Q:

Why do we pass out candy on Halloween?

A:

Quick Answer

The modern tradition of passing out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween is likely based on the medieval custom of "souling" on All Souls' Day. Early Christians made currant-topped desserts called "soul cakes" to honor their dead on All Souls' Day, and children would walk from house to house singing for the cakes. The children agreed to pray for the dead relatives of each person that gave them a soul cake.

  Know More
Why do we pass out candy on Halloween?
Credit: Jamal Fanaian CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

Combining rituals of Roman Catholicism, Celtic harvest festivals and paganism, the modern Halloween is a celebration of both secular and religious traditions. Trick-or-treating became popular in the United States in the 1940s.

The custom of dressing up in costume can be attributed to the more recent Scottish and Irish practice of "guising." In the late-19th century celebrations of Halloween in Europe, Scottish and Irish children would go door-to-door wearing disguises and perform a song or tell a joke for food or money. Scottish and Irish immigrants then brought this tradition to North America.

The phrase "trick-or-treat" as used to playfully threaten vandalism on Halloween is thought to have been first used in Canada in 1927. In certain parts of Mexico, children participate in a similar tradition. Children travel from door to door saying calaverita, which means "little skull" and has the same effect as saying "trick or treat."

Learn more about Cultures & Traditions

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How is the Day of the Dead similar to Halloween?

    A:

    The Day of the Dead, a holiday celebrated primarily in Mexico, is similar to Halloween in that both holidays occur back to back, both are rooted in festivals held by ancient peoples, both focus on death and both are celebrated with traditional foods.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do we get candy on Halloween?

    A:

    Candy is traditionally given out on Halloween to children who dress up in costumes and go door-to-door asking for candy in a custom known as trick-or-treating. It is increasingly common for children to trick-or-treat in retail stores, or to receive candy at church or community carnivals.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How much candy is sold on Halloween?

    A:

    Approximately 600 million pounds of candy are sold in the U.S. each year for Halloween, with 90 million pounds of that being chocolate sold just during the week immediately preceding Halloween. Americans spend $1.9 billion on Halloween candy each year.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How can I scare someone on Halloween?

    A:

    Ways to scare someone on Halloween include wearing a 3D-printed face mask, using a fake gushing wound or installing a video panel to broadcast scary video footage. These techniques all make use of modern technology and special effects to deliver scares.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore