Trick-or-treating has been a popular Halloween tradition in America and other countries for more than a century. What do you know about this tradition and why do we trick or treat on Halloween? Let’s find out!
Do you know why we trick or treat on Halloween Day?
What is trick-or-treating?
Before learning the reason why we trick or treat every 31 October, first get to know what this tradition is!
Trick-or-treating refers to a traditional Halloween custom for both children and adults in many countries. In this tradition, children in Halloween costumes, often accompanied by their parents, go from house to house and use the phrase “Trick or treat” to ask for treats.
What is trick-or-treating? Why do we trick or treat?
“Treat” is usually some form of candy, or maybe money in some cultures. “Trick” is understood as a threat to perform the children’s mischief on the homeowner in case no treat is given. People usually perform trick-or-treating traditions on the evening of October 31.
Why do we trick or treat on Halloween?
To know why do we trick or treat on Halloween Day, it’s important that we understand the history of this Halloween custom. Though trick or treating may be viewed as a modern event, its traces can be determined in ancient Celtic festivals, early Roman Catholic holidays, and medieval practices.
Ancient Origins of Trick-or-Treating
Looking into the history of Halloween Day, you will discover that the special occasion dates back to an ancient Celtic festival named Samhain. The festival was held on the night of October 31. And at that time, Celtic people supposed that the dead returned to earth on Samhain. During the night, a lot of people gathered to light bonfires in order to offer sacrifices and pay homage to the dead.
During their celebrations of Samhain, people in the village wear costumes made of animal skins so they could drive away phantom visitors. In addition, they prepared banquet tables and left out food to placate unwelcome spirits.
Gradually, in later centuries, people started to dress as ghosts as well as different malevolent creatures and do some antics to get food and drink. This custom was known as mumming which had its origin in the Middle Ages. The custom was considered to be an antecedent of trick-or-treating.
Early Christian and Medieval Origins of Trick-or-Treating
The ninth-century marked an important milestone when Christianity came into Celtic lands. In 1000 A.D, the church chose November 2 as All Souls’ Day – a special day to honor the dead. Celebrations in England were quite the same as those of Celtic commemorations of Samhain, consisting of bonfires and masquerades.
History of trick-or-treating tradition
Here, the poor would go to the rich’s house to get pastries called soul cakes with their promise that they would pray for the souls of the homeowners’ dead relatives. At that time, this tradition was named “souling”. Gradually, children also participated in this practice. They would go from house to house to ask for gifts such as food and money.
In Scotland and Ireland, young people joined in a tradition named guising. To take part in the activity, they would dress up in costume and accept offerings from various households. This tradition was different from the “souling” tradition. Instead of promising to pray for the death, the young will sing a song, recite a poem or play another sort of “trick” before getting their treats. Treats, at that time, included fruit, nuts, or coins.
Trick-or-treating came to the United States
In the early 20th century, Europeans, most likely the Scottish and Irish, brought the traditions of souling and guising to America. By the 1920s, young people in this country chose pranks as one of their Halloween activities.
Why do we trick or treat – Trick or treating tradition in the United States
At first, these traditions of souling and guising were considered to be problematic. At that time, the young took advantage of Halloween Day as a chance to prank people. Sadly, those pranks were often destructive, resulting in expensive property damage. It was right during the Great Depression that these activities were considered to be trick-or-treating.
However, with the outbreak of World War II, there was a downturn in those trick-or-treating activities. It was due to sugar rationing which meant there were few treats handed out. At the height of the baby boom after World War II, trick-or-treating reclaimed its position among other traditions on Halloween Day.
Why do we trick or treat – Kids join in the trick-or-treating tradition
From that time onwards, trick-or-treating remained as one of the standard practices for millions of children in America’s cities and newly built suburbs. Currently, it’s hard to imagine a Halloween without flocks of kids in Halloween costumes going door-to-door asking for candy and other treats.
Fun facts about the trick-or-treating tradition
Until now, trick-or-treating has become a widely known tradition when it comes to Halloween Day. And besides identifying why do we trick or treat on Halloween, let’s discover some amazing facts about this tradition.
Why do we trick or treat – Fun facts about the traditions
– The Snickers™ candy bar and Reese’s™ peanut butter cups are known to be the two most popular Halloween candies during Halloween.
– During Halloween week, people purchase 90 million pounds of chocolate candy.
– There are nearly 35 million children in America participating in trick or treating every year.
– It is said that people in North America spend $3 billion on Halloween costumes annually.
– According to the National Retail Federation, people in the United States spend about $2.6 billion on candy on Halloween. This special day has become the nation’s second-largest commercial holiday, after Christmas.
Halloween is just around the corner. There are many fun and exciting activities waiting for you. Above, we’ve explored who do we trick or treat on Halloween. Are you ready to join in this interesting Halloween tradition with lovely kids in the neighborhood? Also, don’t forget to make the day even more meaningful by finding the best pumpkin carving ideas, cherish your loved ones with thoughtful Halloween gifts and look for the best Halloween movies for this special occasion. We wish you a Happy Halloween!
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