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History of Trick-or-Treating



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Now living in Pavilion V, Cozart and Lampkin hand out glow necklaces “because we could not provide more candy to those poor kids because of the sugar highs that their parents would have to suffer through,” he said, chuckling. “So that is our personal commitment to the mental health of children’s parents.” In recent years, UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan has also helped hand out the goodies to children from the stoop of Pavilion V.

“For me, the most important thing is the number of children from the community,” Cozart said. “It’s really quite amazing, because it is a safe place where folks can come. I think that has real meaning for the institution because we are bringing folks in who wouldn’t necessarily have a great Halloween experience or trick-or-treating experience without that.”

School of Nursing Dean Dorrie Fontaine and her husband, Barry, have been serving post-trick-or-treating vittles to Lawn residents, administrators and Pavilion occupants in recent years.

“We get to see firsthand all the bustle of the thousands who spend their Halloween with UVA going door-to-door to trick-or-treat,” said Fontaine, who’s lived in Pavilion IX since 2010. “But there’s a lot of planning and work that goes into the event that many folks don’t see and aren’t aware of that deserves praise.

“A warm dinner for our fellow Lawnies is our way of recognizing the incredible efforts of these most exceptional student neighbors,” she said. “This event is run by students, and jambalaya is just our small way of thanking them personally.


A Brief History of Trick-or Treating

Candy has substituted potatoes, apples, and nuts as the “currency” of halloween in modern day.

By Sherry Yan, Staff Writer
November 2, 2017

For centuries, Halloween has been recognized as a night full of mysteries. Among the numerous spooky Halloween traditions, such as carving pumpkins and visiting haunted attractions, is trick-or-treating — one of the most popular traditions among children. This famous Halloween activity has an intriguing and curious history that many people are unaware of.

There are various explanations for the origin of this custom. The most prevalent belief is that Celtics celebrated the festival of Samhain because they believed that souls of the dead would return to the earth on Samhain, a day marking the beginning of winter. They disguised themselves in costumes to ward off ghosts and offered food to appease those spirits. In the Middle Ages, Mummers play performed door-to-door. In Ireland, Scotland and Britain, people wore exaggerated costumes to perform in exchange for food and drinks.

In terms of treats, instead of candy, apples, nuts, potatoes and vegetables used to play a much more significant role hundreds of years ago. Apples and nuts were the guest of honor at celebrations such as Snap Apple Night and Nut Crack Night, respectively, which were held throughout northern Europe. In some areas of Canada, children say “Halloween apple” instead of the classic “trick-or-treat.” Potatoes were sliced, diced and mashed into a variety of dishes, such as “colcannon” with cabbage and kale, “champ” loaded with butter and “boxty pancakes” whipped with eggs. In the United States, vegetables, especially pumpkins, were made into lanterns and left in windows to pray for wandering souls at night. However, the pumpkins were not eaten. Instead, they made pumpkin cheese, pumpkin pie or sweet pumpkin, and dried the seeds as snacks.

The custom of trick-or-treating still varies in different regions all over the world to this day. As anything is possible when it comes to Halloween treats in the modern day, WSN spoke to NYU students to find out what their ideal treats would be.

LS freshman Julienne Chings wanted a very specific sugary dessert as a Halloween snack

“Given a chance to choose, I would prefer bloody creme brulee as a Halloween treat,” Ching said.

CAS freshman Alex Bradford said he wants innovative treats for Halloween.

“I am not really into those historical Halloween treats,” Bradford said. “I am a chocolate person, so anything chocolate I will eat. For example, caramel apple dipped in white or milk chocolate sounds interesting to me.”

No matter what kind of treats people prefer, the most important thing for Halloween is to enjoy the festive atmosphere on the last night of October. And remember, when you’re asked the question, “Trick or Treat,” always pick treat.


