On Wednesday We……….Trick-or-Treat!
What is all this about? How did we get started dressing up our kids (and ourselves) and send them around to local attractions, trunk-or-treats and neighborhoods to troll for treats (and toothbrushes)?
This practice began with the Celtic tradition of celebrating the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. The Celts believed that, demons would be able to roam the earth when the dead and living overlapped during the changing of the year. So dressing up as demons became a defense mechanism, disguising you from any real demons you might encounter, as they would think you were one of them.
Later, as the Catholic Church became involved in integrating holidays for the purpose of religious conversion, 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 an occasional demon.
In Europe, the poor would often take this opportunity to dress up and beg for edibles in exchange for prayers for the souls of the dead.
In North America, the earliest known reference to “trick or treat”, printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald:
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.
Because of wartime sugar shortages, Halloween didn’t come into full national attention in the United States until the late 1940’s, taking root in our culture in large part due to exposure by Disney and television programs in the 1950’s. It’s hard to imagine as we often find school and local celebrations beginning nearly as a week prior to Halloween night.
As for the tricks, there seems to be plenty of candy to ward off even the most motivated tricksters.
Today, we celebrate this holiday with a light-hearted and jovial nod to fun while often forgetting the superstitions and history of this observance.
THG wishes you Happy Halloween………….with no tricks and lots of treats!