It s almost that time of year when underaged kids get into costume and traipse around the neighborhood ringing doorbells and begging for treats. When you think about it, trick or treating is kind of a weird thing. Where did it come from anyway? discovered that the practice began with the Celtic tradition of celebrating the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. The Celts believed that, as we moved from one year to the next, the dead and the living would overlap, and demons would roam the earth again. So dressing up as demons was a defense mechanism. If you encountered a real demon roaming the Earth, they would think you were one of them. Fast forward to when the Catholic Church was stealing everybody s holidays and trying to convert them. They turned the demon dress-up party into All Hallows Eve, All Soul s Day, and All Saints Day and had people dress up as saints, angels and still a few demons. As for the trick or treating, or guising (from disguising ), traditions, beginning in the Middle-Ages, children and sometimes poor adults would dress up in the aforementioned costumes and go around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers, often said on behalf of the dead.
This was called souling and the children were called soulers. You might think that this practice then simply migrated 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, and it s 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, printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald, talks of this, 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 by the word trick or treat to which the inmates gladly responded and sent the robbers away rejoicing. The British hate Halloween, apparently. In 2006, a survey found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights and pretend not to be home on Halloween. Yet another reason by the United States is happy to be free from British rule. No funs. More from Smithsonian. com: If there are, goblins, witches, cartoon characters, and a wild variety of oddly dressed creatures visiting your door asking for, chances are it\’s Halloween. Before you shell out the sweets, most of these visitors probably shout Бtrick or treat! \” But why do they do that? In the United States and Canada, trick-or-treating has been a Halloween activity since the late 1950s.
Children of all ages dress up in and travel from house to house to receive treats in response to their call of Бtrick or treat! \” The is a suggestion that if a treat (like ) is given, then the child will not perform a Бtrick\” ( ) on the owner of the house. This Halloween has its origins in the ancient practices of Бsouling\” and Бguising. \” In the Middle Ages, poor people in Ireland and Britain would go Бsouling\” on Hallowmas (November 1). БSouling\” consisted of going door to door asking for food in return for saying prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). БGuising\” Б the of wearing costumes, masks, or other forms of Б began in Scotland in the late 19th century. Scottish children hoped to prevent spirits from doing harm by dressing like them. They carried and at various homes asked for treats, such as cakes, fruit, and money.
Immigrants brought these local customs to North America in the early 20th century. The term Бtrick or treat\” first appeared in print in 1927 in Canada. No one knows for sure how or why that particular term came to be. The of trick-or-treating started in the western United States and Canada and slowly moved eastward. The stalled during World War II because sugar was rationed during that time. From the 1950s onward, however, the picked up steam and has been the central focus of Halloween ever since. Today, Halloween trick-or-treating is big business. The National Confectioners Association estimates that over 75 percent of U. S. adults give out every year to trick-or-treaters. They also believe 64 percent of Americans will go trick-or-treating or participate in some way in Halloween activities in 2015. As recently as 2015, Halloween, costumes, and related products brought in almost $7 billion in revenue.