The History Of Trick Or Treating

I'm twenty one so my trick or treating days have well and truly come to an end but I'll never forget what it felt to be left out doing the rounds of the neighbourhood singing for sweets. Say we'll go back ten years to when I was eleven, I remember this Halloween perfectly and always will. Myself and my best friend Aisling went around the avenue 'on the boogie' (I'll get to that in a few) and I remember this particular one because it was the year Aisling swung her basket upside down and we spent our night on our knees picking up her sweet and coins. I also don't think I ever laughed as much, two witches searching the streets for Aisling's Penney's and sweets. When that was done and we collected everything we could I was in to watch Twitches before going over to my cousins for the Halloween party, I was in the height of my Halloween obsession and trick or treating was always one of my favourite activities, never did I stop and say 'wait, why are we going around to our neighbours begging for sweets and threatening them with trick or treat?' why do we do such weird things and deem them as normal? Well, it wasn't long after that, that my nosiness got the best of me and I went about my day to find out everything there is to know about trick or treating.

I'll just quickly go back to 'going on the boogie' before I move on with the history and going on the boogie was what we called 'trick or treating' in Ireland back in the day. In my time you didn't get anything if you
went to a door and said 'Trick Or Treat' no you had to sing for your treat a song that went something like
'a penny for the boogie, the boogie, the boogie a penny for the boogie God bless you.
If you don't have a penny, a penny, a penny, if you don't have a penny then God bless you' 
I can't remember if those were the exact words but it was definitely something like that, there was no lazy way of getting your treats, if you wanted it you had to sing for it and that was that. Those were without a doubt the greatest days of my childhood... until of course your mother wanted you to put a coat over your new costume...and hide it...well I never!!!!
Anyway as times changed so did going on the boogie and unfortunately there seems to be less and less children out and about each year, as for the singing well that's really dead and gone but trick or treating in itself is very much here to stay if you ask me.

To understand exactly where 'trick or treating' comes from it would do you no harm in having a little read into the full story behind Halloween, I did a short blog post recently all about it which you can read here but the history of trick or treating is short and sweet (get it sweet...because you get sweets ;) )
Anyway it goes way back to the middle ages and trick or treaters aka the children were known as 'Soulers' and trick or treating was known as 'souling'. As we know the ordinary people used to dress up in costume to confuse and rebel against spirits during Samhain as this was the time they believed that spirits could come back and walk amongst the living.
The children and poor adults who would have been in costume would go from door to door 'souling' which meant they were begging for food or money whatever they could get and in exchange they would sing a song and promise to pray for the dead relatives of the families who gave them some money or food.
 Like I said in the beginning back in my day we would sing a song for our treat but wayyyy back then they song would have went something like -
''A soul! A soul! A soul -cake!
Please good missus, a soul cake!
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing  to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul
Three for him who made us all.''

As you may have guess from the song a popular food to give out were small little fruit cakes called 'soul cakes' which is in fact where the popular Barn brack comes from. Soul cakes were small current cakes usually with a cross in the top of them and these were given out to the door, as long as they kept their promise to pray for their dead relatives.
If you want to make your own traditional soul cakes then I did a blog post on the recipe which you can find here, keep it traditional this Halloween!! 

It was during the 1920's and 1930's in America that this tradition changed to Trick Or Treating and it's a tradition I hope is here for generations to come.

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