Many countries recognize this as a traditional activity on Halloween. Some cultures offer candy, while a few offer money. A lot of children also utter the phrase “trick or treat” as they knock on doors. The trick isn’t performed very often so it’s sort of a ritual. In North America,
trick-or-treating has been around since the 1950s. If a homeowner decorates their front door with Halloween accessories, and leaves the porch light on, then that’s usually an indication that they have candy to give out.
Trick-or-treating started in Ireland and Britain with something called souling. The poor and children would say prayers for the deceased and sing, and in return people would give out cakes. Costume wearing started with guising (disguising?), and the young ones went door to door in Scotland around 1895. In disguises, they would visit homes and carry lanterns carved from turnips and receive money, fruit and cakes. Actually saying trick or treat is a mainly North American tradition.
Ireland, Canada, the UK and the US, and Puerto Rico celebrate Halloween this way. Central and Northwestern Mexico also have it. People there call it Little Skull and kids ask: Can you give me my little skull? They will receive a small skull-shaped candy in sugar or chocolate. Prior to 1940, the term trick or treat was used mostly in Canada and the US. The term was introduced to the UK in the 1980s, but often it’s not welcome. In Ireland and Scotland dressing up and being given sweets is considered normal on Halloween.
Dressing up and going door to door in Scotland started around 1895 and costumed children and adults would take lanterns made from turnips to each house and after knocking on the door, receive fruit, cakes, and money. Boys used to visit some of the wealthier homes in the 1920s, where the benefits were no doubt more generous. Dressing up and going door to door on Halloween is still popular with the Irish and the Scots. In the US, churches may sponsor Trunk or Treat which is done in a parking lot. Parents feel this is safer as kids visit different car trunks and receive candy and decorations.
Treats received when trick or treating have changed throughout the years because of changing society. It used to be in the fifties, that children enjoyed homemade candy apples or homemade brownies or cookies Everything now is made safer by pre-wrapped and manufactured candy being doled out to the trick-or-treaters. If a homeowner wants to show a bit of individualism on Halloween, they can purchase treat bags and insert four of five pieces of candy into them, then seal with a little Halloween sticker.
Individual bags can be made by purchasing brown bags from a craft store and then decorating them. This would work if they’re aren’t a hundred children stopping by. It’s a wonderful idea for a home thrown party and these hand decorated bags and homemade candy will be enjoyed as party favors by children, for as long as it takes them to eat the treats. Most estimates put that around an hour after the kids get home.
If children go out into a neighborhood trick or treating, the youngest ones should be trailed closely by a parent. If older children or teens go in a group then all candy should still be checked at home. This can be why a party and candy treats are perhaps best enjoyed at home, where everyone knows each other. Children enjoy designing and making treat bags. They also enjoy choosing the candy to go in them. A little age-appropriate toy is also nice, plus perhaps a gold chocolate coin to celebrate those more ancient traditions of giving money.