Be aware of the little monsters, Frankensteins, witches, and ghosts that will knock on your door tomorrow. Halloween is much fun, not only for the kids. Getting dressed and getting lots of sweets – who can not like that? More than 90 % of all children and teenagers in the United States do trick or treating. Going from house to house is an old tradition going back to the 16th century. But where does the famous phrase come from and what’s the origin of Halloween?
Once a year everyone can be whoever he wants. A superhero, a princess, or a bad guy? Maybe someone from Star Trek, a villain, or a walking skeleton? All is possible on Halloween. Not only kids get dressed, but also adults love to wear a costume once a year and forget the everyday sorrows.
Back in the 16th century people from Ireland and countries that nowadays belong to Great Britain went from door to door and in exchange of food they performed short plays. The Celtic festival Samhain, from October 31 – November 1, marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter. The church made November 1 All Saints’ Day. Celtic speaking people thought that the day before November 1 the souls and spirits of dead people come to earth asking for food.
It is suggested that people impersonated the spirits, receiving something to eat or drink on behalf of them. The people believed that this will protect them from the souls and spirits. So called soul cakes, small round cakes that were referred to as souls, were given to children or the poor. They sang and said prayers for the givers.
The wearing of costumes had first been recorded in Scotland in the 16th century and later in other parts of Britain and Ireland. Kids were sent from door to door reciting verses in exchange for food. If the house owners donated something they would expect good fortune, if not they would be pursued by misfortune. Guising, which comes from the word disguise, was first recorded in North America in 1911. Since then going from door to door has become more and more popular among kids in the U.S.
Being a representatitive of the dead and frightening other people will give the kids a higher chance to get some sweets. Some still say some verses, but most children only ask “trick or treat?”. The term was used for the first time in an American publication in 1939. It was depicted in a Peanuts comic strip in 1951 and in the Walt Disney cartoon Trick or Treat in 1952. The origin of the concept of trick or treating comes from Britain and Ireland, the term from the U.S. Since the 1980s Halloween is celebrated the way it’s known today.
These days it’s also everywhere on Social Media. Teenagers show their costumes on Instagram, parents write about decoration ideas or share special ‘scary’ recipes. So far, trick or treating itself doesn’t happen on the Internet. Or does it in a slightly different version already every day? When kids go from one Instagram account to another and ask for a like or nice word. If they get it, they’ll be happy and if not, well… What can be a better candy than being nice?