The evolution of Halloween and trick or treating
Today’s popular holiday began as practices that are long gone, but their revisions live on in heavily altered versions as Halloween’s Trick or Treat.
What is today known as Trick or Treating began as a way for people in foreign countries to commemorate the dead (Roman Feralia festival), honor the goddess of fruit and trees (Roman Pomona festival) or commemorate the end of summer (Samhain).
Without getting too deep into the particulars of those traditions, which were varied and most of which had no, if any, loose version of trick or treating, the first known occurrence of trick or treating in America is attributed to the Scottish and Irish practice of guising in the early 1900s.
The use of costumes we see today is said to have began in the 1920s and 30s, but waned in the wake of WWII due to sugar rationing.
When the rationing ended, the popularity of the practice is said to have skyrocketed.
Now a holiday practiced in other countries, also in altered forms, some people may list Halloween as their favorite holiday.
Their reasons may vary. If you ask a child it would be because of all the free candy. Or maybe it’s the ability to pretend to be a favorite superhero or a princess for a night. Adults may allude to the many parties and gatherings that are held.
Today the holiday is a revenue generator, amounting to close to $3 billion worth of costume sales and $2 billion in candy sales, making it the second most profitable holiday, according to some sources.
But as trends emerge, so do changes. Recently some organizations have begun to implement Trunk or Treat events as a safer and more convenient way for children to get free treats. But this practice takes something away from the experience many of us recall from our childhood, going door to door to intricately, and sometimes shoddily, decorated homes within your neighborhood.
No matter your preference of celebration, keep it a safe one.