The 1930s and 1940s: a dark time for trick or treating

In her thorough and compelling article “Gangsters, Pranksters, and the Invention of Trick-or-Treating, 1930–1960,” Samira Kawash explains that “Throughout North America in the early twentieth century, communities celebrated Halloween in ways that incorporated some or all of these [traditions]. The fundamentals of trick-or-treating were all in place, but they had not yet to come together in a single ritual.”

One “fundamental” that seems to have been in place was that of small groups of children, mostly boys, going around their neighborhoods and pulling pranks. Newspaper articles from the 1930s and 1940s about the holiday highlight the surprise of some people to have children “begging” for treats on October 31st, and annoyance at the mischief. Due to the economic stressors of the time, it is well documented that young boys often went unsupervised and at Halloween, many seem to have required little encouragement to be especially naughty. Kawash notes possibly a dozen newspaper articles from the 1930s documenting the various crimes perpetrated by children as a part of their “trick or treating” exploits. A Nevada newspaper from 1939 reported on a group of children who asked for candy and fruit from neighbors and when denied, “soaped” the windows.

A 1934 Montana paper, on the other hand, highlights how serious and irritating the youth had become: “The ‘pranks’ Wednesday evening were to be staged in a different way than in former years. This particular gang meant business. . . . No foolishness would be tolerated—citizens would meet the demands of the gang or suffer the consequences.” I have also seen references to children smashing a birdbath, doorbell ditching, burning items, toilet-papering porches, emptying dumpsters, and more. So, what gives? Kawash suggests that “With pranks on Halloween, young people retaliated for the powerlessness they experienced on the other days of the year.”

If they felt powerless, they would soon trade it in for patriotism and rising to the occasion. When WWI hit, some communities encouraged their young people to take pledges to behave on Halloween as a tribute to the troops. Additionally, churches and community groups had figured out that planning parties to distract and entertain children on Halloween would keep them from running wild, and the out of control nature of trick or treating was reigned in.


Competition for a Pagan Festival

After the Roman occupation of England, and the subsequent legalization of Christianity during the reign of Constantine and Licinius, ancient Celtic practices came under pressure. St. Patrick brought the gospel to Ireland, and later, converted Irish monks carried the new faith to Scotland.

In the Christian liturgical calendar, Halloween (also known as “All Hallow’s Eve”) comes just before “All Saints Day,” which is celebrated on November 1 in the western church. It is a very old Christian festival the earliest reference to its existence is found in the writings of Ephrem the Syrian (died 373). John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople (died 407), noted that the eastern churches celebrated the feast on the Sunday after Pentecost, which is also the eighth Sunday after Easter. The feast honors the saints and martyrs, the women and men who — through the exemplary excellence of their lives — offered salutary examples for the living.

Although the day was celebrated in the eastern half of the church since the fourth century, there are no references to it until the seventh century in the West. Pope Boniface IV wanted to convert the Roman Pantheon — a temple dedicated to “all the gods” — into a Christian church. Marcus Agrippa, Emperor Augustus’ right-hand man built the original temple and Emperor Hadrian remodeled it in the second century. During the medieval period, the building belonged to the Byzantine Emperor, Phocas. Pope Boniface IV asked the emperor to allow him to rededicate the pagan temple as a church. The emperor agreed, and on All Saints’ Day, May 13, 609, Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon, changing its name to the Church of Saint Mary and the Martyrs. The church in Rome marked the consecration each year on May 13, which established the feast of All Saints’ Day in the western liturgical calendar.

Pope Gregory III (731–741) dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica to “All the Saints” on November 1, and over time, the western church drifted toward celebrating the feast in autumn. Pope Gregory IV (827–844) made it official, assigning the feast to November 1. Although the pope’s decision was not motivated by a desire to compete with Samhain, the western reassignment of the date did bring the two holidays into conflict.


