With another Halloween just several days away I have found myself engaging in some research as to Halloween and it’s origins and how it has changed over the centuries. Heck, Halloween has changed quite a bit since I was even a youngster going door to door asking for treats.
Most people probably are aware of Halloween’s pagan beginnings but I was surprised to learn the origins for going door to door collecting treats may have started once upon a time in Ireland. Hundreds of years ago Irish farmers went door to door collecting food to hold a village feast. Farmers who donated to this cause received good wishes for prosperity and those who did not give were threatened with bad luck. It is believed that when the Irish immigrated to America the custom of going door to door may have evolved into the trick or treating tradition we follow today.
Pumpkin carving actually may have it’s roots with the Emerald Isle although the tradition in Ireland was for a hollowed out turnip with a lit candle inside be placed on a porch or outside a home to scare away evil spirits. After moving to America, pumpkins proved more plentiful than turnips and thus the Jack-o-Lantern may have come about. By the way there is more info on Halloween at https://www.allaboutgod.com/history-of-halloween-christian-perspective-faq.htm
When I was a youngster I walked block to block thru-out my Philadelphia neighborhood knocking on doors and looking for treats. In those days anything went as far as costumes and some outfits were very original and were mostly home made. A few I remember fondly include:
1- The Booger: A child wears a black plastic trash bag that has been covered with Vaseline.
2- The Flasher: For only the heartiest of souls since autumn nights can be cold, wear a pair of shorts and your Dad’s raincoat. Open coat as needed.
3- The Ghost: Easy to make since a white sheet was all the material needed.
There were also Cowboys, Soldiers. Cowgirls and Princesses among the children who wandered from house to house usually under the watchful eye of a parent or two. I also fondly remember accompanying my children on their trick-or-treating excursions and dressing up in a costume to give candy away when trick-or-treaters knocked at my door. One Halloween especially found me in a devil mask. A group of kids knocked at my door and I stood face to face with a child about 7 years old who was wearing the same exact mask I had on. When it was his turn for treats he opened his bag uttered “Trick or Treat” and then said make it the good stuff Dad in reference to our Halloween resemblance. I gave him a ton a candy.
Anyway that is some Halloween items and memories of mine. Please free feel to share any you may have.