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The Pagan Roots of Trick or Treating

Halloween is primarily an American holiday, but the tradition of trick or treating may go back to the Gaelic people.

Halloween is primarily an American holiday, but the tradition of trick or treating may go back to the Gaelic people.

At its roots, Halloween is an American holiday, and not a tradition of paganism or of Christianity. Though many Americans make the mistake of believing that the origins of this holiday are purely rooted in the pagan mythos, its celebration and traditions are primarily American, and the people in other parts of the world generally dislike its celebration.

That being said, many of the traditions are steeped in pagan history, and the origins of Trick or Treating go back to pagan times.

When deciding whether or not to celebrate Halloween, it's important that you know the origins of the holiday. Many Christians argue that Halloween is a night of devil worship, and that Christians shouldn't celebrate it because of its pagan roots. At the same time, many of the traditions we currently practice (such as carving Jack O'Lanterns) originate with the Catholic Church or other Christian groups.

Whether you choose to celebrate Halloween or not is a highly personal decision that only you can make, but if you do so with the facts in hand, you'll be able to defend your decision one way or another.

The tradition of Trick or Treating is a holdover from a much older tradition rooted in Gael.

The tradition of Trick or Treating is a holdover from a much older tradition rooted in Gael.

Trick or Treating is Traditional

Before we get into the beginning origins of Trick or Treating, let me first address the fact that this is a tradition. Rooted in Gaelic history, the practice of going from door to door to offer tricks in exchange for treats is old and traditional. In this sense, Trick or Treating is something we do because it has become a habit, a way of life that never died out. We carry it on in spite of not remembering the original reasons that we went from door to door carrying sacks.

This article attempts to explain the original reasons that children went from one farm to another for treats (rooted in pagan times, but not necessarily a pagan practice), and goes on to explain the way that the Catholic Church adopted this practice and used it not only to convert the Gaelic people but also in order to provide support for members of the Church.

Children collect candy in the modern American trick or treat.

Children collect candy in the modern American trick or treat.

The Modern American Trick or Treat

In today's America, things are growing increasingly dangerous, and fewer and fewer parents are comfortable allowing their children to go from door to door collecting treats (which may potentially be poisoned). Traditionally, however, children go from house to house with a sac or a plastic pumpkin. Someone at each house is expected to dole out treats to the children, dropping them into the sack, pillowcase, or plastic pumpkin that the child holds.

Children cry "Trick or Treat!" when the door is opened to them, and the expectation is that if the light is on at the house, the family is home and offering treats. The kids dress in costumes, portraying anything from ghosts to witches and other scary ghouls to princesses, fairies, and even presidents.

This is the essence of the American holiday of Halloween. But what are the roots of this practice?

Many people decorate their porches for Halloween to invite children to come trick or treating.

Many people decorate their porches for Halloween to invite children to come trick or treating.

Early trick or treating was done for the purpose of trading one commodity for another and took place between farms in rural Gael.

Early trick or treating was done for the purpose of trading one commodity for another and took place between farms in rural Gael.

Trick or Treat Originates in Gaelic Poverty

Thank you, first of all, to my friend Dan for helping me to track down this information. A Google Search won't return this information on the first page of results, and considerable "digging" for info didn't result in a reference that made sense.

During the days of Gael, the country came under attack from some of the larger countries and empires of the time. The result of these attacks was that the Gaelic people were quite poor, and in many cases, a household was only able to produce one or two commodities (a commodity is an agricultural good which can be traded, such as turnips, potatoes, coffee, or honey).

A family, without help, may have to survive a winter eating only a single type of food.

To begin with, this isn't healthy, but in addition, it grows boring to eat the same foods day after day. So the family would sack up the commodity they had produced and carry it down the road to the nearest farm, where they would trade their commodity (let's say potatoes) to the neighbor in exchange for the commodity that the neighbor had produced (for example, beets). By trading in this way, each household was able to fill its pantry.

So Then Where are the Tricks? Or the Treats?

This is where it gets more interesting. Over time, the households began to send their children to carry the bags, thus saving themselves the effort of hauling a sack down the road to the nearest neighboring farm. In order to give the child an incentive to carry the bags to their neighbors, the neighbor gave the child a "treat" for delivering their commodity. Along with whatever they were trading, the child might get a cake, or a piece of honey candy.

