If you grew up in Ireland in the 80s and 90s, there’s a good chance you dressed up and spent a few hours trick-or-treating on Halloween.
There was much excitement about costumes leading up to the big night – nobody wanted to be stuck with the black plastic bag for a third year in a row – but nobody questioned why it was done.
Have you ever wondered where the custom of trick or treating came from?
Well, it has its roots, like most Halloween traditions, in Samhain – the ancient Celtic festival celebrating the dead. People at the time believed that the dead still roamed the earth and in order to appease the spirits, they dressed up in white sheets with blackened faces and gave offerings of food and drink.
This later developed into a custom where children would go from door to door offering to pray for the souls of the dead in return for a soul cake – a flattened bread containing fruit. It became known as ‘Souling‘.
However, the earliest mention of the term ‘trick-or-treat’ dates back to 1927, where it was referenced in the November 4th edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald.
These days, most children arrive at the front door with their parents hovering closely behind and simply stick out their bags and baskets for whatever goodies you’re offering.
And while it’s a nice thing to admire their costumes and give them something for the trouble they went to, we reckon it’s no harm to ask a few of them to tell you a joke or sing a song in exchange for their treat!