by Jourdyn Heilinger, Staff Writer
Up and down every street lurk greedy little monsters. Ghouls and ghosts creep
around every corner. Slowly, they sneak up to the house; they reach out a
tiny hand and place a single knock on the door. As an old man approaches the
door, he is greeted with the shrieks of the miniature goblins, “TRICK-OR-TREAT!?”
Halloween is a beloved holiday for people young and old. But how did it all start? Why do we dress up in costumes and parade around our neighborhoods begging for sweets?
The phrase “trick-or-treat” was not popular until the1930’s. Young trouble makers would approach houses and demand a treat. If the treat was refused, then the children would play some sort of prank, or trick, on the house. Most people would willingly give out donuts, cookies, apples, or other various sweets to avoid the “trick.”
Every year on October 31, millions of children across the U.S. dress up in costumes and take to the streets for a spooky dose of Trick-or-Treat fun. However, America is not the only country that goes trick-or-treating. Many countries around the world including Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand also participate in the beloved tradition.
Trick-or-treating can also be traced back to the Middle Ages in European nations. On All Souls Day poor folk would go door-to-door, begging for food. Families would give them “soul cakes.” These cakes were what eventually evolved into the miniature candy bars we receive today. In return for the food, they would pray for the family’s deceased loved ones.
The actual holiday originated in what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Northern France. The Celtic people lived in this area around 2,000 years ago. They celebrated their new year on November 1. On this night, the Celts believed that the boundary between the living and the dead could be crossed. They thought on October 31 the ghosts of their loved ones could return to Earth. This holiday was called Samhain. With the presence of these spirits, people thought it was easier for the Druids, Celtic priests, to predict the future. Celts dressed in costumes, gathered around huge, sacred bonfires, and attempted to tell each others’ futures. When they went out on the night of October 31, they feared that they would run into the spirits. In order to avoid such a situation, they would wear masks so ghosts wouldn’t recognize them.
“Personally, Halloween is my favorite holiday. If you are with the program you get to act like a kid again. It’s great!” said Mr. Joe Marino, Whirlwind advisor and costume lover!