Trick-Or-Treating Uncovered

One of the best things about Halloween is the seemingly never-ending supply of sweets (specifically candy) you can accumulate on this fantastic occasion.  One doesn’t always just acquire candy though, as it is customary for children to go Trick-or-Treating to earn their goods. If the only work you have to do to get candy, is simply knock on people’s houses and ask, then I’m totally down for that.

The joys of candy galore!

So here’s a little history lesson– the act of Trick-or-Treating isn’t simply some American ritual. It is actually derived from a tradition from Great Britain and Ireland called (appropriately), “souling,” where children and poor people would sing and say prayers for the dead in return for cakes. The act of costuming (or “guising”), came from Scotland, circa 1895, where children disguised in costumes, went door to door for food and coins.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century, when the British traditions surrounding Halloween, started to cross the pond and take hold in North America (“Guising” was first recorded in Ontario in 1911, so big props to Canada on that one). Trick-or-Treating didn’t really register with America until the 1930s, but it faded away slightly during the second World War when sugar was rationed. Just after the war, around 1947, Trick-or-Treating bounced back in the United States to much popularity and that’s the re-incarnation we have today.

Trick-or-Treating, circa 1948

So while we may not be getting cakes and coins from going door-to-door on Halloween, I will gladly accept American’s candy version. It’s interesting to see how far back this tradition dates- it really adds that extra layer of history to the otherwise seemingly weird act.

{Halloween Countdown: 8 days!}

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