This Is Why We Give Out Candy on Halloween

While Halloween means different things to different people, most would agree it's the one day of the year when it's socially acceptable for American children to roam the streets begging for candy. We're talking about trick-or-treating, of course. But trick-or-treating isn't even close to how Halloween was once celebrated in this country. Here, we'll break down the history of trick or treating, because it really is fascinating how the Halloween tradition came about.

Halloween's origins are subject to some debate among historians, but they end up falling into two schools of thought. One is that the holiday began as a pagan festival. The other is that Halloween started as a pious Christian celebration, All Hallows' Eve. As the day before All Saints' Day on November 1, October 31 was originally a solemn celebration.

But Halloween as we know it is a mashup of both pagan and Christian influences, as filtered through American culture and history.

What is Halloween's pagan influence?

Halloween takes its name from All Hallows' Eve, but it has some decidedly pagan influences, too. (After all, All Hallows' Eve originally fell in May before Pope Boniface IV moved the date to November 1 in the seventh century C.E.)

October 31, though, was the date of the Celtic festival of "Samhain" (literally "summer's end"), which dates back to at least the ninth century B.C.E. Samhain marked the cusp between summer and winter, warmth and cold, light and darkness. For the ancient Celts, that translated into a "rift in reality" in which otherworldly beings were free to roam the Earth in search of living bodies to possess.

It gets even weirder from there, and this might be the origin of today's Halloween costumes. To confuse and deter the inhuman beings from taking their bodies, the Celts disguised themselves in animal skins and animal heads. They also gathered in crowds to feast on and make burnt offerings of the animals they'd slain.

As such, Halloween's association with food and spookiness can be traced to Samhain, Halloween historian C. Lesley Bannatyne notes on her website. The same can be said of its association with costumes and neighborhood gatherings.

What about Halloween's Christian connection?

All Saints' Day can be traced to the fourth century C.E. when Christianity was first legalized, and it involved the bread and wine of Holy Communion.

By the Middle Ages, All Saints' Day had evolved to include alms for the poor. And by the 16th century, people had taken to going from door to door, asking for "soul cakes" (a sweet pastry) in exchange for prayers for the dead.

Costumes were involved, more or less, depending on local custom, and so too was the threat of mischief (i.e., tricks), if the sweet "treat" wasn't forthcoming. Somewhere along the way, the cakes became candy, and the tradition lost its original tie to the practice of charitable giving. Some children, though, carry on the spirit of giving today, with programs like Trick-or-Treat for Unicef.

What's the history of trick-or-treating as we know it?

Traditions distilled from All Saints' Day and Samhain underwent a further transformation in the United States, especially after the Irish began fleeing famine by the millions. Drawing on Celtic tradition, Irish-American immigrants introduced fireside ghost stories and divination. Borrowing from Christian traditions, Americans began dressing up in costumes and going from house-to-house, "begging" for food or even money.

Still, it wasn't really "trick-or-treating" until the 1950s, when candy giant Mars, Inc., launched a major marketing campaign suggesting that children would be everywhere on October 31, in search of "tricks or treats," according to Bannatyne. Parents everywhere prepared for the onslaught of candy-seekers by buying loads of candy to give out and turning on their porch lights to mark themselves as participants. Believing it to be "the thing to do," they sent their own children off in costumes to "trick or treat."

Halloween is still the "Candy Holiday" today

Mars was ahead of the curve, but other candy manufacturers cashed in on the growing popularity of "trick-or-treating," too. And many food manufacturers decided to claim their piece of the Halloween business by adding candy to their offerings.

In 1965, industry profits for Halloween totaled $300 million, according to Bannatyne. By 2018, Americans spent roughly $9 billion on Halloween.

What will this year's Halloween bring? Only the spirits can say, but Halloween candy is pretty much a given.


