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History of "Trick or Treating"


Soul! Soul! Or a soul cake.

Pray, good mistress, for a soul cake.

One for Peter, two for Paul

Three for them that made us all.

Soul! Soul! Or an apple or two.

If you’ve got no apples, pears will do.

Up with your kettle, and down with your pan

Give me a good big one, and I’ll be gone.

Soul! Soul! Or a soul cake.

An apple or pear, a plum or cherry,

Is a very good thin to make us merry.

Soul! Soul! Or a soul cake.

Author Unknown

The story behind trick or treating dates to the earliest Celtic times when people for the holiday of Samhain wore masks when droughts or diseases or other disasters struck. During the celebration of Samhain, the veil between the living and the dead are at its thinnest. By wearing the hideous masks many believed that they blended with the dead and would scare off the demons that brought about their misfortunes.

Similar practices went on throughout Europe starting about the 9th century. This was called “Souling”, it was practice in parts of England, by Christians on November 2nd, All Souls Day. The poor would travel from village to village and house to house singing and begging for soul cakes or money, fruit, and nuts. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they promised to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. It was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, would expedite a soul's admittance into heaven.

In Scotland and the North of England, it is called “guising” because of the disguise or costume worn by the children. However, there is a significant difference from the way the practice has developed in the States. In Scotland, the children are only supposed to receive treats if they perform tricks for the households they go to. These tricks normally take the form of a simple joke, song, or funny poem which the child has memorized before setting out. Occasionally a more talented child may do card tricks, play the mouth organ, or something even more impressive, but most children will earn plenty of treats even with something very simple.

The Irish brought Halloween to America in the 1840's and combined the practices into what we now call “Trick-of-Treating." Kids would receive candy, or else they would play a prank or trick on the homeowner. Halloween didn’t really catch on in American until 1910, when A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6.9 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country's second largest commercial holiday and for many stores kicking off the holiday season, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.

Some additional fun facts for the Halloween season: Now that the COVID Vaccine has been provided.

  • 82% of people – and 93% of young parents – plan to celebrate Halloween this year.

  • 80% of Americans plan to trick-or-treat in 2021.

  • 82% of people are confident they will find safe and creative ways to celebrate the Halloween season.

  • 79% of Americans say they plan to fill a Halloween candy bowl this season.

Welcome Back the Celebration of Holidays! Starting with Halloween...


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