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Of tricks and treats

Tamara Miller

While modern-day Halloween traditions may run afront of some Christian beliefs, the holiday’s origins do lie somewhat in the Christian faith.

The Scottish are credited with the holiday, “All Hallow’s Eve”, which is supposed to fall the day before “All Hallow’s Day”, otherwise known as All Saint’s Day. It’s no coincidence that Halloween, which is Oct. 31, falls very close to the Catholic All Saint’s Day, which is Nov. 1, said Michael Preston, an English professor for the University of Colorado.

Other sources of Halloween traditions, according to Preston:

– In 9th century Europe, Christians walked door-to-door asking for biscuits and offering to pray for the donor’s dead relatives, creating the custom of trick-or-treating.

– Trick-or-treating in America started in the 1930s as an attempt to deter more harmful types of Halloween mischief.

– Jack-o-lanterns are an Irish tradition, brought over by Irish immigrants.

– Citizens in southern England carved turnips instead.

– Begging for treats wasn’t always limited to just Halloween. Children used to go door-to-door on Easter, as well.

– Wearing costumes on Halloween may have been inspired by the English as well. Working men in England used to go door-to-door in costume, giving out food, drinks and entertainment in exchange for money. Home owners who denied their services usually were “tricked,” Preston said.


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