Trick or Treat?

Shreya Dasari, Editor in Chief

halloweenAlmost everyone celebrates Halloween in one fashion or another but few people know its significance. Most of our traditions today come from past practices. The Gaelic and Welsh believed that this time or year marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter. It was thought that in this time, spirits could access the world with more ease and were particularly more active. They lit large bonfires which were believed to have special protecting and cleansing powers. They also dressed in costumes as a means of concealing themselves from the evil spirits. As the holiday spread, more and more people would dress up and play pranks on other people.

The tradition of making jack-o-lanterns also came from Gaelic tradition. They carved turnips and lit them like lanterns to be able to see undercover of the night.

In the past, Christians have referred to October 31, November 1, and November 2 as “Hallowmas.” During those three days, people would dress in black and parade the streets, calling “Remember the poor souls.” “Souling” is the custom of baking and sharing “soul cakes.” People believe that this is where the tradition of trick-or-treating comes from. Children would go door to door collecting soul cakes as a means of praying for the souls. In Medieval Europe, fires were lit to guide souls on their way and keep them from haunting the people. Additionally, many households lit candles to guide souls back to their homes for a visit. These were called “soul lights.” The Christians in continental Europe believed that on Halloween, the dead rose for a “wild, hideous carnival known as danse macabre.”

For all of the people out there that like to procrastinate, here’s a list of timeless last-minute Halloween costumes:

1. Waldo: A red striped shirt and a matching beanie.

2. Pirate: A bandana, a construction paper hat, and a fake eye patch

3. Cat: Cat ears and drawn on whiskers

4. Cowboy: Cowboy hat, riding boots, and a bandana

5. Ghost: White sheet with holes cutout for your eyes

This year, Halloween has fallen on a school day. The great debate is: Should you or should you not go trick-or-treating?

As freshman Anne Chow says, “I don’t think it really matters that Halloween is on a Thursday this year. I’m still going to go trick-or-treating with my friends.”

The history of Halloween is long and rich, but nevertheless, everyone is expected to carry on its traditions. Regardless of their religion, most children trick-or-treat because it has been made into an American tradition. It’s also just a time to hang out with friends.