Trick or Treat!

October 31, 2010

Ever wonder why the kids who knock on your door every Halloween night utter the words, “Trick or treat?” while holding out their bags (or pillowcases), expecting you to fill them with candy? As Halloween night fell this year, I decided to do a little research.

One website,, indicates that the term “trick or treat” first appeared in an Oregon newspaper in the 1930s. However, it wasn’t a pleasantry and didn’t refer to a respectful request for candy. Instead, it referred to the Halloween pranks that also seem to appear this time each year.*

Another website,, says the trick or treat tradition was started in Britain by the poor begging for handouts and that the term “trick or treat” was used after American children picked up the begging tradition during the Pioneer Days.**

And why the costumes, you ask? According to, costumes were used to defend against the ghosts of the dead.***

But isn’t Halloween sacrilegious? also indicates that the holiday began as one strongly tied to religion, as well as folk traditions. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the holiday became a primarily secular day.***

Words of the Week: Trick or Treat

Word to the Wise:  “Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls…”  Jeremiah 6:16

Disclaimer:  No animals were harmed in the creation of this blog….

*Martin, Gary. “Trick or Treat?”
** “Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet Give Me Something Good to Eat.”
*** “Halloween.”


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