In exchange for performing the trick (carrying the bag), the child was given a treat (cake or candy or some other sweet thing).

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Historically, this is the earliest account of trick or treating, and you're not likely to find this information freely online. This is oral history.

Modern Trick or TreatGaelic Trick or TreatCatholic Trick or Treat

Kids Dress Up

Kids Carried Commodities

Children Offered Prayers

Perform "Tricks" for "Treats"

Got "treats" for doing their job.

Received "Soul Cakes" in Exchange.

American Tradition

Born of Poverty

Cultural Appropriation

Halloween as we know it was adopted and adapted by the Catholic Church until it became the modern practice of Halloween.

Halloween as we know it was adopted and adapted by the Catholic Church until it became the modern practice of Halloween.

The practice of trading commodities isn't a pagan practice, but is born out of poverty and need.

The Catholic Trick or Treat

The practice of dressing up for Halloween may have originated with the Pagans -- or with the Catholics. Sources don't come to a clear answer to this question. One thing that we do know is that the Catholic celebration of All Souls Day (October 31st) and All Saints Day (November 1st) involved children dressing as saints and going door to door in order to offer prayers in exchange for cakes (known as Soul Cakes).

This is only one Christian tradition which has later become attributed to paganism. Learn more about the Jack O'Lantern.

Catholic Cultural Appropriation

As with many holidays, the Catholic Church borrowed traditions from the Pagans. The blended holiday has become known as Halloween (a combination of All Hallows Eve [Hallo] and Samhain [hain] into Hallowhain, then Halloween).

Ultimately it has become an American holiday which isn't celebrated in other parts of the world. When you celebrate Halloween, you are doing so as an American, and therefore this is not a cultural appropriation from the Gaelic people. In fact, Halloween isn't even distinctly pagan!

So if you're a Christian, you should be free to celebrate Halloween if you choose to do so. While the Catholics took cultural traditions from the people of Gael, this is not entirely a pagan holiday and therefore doesn't carry the connotations of witchcraft that many people are familiar with.


CharlesCharles on October 27, 2018:

Nice article though I do agree with the comments below. The article's claim is a bit like saying Apple pie is American :)

Island of Man still celebrates Hop Tu Na and the term Halloween is just a play on All Hallows' eve and Samhain (pronounced Sow-ween)

The commercial side of it has definitely been pushed by the states which has ultimately altered the tradition of trick and treating. I think if the article was more about how trick or treating in its current form of asking for sweets/candy was an American tradition/American concept then that would be more accurate.

But this is what makes the article great, it opens up conversation!

Yudai on December 24, 2014:

All of my school aged kdiods are involved with some kind of extra-curricular activy. My 16 year old son is on the drumline at his high school, my pre-teen daughter is on the volleyball and softball teams and my 8 year old son is halfway to his black belt in Taekwondo.My little guy who stays home with me and does flash cards during the day has extra-curricular activities of napping and cuddling with Mommy and Daddy! =)

Keisha Hunter from Kingston, Jamaica on November 01, 2014:

Either way, I learned a lot from the article and comments. I do know what it is like to have my history claimed by someone else, so I understand the annoyance of some commenters. Still a good article, corrections or addendum/ edit might rectify all else.

Gie Av from Lubukbasung, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia on November 01, 2014:

this is original and unique. I have never read anything like it.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on October 31, 2014:

Perfect hub for hub of the day... it did its job and got a lot of folks to read it and make their comments.. whether you agree with them.. accept them or delete them.. it's your hub and do with those comments as you feel fit.. I was entertained by the hub and only checked it out because it was hub of the day... so thank you... and use your delete button as freely as you want.. it is your page... Frank

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on October 31, 2014:

Well, this is original and unique. I have never read anything like it.

