The History of ‘Trick or Treating’ at Halloween
Sometimes random thoughts just “pop” in my head, just ask all my co-workers. Well I had this random thought last night – who is the genius that came up with the concept of trick or treating? As a kid, not many things are cooler than going house to house and getting free candy! From everything I’ve read about the Halloween tradition, it’s been around for over 100 years,and not just in the U.S. but other countries too.
One theory about the origin of trick-or-treating,is the practice started in ninth-century Europe, and was called “souling”. “Souling” would occur on All Soul’s Day, where Christians would walk from town to town asking for square biscuits with currants, called “soul cakes.” The beggars would promise to offer prayers for the giver’s dead relatives in purgatory. The generosity of the donor affected the number of prayers the beggars would give. This theory seems a little “creepy” to me so I went looking for another theory. I found this one – Scotland and Ireland, trick-or-treating was called “guising” since children went from house to house in disguise. The children would receive food or money as they went door to door. Money?! Now this theory is the one I like.
I found a lot of information, but it didn’t really answer my question, “Who came up with the concept of trick – or treating?” I guess it doesn’t matter, just as long as we continue with the tradition. Trick – or treating is one of my favorite childhood memories.
Here’s a fun fact – In 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated there was 41 million trick-or-treaters ages 5 to 14. Parents spent $1 billion on children’s costumes. The best-selling costumes in 2012 were witches, princesses, pirates and Spider-Man.
The picture is me and my friend Leslie, I think I made a pretty good pirate Arrgh!