Halloween: Trick or Treating

October 31, 2019

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to another little segment of mine I am introducing for the month of October focusing on aspects of Halloween. This time its Trick or Treating.

What is Trick or Treating?

Well most of us can think of only one thing when it comes to Trick or Treating. That would be going house to house on Halloween night and collecting candy or treats dressed in costumes of various natures. Great fun and games, right? Well not always.

In America at one point it was literally what the phrase means. If you don’t give me a treat I will give you a trick. Hence the term Trick or Treating. Now while the going from house to house on different nights of the year in the past was something created before the times of calling it Trick or Treating the phrase did somewhat originate in the America. Houses, factories were set ablaze, people were vandalized in pretty harsh ways sometimes if no treats were received. In certain regions or cities it was used as a deterrence against crimes. It worked to some degree from what certain sources say. Back then it seemed that more children had to explain the rules of Trick or Treating to adults instead of it being the other way around. By the 1940s and 1950s the rules were more officially established leaving it more of a night for the children and less tricks from the adults.


As mentioned the collection of treats from going house to house was established long before Trick or Treating. The concept of doing it at Halloween may have come from the ancient traditions of appeasing the spirits that return to the world of the living. Dressing up and paying your respects to the dead and giving out offerings sounds pretty similar to Trick or Treating. Doesn’t it?

Throughout the span of human history there have been many customs associated with or similar to Trick or Treating. Some pre-date Christianity and reach further back to Pagan rituals of those times and cultures. Still regardless of ancient practices and the original origins the term Tick or Treating is actually very modern like mentioned. But still the earlier roots of mixing the two together as a time for the spirits and a day of guising and receiving offerings or treats probably relates mostly to the Celtic festival of Samhain.

Still kind of interesting to think that we often feel this is such an age old tradition and it is but the receiving treats on Halloween and calling it, “Trick or Treating,” is not very old.

Thanks for Reading,

Joshua Crane Dowidat

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