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

No Suzette, the point you are missing is that the article clearly states that Halloween is a US origniated holiday, and saying something is a US holiday does imply that it a US only holiday whereas saying that it is a holiday IN the US is more proper, and factually correct.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 31, 2014:

Read my words carefully before criticizing I said, "Halloween as we celebrate it today in the U. S. is an American holiday/celebration." I'm not talking about Ireland Scotland or anywhere else they celebrate Halloween. You all need to stop being blowhards ! No one country has the Halloween celebration all locked up as theirs. You all need to get a life and get a grip. Just have a Happy Halloween! And don't forget about Icabod Crane and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow by American writer Washington Irving.

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

OH and the people suggesting (subtly and otherwise) that we shouldn't be detracting, healthy discussion will actually help the author's keyword useage and such, and the repeated visits mean more hits, so really even the detractors are helping the popularity of this article.....

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

oh and as for "History is written by the victors of a war" well yes to an extent, but actual Historians are now trained to tell the difference between propaganda and true history by use of archaeology, comparing different documentation sources and much more.

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

Pat.... not sure what you mean by well documented doesn't mean true????? In the context of my comment it does indeed mean it is true. It means that there are extant sources documenting how Halloween was celebrated in Ireland, and how the first instance of trick or treating occurred in Scotland, these are known and documented facts, not just stories made up.

Believing a lie and repeating it does not make the lie less of a lie, the repeated lie is still a lie.

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

Halloween predates the founding of the US suzettenaples, that's the whole point of this discussion, while Halloween is celebrated in the US it is NOT a US Holliday, we celebrate it here in Canada, most of the British Isles celebrate it China celebrates it (with less trick or treating, but they still do trick or treat), most of Europe celebrates it. US didn't invent, or even really alter much other than some terminology and the use of pumpkins vs. turnips for the making of Jack O'lanterns (the O'lantern thing should hint at the Irish origins there).

Linda Sarhan from Lexington KY USA on October 31, 2014:

cfin - You need to take time to ACTUALLY read the wording in my comment and article. First, I did not say I got the information from a television show. I said that they did a show on it. Carefully mind the wording. Again, my article is on Halloween in AMERICA. And yes I have added reputable source links regarding facts presented on Halloween IN America but again you NEED to pay close attention to the wording. It is not disrespecting any other culture.

Also, stop leaving harassing and insulting comments. You can agree to disagree if you like. It makes no difference to me. But attacking other writers, including the author of this Hub, just shows your lack of professionalism.

Pat Goltz on October 31, 2014:

Being well documented doesn't make it fact. Sorry. Yes, revisionism is wrong, but remember, history is always written by the victor in a war. I choose to remain an agnostic on the origin of Halloween, and I choose to celebrate Reformation instead.

"Your hub is full of lies." Folks, if he believes what he wrote, he's not a liar. He may be mistaken or dead wrong, but a liar knows what he is saying is false. If he's not a liar, then what he wrote isn't lies. It's simply inaccurate.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on October 31, 2014:

Thank you, CuAllaidh.

Pat, if you do not have a problem with this hub being an HOTD, fine. No one will deny you the right to that opinion, but many think differently, and that is ok, too.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 31, 2014:

Interesting article despite the comment above mine. The Latin American countries celebrate The Day of the Dead on Nov. 1 and 2. All Soul's Day and All Saint's Day in the Catholic Church. And, so there are various celebrations in different countries during the time we celebrate Halloween here in the U.S. It is well documented that the Catholic Church took many pagan holidays and incorporated them into the Catholic religion so those they were converting would not lose their holidays by coming into the Catholic Church. When they converted they still could practice their holidays only with a Christian twist to it. Halloween as we know it today is definitely a U.S. holiday/celebration. Thanks for sharing this with us and congrats on HOTD!

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

Pat, the problem is the origins of Halloween is well documented, it's not some mysterious tradition that we no longer remember why or when it came about. Revisionist history is never good, and misinformation makes Hubpages as a whole look bad and casts doubt on all our articles, that is the problem.

Pat Goltz on October 31, 2014:

Who knows exactly how Halloween originated? In spite of the negative comments, if the editors want to choose this as HOTD, I don't have a problem with that. You don't have to agree with something to find it worth reading.

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:

She told me she saw it on ahctv or something. I have seen actual carbon dated Jack O Lanterns in a museum from Ireland far predating the existence of the USA.

