The origin of Halloween dates back to the middle ages. In fact, most sources say it originated from Samhain, a Celtic tradition set for honoring the dead nearing the end of the harvest season. The origin or trick or treating is not quite so clear, and there’s even evidence that the tradition disappeared entirely, only to return years later to become what it is today. Today, trick or treating is a Halloween tradition, and nearly every child across the country is dressing up in hopes of returning home with a big bag of goodies.
But how did the tradition begin? Sources say that Samhain was also part of the inspiration for this tradition. Many Celtic villagers dressed themselves in masks and animal skins. The idea that the demons and dead returned on the day of Samhain was frightening, and dressing as a demon was supposed to provide protection from other demons you encountered. They thought that the real demons would be confused by their costumes and leave them alone instead of causing them harm.
Some poor villagers would dress up and go door to door, exchanging songs and prayer in hopes of food and other goods. Thus, the trick or treating tradition found its beginning. But it has truly changed in nature over the years.
Later, the Catholic church began adopting and reforming all of the existing holidays so that they better fit the Christian religion. Eventually, Halloween became “All Saints Day” where people were encouraged to dress as saints, angels, and even some demons. This led to the mixture of both evil and happy costumes that we see today.
The tradition of trick or treating
The tradition was similar in Ireland and Scotland, except it was called “guising” (from disguising) and consisted of children singing songs or offering other deeds in exchange for nuts, coins, or other houshold goods.
Eventually, the tradition migrated over to the American colonies following a large number of immigrants moving to escape the potato famine. These immigrants helped popularize Halloween across the country, but rowdy children began turning the night into something far more evil in the 1920’s.
Many children and adolescents used the night to perform pranks, which sometimes racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage in populated areas. The night became so notorious for the trickery that eventually communities started to implement the nationwide tradition of trick or treating in hopes of putting an end to the pranks.
During World War II, the sugar ration led to families refraining from trick or treating for a few years. Eventually, though, the tradition returned and is now back with a vengeance.
Trick or treating is only one of the many Halloween traditions that are fun for the entire family. IF you’re looking to start a new Halloween tradition this year, or just looking for a good scare in the