Trick-or-Treating: History & Tips

“Trick-or-treating” has become a staple for Halloween celebration in America.  Why do people hand out candy on this holiday and how did the tradition begin?

The day before All Soul’s Day on November 1st, poor individuals would beg door-to-door in medieval times.  They would be given “soul cakes” (bread with currants) in exchange for prayers for the family’s dead relatives. This day was called Hallowmas and these practices were used as early as the 14th century. This is quite similar to trick-or-treating and may have influenced the tradition now with the many European immigrants who came to America in the 19th century.

The ritual of trick-or-treating had truly began in about 1911.  Children in both Canada and other locations began dressing in costume and would travel house-to-house and offer singing in exchange for candy or nuts.  The term “trick-or-treat” was used in print media and by the 1930’s, became so widespread, that by 1939, it became official on a national level.  The activity spread more rapidly in the 40’s and although took a hit during World War II with sugar rationing, has continued today.  According to the National Confectioners Association, roughly 80% of adults in the United States buy candy in anticipation of passing it out on Halloween and 94% of children go door-to-door every year on October 31st.

While some countries do not take part in the Halloween festivities, other nations have varying ways of trick-or-treating.  In Scotland, children dress up and receive candy in exchange for a poem.  In Sweden, trick-or-treaters wear costumes the Thursday before Easter, while Danish children do the same on Shrove Monday.  Norwegian children celebrate between Christmas and New Years.  It is no surprise that children around the world are avid candy fans.

For those trick-or-treating this Halloween, Lindt encourages candy safety during this time and wants to remind parents of the following tips:

  1. Instruct your children to bring all candy home before eating it so it can be checked for tampering.  Children shouldn’t snack while they’re out and this can be helped by giving them a snack or a light meal before they go.
  2. Choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys should be removed from younger children’s collected candy.
  3. Tell children not to accept or eat anything that is not commercially wrapped
  4. Inspect and wash all fresh fruit.   Look for holes, small puncture and cut it open before allowing children to eat it.
  5. Throw out candy or treats that have been homemade, are unwrapped or look as if they’ve been tampered with (i.e. torn wrappers, pinholes in wrappers etc.

With these tips in mind and a bit of history of this Halloween tradition, you should be ready to celebrate and have fun.  Don’t forget to treat yourself after all of costume chaos, hours of passing out candy and when all of your kids are finally asleep.  Kids shouldn’t be the only ones who get to indulge on Halloween.

Share: What is your favorite trick-or-treating memory?

  • Janice

    Dear Lindt Chocolate,
    I love all your flavors you have come out with,did you ever think of trying the flavor of pumpkin for the fall seasons.Keep them coming.I always but your Lindt chocolates for my family for Christmas gifts and they love them as well as myself

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