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The History of Halloween Part IV

Published by Agustin Hayth

candy. Our neighborhood was so big, my friends and I wouldn’t take a plastic pumpkin, but instead a pillow case. Often we would do one half of the neighbor hood, stop by the house to empty the pillow case and go out again for the second half. It took us months to eat it all, but by Christmas we would have it mostly gone.

Dressing up in costumes and going door to door for treats goes back to the Middle Ages and includes Christmas wassailing (going door to door to sing Christmas Carols). Trick or treating most closely resembles the practice of souling, where the poor would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1st) and receive food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2nd). This started in Britain and Ireland and was even mentioned by Shakespeare in the play “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” (1593). The custom of wearing costumes goes back to the Celtic tradition of attempting to copy the dead souls in order to placate them.

The term trick or treat was confined to the western United States before 1940. After that it slowly made it’s way eastward until the sugar rationing of 1942 to 1947. The widespread use of the term didn’t make it to the east coast until 1952 when Walt Disney made the cartoon Trick or Treat.

In Scotland and northern England, children do what is known as guising. Children wear costumes, go door to door and tell a ghost story in order to receive their treats. The practice goes back to the middle ages but became associated with Halloween in the 20th century. As a matter of fact, guising has made it’s way to America and in some parts of the country is now practiced exclusively on Halloween.

Mystical Charm hopes you have a wonderful Halloween and spectacular Autumn season.

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