Trick or Treating

In the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada, it is customary for children to go trick or treating on the evening of October 31. They dress up in costumes, wigs, makeup, or masks and go from door to door (usually in groups of four or five). They knock on the door or ring the doorbell and cry “Trick or Treat”! The homeowner opens the door and drops a treat (usually candy or cookies) into the bag that each child is carrying. The “trick” part of the trick or treat cry is actually a threat to do harm to the homeowner or his property if a treat isn’t forthcoming. Small children, of course, have no intention of hurting the …

Christianity and Halloween

Halloween is a mixture of pagan customs and Christian beliefs. Christians have a sort of love/hate relationship with the holiday. Halloween has alternately been praised and banned entirely by the Christian communities in various locations and in different centuries around the world. Halloween does have pagan roots; there isn’t much doubt about that. The holiday began with the Celtic peoples. November 1 was the first day of their New Year, and it was also the first day of winter. Winter was a harsh and unrelenting season in the area. On October 31 (the eve of the New Year and the beginning of winter), the Celtics built huge bonfires. They threw the bones of animals that had been slaughtered to provide …