History of Trick-or-Treating - HISTORY

The vast majority of the traditions commonly associated with Halloween today are borrowed or adapted from four different festivals, namely:

  • The Roman Feralia festival, commemorating the dead
  • The Roman Pomona festival, honoring the goddess of fruit and trees
  • The Celtic festival Samuin, meaning “summer’s end”, (also called “Samhain”) which the bulk of Halloween traditions ultimately stem from
  • The Catholic “All Soul’s Day” and “All Saints’ Day”, which was instigated around 800 by the Church to try to replace Samuin

The practice of wearing costumes or masks during this sort of end of Autumn celebration comes from a Celtic end of year (they celebrated their New Year on November 1) Samuin tradition. During Samuin, young men impersonating evil spirits by dressing up in white costumes with blackened faces or masks. It was believed that during the transition from one year to the next, the realms of the living and the dead would overlap allowing the dead to roam the Earth again. Thus, by dressing up as spirits, they were trying to fool actual spirits into thinking they were as well, which is particularly helpful when encountering evil spirits.

Beginning in the 8th century, the Catholic Church was trying to provide an activity that would hopefully stamp out the old Samuin traditions. They came up with “All Hallows Even (evening)”, “All Soul’s Day”, and “All Saints’ Day”. Many of the traditions of Samuin were then adapted into these festivities and by the 11th century, the Church had adapted the Celtic costume tradition to dressing up as saints, angels, or demons during this celebration.

As for the trick or treating, or “guising” (from “disguising”), traditions, beginning in the Middle-Ages, children and sometimes poor adults would dress up in the aforementioned costumes and go around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers, often said on behalf of the dead. This was called “souling” and the children were called “soulers”.

An example of a relatively recent (19th century) souling song is as follows:

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake!
Please good Missis, a soul-cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for Him who made us all.

As you might have guessed from the song, a common food given while souling was a Soul Cake (also sometimes known as a Harcake). Soul cakes were small round cakes, often with a cross marked on top, that represented a soul being freed from Purgatory when the cake was eaten. Soul cakes were generally sweet cakes, including such ingredients as nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and raisins.

Souling ultimately gave rise to guising in the U.K. starting in the 19th century, with children dressing up and begging for things like fruit and money. In order to earn this token, they’d often tell jokes, sing songs, play an instrument, recite a poem, or perform in some other way for the amusement, not unlike the old tradition of souling but instead of prayers, a performance was offered.

The practice of guising made its way to North America, probably brought over by the Scottish and Irish in the late 19th or early 20th century (first documented reference in 1911).

Trick or treating instead of guising on Halloween popped up in North America in the 1920s and 1930s, first in the western half of the continent. The term and the practice slowly spread, with a brief respite during WWII. After the WWII sugar rations were lifted, Halloween’s popularity saw a huge spike and within five years trick or treating was a near ubiquitous practice throughout North America.

Once guising morphed into trick or treating, children no longer performed for treats, but instead vandalized and extorted for their confectioneries. The earliest known reference to “trick or treat”, printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald, talks of this,

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.


History of Trick-or-Treating - HISTORY

Assign to Google Classroom

It's almost that time of year when children get into costume and traipse around the neighborhood. They ring doorbells and beg for treats. When you think about it, trick or treating is kind of a weird thing. Where did it come from anyway?

Today I Found Out discovered that the practice began with the Celtic tradition of celebrating the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. The Celts believed that, as we moved from one year to the next, the dead and the living would overlap. Demons would roam the earth again. Dressing up as demons was a defense mechanism. If you encountered a real demon roaming the Earth, they would think you were one of them.

Fast forward to when the Catholic Church was stealing everybody's holidays and trying to convert them. They turned the demon dress-up party into "All Hallows Eve," "All Soul's Day," and "All Saints Day." They had people dress up as saints, angels and still a few demons. Today I Found Out writes:

As for the trick or treating, or "guising" (from "disguising"), traditions, they began in the Middle Ages. Children and sometimes poor adults would dress up in the aforementioned costumes and go around door to door during Hallowmas. They'd beg for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers, often said on behalf of the dead. This was called "souling." The children were called "soulers".

