Trick or Treat is a very popular game for children during Halloween, especially in the US and some European countries. Children will dress up as witches, elves, astronauts, cartoon characters. They will go door to door knocking, shouting “Trick or Treat”. The host will give them candy as a form of “Treat”. If no candy is given, the children will have some naughty action “Trick” with the owner. But why “Trick or Treat”, and not any other saying? What is the real meaning behind it? Where did trick or treat come from?
Where Did Trick Or Treat Come From?
Most of us consider trick or treating as an American tradition because it didn’t become popular in the UK until the 1980s. But Halloween custom actually has Celtic roots, and the story behind it is interesting, even pretty. So, where did trick or treat come from? Below is the history of tricking or treating.
History of Trick or Treating
Halloween has its roots in the ancient, pre-Christian festival of Samhain, celebrated on the night of October 31. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in what is now Ireland, Great Britain, and northern France, believed that the dead returned to earth on Samhain. On a sacred night, people gather to light fires, make sacrifices and pay respects to the dead.
Do you know? Although it is not known exactly where and when the phrase trick or treat is known, the custom became known in American popular culture in 1951, when the trick was depicted in the comic book Peanuts.
On the night of Samhain’s celebration, people began to dress up as demons and animals, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This custom dates back to the Middle Ages and is said to be the premise of Trick or Treating.
By the 9th century, Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually merged and replaced the old pagan rituals. In AD 1000, the church designated November 2 as All Souls’ Day, a time to honor the dead.
By the time Christianity had spread into England, a new practice known as Souling had developed. The poor would visit the homes of the rich and receive pastries called “soul cakes”, in exchange for a promise to pray for the deceased loved ones.
Meanwhile, in Scotland and Ireland, young people will visit their neighbor’s house and sing a song, recite a poem or perform another kind of ‘trick’ before getting a treat consisting of nuts, fruit, or coins.
People who migrated from Scotland, Ireland, England to the US brought this traditional holiday with them. And only when it came to the US, Halloween was well received and spread all over the world. Especially the custom “Treat or Trick”.
The story of Jack-o’-lantern
On Halloween night children will hold lanterns carved from pumpkins called Jack-o’-lanterns named after an Irishman named Jack. Jack was a bad person when he was alive so when he died he couldn’t go to heaven.
However, thanks to his relationship with the devil, Jack was not taken away by the demons. He became a wandering spirit. The devil gave him a coal, and he put it in a turnip to light his way in the night. When this tradition was introduced to the United States, people replaced the turnip with pumpkin because it was more beautiful and cheaper.
Interesting Fact About Halloween
Trick or treat not only appeared a long time ago, but this custom also has very interesting things:
- The word “Halloween” is derived from the Catholic Church and is corrupted from “All Hallows Eve ”. “All Hollows Day” or “All Saints Day” is a Catholic holiday honoring saints on November 1.
- The custom of Halloween came to the US in the 1840s by Irish immigrants fleeing a potato famine. At the time, favorite New England pranks included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates.
- In the 1st century AD, the festival of Samhain was assimilated into a number of traditional Roman celebrations that took place in October, typically in honor of Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona’s symbol is the apple which may explain the origin of the bobbing apple on Halloween.
- In the US, the first official citywide Halloween celebration took place in Anoka, Minnesota, in 1921.
- In many places in Mexico, instead of saying the equivalent of ‘Trick or treat’, children say ¿Me da mi calaverita? (Can you give me my little skull?). Calaverita is a small skull made of sugar or chocolate.
- In North America alone, people spend about $3 billion annually on Halloween costumes.
- Haunted house attractions bring in about half a billion US dollars annually.
- Halloween candy sales reach about $2 billion a year in the US. Chocolate bars are a favorite, especially Snickers.
- More than 35 million Halloween cards are sent out each year.
- Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday after Christmas.
- About 35 million American children ages 5 to 13 go Trick or Treat every year, 90% of the kids in this age group.
- About 50% of adults in the US dress up for Halloween, and 67% attend Halloween parties or go trick or treat with kids.
- Halloween is not an official holiday. Although all the festivities take place in the evening, Halloween is still a business day and most businesses and banks follow their normal hours.
Best Halloween Gifts For Your Loved Ones
Halloween is coming, do you have any plans for this spooky festival day? What do you think if you give your loved one a unique gift? Check out our Halloween gift collection and choose the best one for your friends and family.
Through this article, you have gained a lot of useful knowledge for the upcoming Halloween and no longer wonder where did trick or treat come from. Share these interesting things with your friends. Happy Halloween!