The history of trick or treating is weirder than you thought
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: 550L
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.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/history-trick-or-treating-weirder-you-thought/

Filed Under:  
Assigned 193 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)
  • Jenna O-kla
    10/28/2019 - 11:02 a.m.

    The part i found was surprising was that is started as a way to scare off evil spirits.

  • SaMeN-bad
    10/28/2019 - 12:53 p.m.

    The history of trick or treating i find most surprising was 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".

  • Hall,Andy-rod
    10/28/2019 - 01:21 p.m.

    As learned in the text, Trick or Treating was actually a Celtic tradition. This is interesting because this wonderful yet spooooky holiday is spread everywhere in the whole wide WORLD!! Just imagine being in the Middle Ages not knowing what you were doing was going to start an international holiday. I was also surprised how the many of the British do not celebrate Halloween, most turn off their lights and pretend not to be home. I am excited to have learned about this new subject and backstory of such an exciting holiday such as Halloween. Everyone have a spooky Halloween!!!!
    - Andy from Bridges

  • HollyB.-eas
    10/29/2019 - 09:12 a.m.

    The people begged for food and money for exchange of songs and prayers. Trick or treating did not start until around 1920 to the 1930s.

  • SamJ-eas
    10/29/2019 - 09:13 a.m.

    What I found most surprising is that you dressed up as evil spirits and I believe that it is the devil's birthday

  • EmilyJ-eas
    10/29/2019 - 09:14 a.m.

    The part about the history of trick or treating was that the British didn't like Halloween. I found that surprising because I thought that every Country or Continent celebrated it. It just seems right to celebrate it.

  • WyattN-eas
    10/29/2019 - 09:14 a.m.

    It started with the Celtic tradition they spent every year dressing up as evil demans

  • KevinM-eas
    10/29/2019 - 09:14 a.m.

    That the British don't like Halloween and that the fraise term trick or treat was made in 1927.

  • KobeM-eas
    10/29/2019 - 09:15 a.m.

    Trick and treating didn't re-emerge until the 1920s to the 1930s. And also something else I thought was interesting was The term "Trick or Treat" dates back to 1927 trick or treating was also printed on November 4, 1927, did you know that the British hate Halloween well thats according to the 2006 survey about Halloween

  • HamasarA-bad
    10/29/2019 - 09:15 a.m.

    It have very interesting history.

Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Leave a comment