Can I go Trick or Treating, too? I’m ready!

Trick or Treat!

Remembering the excitement of trick or treating

Halloween has finally arrived and people across the Mohawk Valley, young and old, big and small, are excited join in the Halloween tradition of “Trick or Treating!”

I remember my first time going trick or treating with my Mom and brothers. It was so much fun! We dressed up in costumes and went door to door to our neighbors, knocked or rang the bell and gleefully said, “Trick or Treat!” 

As we got just a little bit older we could go out without our mom joining us. (Twas a different time.) My brothers and our friends would strategize and plan how to make the most of the hours we had for Trick or Treating. We got together and discussed which neighborhood had the best candy, we set early departure times and meet up locations to ensure we got first dibs before folks ran out of candy, and how to get back home in time. After getting home and relishing in the treasure we received, I remember trying to see how I could make the Halloween candy last as long as possible. 

As adults, the fun was in the planning, making, and then seeing all of the kids’ costumes. Decorations went up and we learned to strategize how much candy to buy so we didn’t run out, but didn’t want have too much left over, either.

Thinking back on the fun of Trick or treating with family and friends, I ask myself how did this all begin?

Early Beginnings of Trick or Treat!

Much of what we refer to as Trick or Treating can be traced back to the the Scotch/Irish tradition of “Guising” This tradition originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. As the name implies, guising is dressing up in disguises to hide your identity.

This happened each year toward the end of summer, back when the belief was that the souls of the deceased found themselves drifting back and forth between this world and the next. Sometimes, disgruntled spirits might want to take revenge on those who had wronged them in life. So to help hide from the unhappy spirits people would dress up in different “guises” to hide who they were.

Jump across the Pond

Eventually Guising and other traditions evolved to something more familiar to Halloween and Trick or Treating” came along for the ride, albeit changed slightly.

I wasn’t until after WWII and the development of suburban neighborhoods that Trick or Treating became a regular part of the Halloween tradition in the U.S. After the war, more homes were built in neighborhoods near cities. Populations generally drifted to living closer together to be near shops, schools, and services as a matter of convenience.

The development of suburbia certainly made it easier trick or treaters to collect their treats and enjoy time with family for an evening of fun in their community.

So as Halloween and Trick or Treating celebrations happen across the Mohawk Valley we wish you all a great time out in our local communities

Happy Halloween!

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