Good Question: Why do we say ‘trick or treat?’

It’s that time of year to start thinking about costumes and plans for Halloween
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 3:10 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Halloween is about a month away, and we are already asking about trick or treating.

It’s that time of year to start thinking about costumes and plans for Halloween.

This question came up in our newsroom.

Why do we say trick or treat?

Good question.

We did some research and it’s a pretty long and complicated history.

Here’s what we learned....

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the trick-or-treating tradition goes back to a Celtic tradition.

People believed that as we moved into a new year, the dead and the living would overlap.

So, the living would disguise themselves as demons to protect themselves from the dead.

They were essentially tricking the dead into thinking they were one of them.

The tradition continued and eventually, food became involved.

Poor people would sing or recite rhymes at neighbors’ doors and would be given food or treats in return.

So, there’s the origination of the tradition.

The earliest recorded examples of the “trick or treat” phrase come from Canadian newspapers in the 1920s.

The phrase appears to be a reference to tricking - or disguising yourself - and treating, getting a treat at people’s doors.

It seems to have just evolved over the years.

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