The ‘Ghostly’ (Hi)Story of Trick-or-Treating

Are you ready for all the trick-or-treaters that are going to be ringing your bell this Halloween? Nowadays trick-or-treating and Halloween go hand-in-hand, but that wasn’t always the case.

Origins of Trick-or-Treating
Historians trace Halloween’s origins back thousands of years ago to the Celtic festival of Samhain. The Celts believed that dead returned to earth on October 31st. They would light fires and offer fruit, vegetable and animal sacrifices to the dead on this day.

Hundreds of years later, the practice of ‘mumming’ popped up. People would dress up in costumes (such as demons or ghosts) and perform ‘tricks’ for drinks or food. This is likely one of the earliest examples of modern-day trick-or-treating.

As the years progressed, similar customs popped up all around Europe. In England, poor people would go to the doors of the wealthy and offer to pray for their dead loved ones in exchange for soul cakes. And in Scotland and Ireland, young people would dress up in costumes and do some sort of trick, such as singing, for treats such as food, drink or money.

Trick-or-Treating in the U.S.
European immigrants brought a lot of these traditions to the U.S. and the modern version of Halloween began to take shape. Though trick-or-treating didn’t become a common practice in the U.S until the 1940s. That’s right; today’s Halloween hasn’t even been around for a century!

While trick-or-treating is a blast, it can also lead to some unhealthy choices – mainly eating too much sugar. Here are some easy ways you can prevent your little monsters from eating too many treats:

  • Feed them a well-balanced meal before they head out the door
  • Give them a smaller bag or bucket to limit the amount of candy they collect
  • Portion out the candy when they get home
  • Keep the leftover out of sight

What are your family’s traditions on Halloween? Tell us about your special treats in the comments.

Source: History Channel, Library of Congress

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