You might think that this practice then simply migrated along with Europeans to the United States. But trick or treating didn't re-emerge until the 1920s and 1930s. and It paused for a bit during World War II because of sugar rations, but its now back in full force.

The term "trick or treat" dates back to 1927. Today I Found Out explains:
The earliest known reference to "trick or treat" was printed on November 4, 1927. It was in an 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.

The British hate Halloween, apparently. In 2006, a survey found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights. They pretend not to be home on Halloween. Yet another reason by the United States is happy to be free from British rule. No fun.


History of Trick-or-Treating - HISTORY

Assign to Google Classroom

It's almost that time of year. Children get into costume. They walk around the neighborhood. They ring doorbells. They beg for treats. Trick or treating is kind of strange. Where did it come from?

Today I Found Out took a look. It found that it began with a Celtic tradition. It celebrated the end of the year. People dressed up. They dressed as evil spirits. Here is what the Celts believed. We move from one year to the next. And the dead and the living overlap. Demons would roam the earth again. Dressing up as demons was a defense tool. You might encounter a real demon. It might roam the Earth. If you were dressed up they would think you were one of them.

Fast forward to when the Catholic Church was stealing everybody's holidays. They were trying to convert them. They turned the demon dress-up party into "All Hallows Eve." It's also known as "All Soul's Day." And it is called "All Saints Day." They had people dress up. They dressed as saints. They dressed as angels. There were some people who still dressed as demons.

Trick or treating is known as "guising." It comes from "disguising." These traditions began in the Middle Ages. Children would dress up. They would wear the costumes mentioned above. Sometimes poor adults did too. They would go around. They would go from door to door. This was during Hallowmas. They'd beg for food. They'd beg for money. This was in exchange for songs. It was also in exchange for prayers. They were often said on behalf of the dead. This was called "souling." The children were called "soulers".

You might think that this practice then simply moved along with Europeans to the United States. But trick or treating didn't re-emerge until the 1920s and 1930s. It paused for a bit. That was during World War II. It was because of sugar rations. But it is now back in full force.

The term "trick or treat" dates back to 1927. Today I Found Out explained.
The earliest known reference to "trick or treat" was printed on November 4, 1927. It was in an 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. They had to hunt for wagon wheels. Gates. Wagons. Barrels. Much of which decorated the front street. The youthful tormentors were at back door and front. They were demanding edible plunder. They used the word "trick or treat." The inmates gladly responded. And sent the robbers away rejoicing."

The British hate Halloween. That's according to a survey. It found that over half of British homeowners turn off their lights. They pretend not to be home. That's on Halloween.


Thank you!

But after the Protestant Reformation &mdash which can be traced back to a different Oct. 31 event: Martin Luther’s 1517 publication of his 95 theses &mdash the idea that souls could be saved in this way began to lose popularity in many of the new denominations.

Some Catholics kept up the practice of going door-to-door on the eve of All Saints’ Day, which became known as “souling.” By the 1840s, when a wave of Irish and Scottish immigrants brought the custom to the U.S., it was basically a secular pastime associated with that immigrant population. Young people danced outside tenement apartments in exchange for gifts, leading into a night of drinking and revelry in the streets and in bars. Costumes were made out of old clothes, and faces painted with burnt corks, while tricks included stuffing cabbages in chimneys and whacking each other with bags of flour.

Although the Catholic Irish faced widespread prejudice from nativist forces in their new homeland, the celebration, having been stripped of its Catholic underpinning, quickly proved to be popular. As those immigrants began to assimilate, newspapers reported the custom trending among 19th century college students. In the early 1900s, high schools, rotary clubs and charities began to throw Halloween parties, and guidebooks about how to host such celebrations came out. By the 1930s, North America had a new term for the old tradition: trick-or-treating. And as suburbanization grew in the 1950s, trick-or-treating grew into the kid-friendly practice it’s largely seen as today.


Watch the video: The History of Trick or Treating (December 2021).