.

    The part history of trick or treating i find most surprising is that British people hate halloween i find it surprising because i thought everybody liked Halloween and never knew that British people hated such thing.

  • SaMeeL-bad
    10/28/2019 - 09:28 a.m.

    As for the trick or treating, or "guising" (from "disguising"), traditions, they began in the Middle Ages. Children would dress up in the aforementioned costumes. Sometimes poor adults did too. They would go around door to door during Hallowmas. They'd beg for food or money. This was in exchange for songs and prayers. They were often said on behalf of the dead. This was called "souling." The children were called "soulers".

  • HaS-bad
    10/28/2019 - 09:28 a.m.

    "Hallowe'en provided an opportunity for real strenuous fun. No real damage was done. Except to the temper of some who had to hunt for wagon wheels, gates, wagons, barrels, etc. Much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front demanding edible plunder. They used the word "trick or treat." To which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing."

  • GiovaniM-bad
    10/28/2019 - 09:29 a.m.

    It is about going knocking on People’s door and getting candy and celebrating and that’s Halloween ???? for you.

  • LoQueyshaW-bad
    10/28/2019 - 09:30 a.m.

    I feel very smart right now and very informed that Halloween is dated back to1927.

  • SaMeL-bad
    10/28/2019 - 09:42 a.m.

    The part of history of trick or treating that i found interesting is that Catholic Church was stealing everybody’s holiday and called it a different name (mind blowing).

  • AliL-bad
    10/28/2019 - 10:02 a.m.

    The part of the history is that they would go around to door to door and they would beg for food and money. The another weirdest one is that they would dress up into demon up party into All Hallow Eve and All Soul Day.

  • KalinR-bad
    10/28/2019 - 10:04 a.m.

    That British doesn’t like celebrating hollow ween . They fake and turn off there lights to make it seem like there out and trick or treating.

Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Leave a comment