Life & English: Trick or Treating

“Trick or Treating” is a Halloween custom for children and adults in many countries. It usually occurs on the evening of October 31. Children in costumes travel from house-to-house, asking for treats with the phrase "Trick or treat". The "treat" is usually some form of candy, although, in some cultures, money is used instead. Some homeowners signal that they are willing to hand out treats by putting up Halloween decorations outside their doors. The "trick" is a usually idle threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given.

“Trick or Treating” at the White House, Oct-2017 (Source: NY Times)

“Trick or Treating” has been a Halloween tradition since the late 1920s in Canada and United States. In Britain and Ireland the tradition of going house-to-house collecting food at Halloween goes back at least as far as the 16th century, as had the tradition of people wearing costumes at Halloween. In more recent years, the practice has spread to almost any house within a neighbourhood being visited by children, including senior residences and condominiums. People decorate their homes for Halloween, when homes would like to participate in handing out candy, a porch light is usually left on to signify that a home is handing out candy.

“Trick or Treating” usually happens between 5:30pm and 9:30pm on October 31, although some municipalities choose other dates. Homeowners wishing to participate in it sometimes decorate their private entrances with artificial spider webs, plastic skeletons and jack-o-lanterns. Some rather reluctant homeowners would simply leave the candy in bowls on their porches for the children to take freely.

- Edit by QM -

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