I have , myself been in Ireland on Halloween where people do in fact celebrate the same traditions as the US but they have more. Again, these hubs states that they don't and only Americans celebrate this holiday. It IS American?

"The Gael" is not a country. I don't think I need a source for that. It never was. Gaelic is an adjective.

Here is a Jack O Lantern on Display

A painting from 1840 of Irish celebrating Halloween

A read from the 1800's speaking of the British and Irish Celts and their use of Halloween.

Shall I present more, or should we continue to perpetrate the brains of the unknowing with this nonsense?

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on October 31, 2014:

Interesting reading. Congratulations for HOTD. In NZ not many celebrate Halloween.

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

Linda, Fine if cfin is being too dismissive, please post your sources, I would much like to see them.... I am a huge history geek, I love to track back peoples sources, even if I know them to be wrong. I might point out where your sources are wrong, but I assure you I'll back up my "bashing" with fact (personally I think cfin would too)....

Basically what we are saying is you and the author of this article have made claims about the historical origins of something and we are saying you are wrong, but feel free to prove otherwise by citing your sources.

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:

Negative tone? Your hub is full of lies. Offensive lies akin to me saying the French invented Thanksgiving because some Americans moved there, celebrated it and ate goose instead of turkey. I am not sure how correcting your lies can not be negative.

There are no historical links because you don't have valid sources. I do. One example is your claim that Americans invented trick or treating in the 1920s when it was invented in Scotland well before that date. FACT!!

Linda Sarhan from Lexington KY USA on October 31, 2014:

cfn - The reason why your comments were deleted is because of the negative tone of the several comments you have left on this one and mine. I am not disrespecting this Hub and I am not defensive and as negative as you are. I could list all of the historic links in this comment to back up my article but you will still bash it regardless.

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:


Please feel free to share your feeling in our forum. I know it made me feel better.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on October 31, 2014:

beckisgiftguides: This is the most absurd piece of fantasy presented as fact that I have ever read. To have some people throughout the world who do not know the FACTS about Halloween believe what you say is not only highly misleading but is a terrible distortion of history and an insult to Ireland. Further there is no country of Gael. I am so upset about this hub that I cannot proceed to correct all the falsified information you have taken out of context or made up - It would take me a whole article to do so.

There are many fine hubs on HubPages that give true and factual history on the origins of Halloween - you should read them and learn the truth.

I am very embarrassed for HubPages to see this chosen as HOTD, for it shows that a staff member also does not know history.

For now, and to cut it short, I will just add that I agree with cfin and relache and a few others who know factual history.

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:

Besides, if the US "changed" some of the traditions, that does not in fact mean that Halloween is American. To state as such is ludicrous and any intelligent being would agree.

Please read a history book or research reputable sources before offending people in future.

Debra Allen from West By God on October 31, 2014:

Oh bluebird if you would only pick up your bible and read what Jesus said in it and nothing else because nothing else that anyone ever said in that bible makes sense only to control of the masses and get their money to build their churches and build up their clergy's luxuries and such. Yes In the Catholic doctrine, that EVERY SINGLE other denomination follows, it stated very clearly that they are to keep people in the dark. Come out of the dark my dear and open your eyes.

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:

I really don't care about ahctv. They are not a reputable source if what you are saying they stated is true. My ACTUAL ancestors in the country that I grew up have been celebrating Halloween since before the creation of the USA. There is factual evidence and actual preserved Jack O Lanterns from Ireland prior to the creation of the US. Trick or treating is proven to have originated in Scotland. This is universally accepted due to the overwhelming proof of and historical evidence. Please explain.

Deleting my comments from your hub won't change the fact that it's full of lies. Everyone who reads it and believes it having felt that you educated them in a victim of these lies. And hubpages as a reputable source of info, in my eyes, is now lower for this.

Linda Sarhan from Lexington KY USA on October 31, 2014:

Even the American Heroes Challenge did a series called America: Facts vs Fiction. They featured many of the facts that I brought up in the article. Consider checking out the episode America: Facts vs Fiction How Halloween Has Changed. Here is the promo for the episode:

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

Bluebird, please feel free to enlighten us as to where in the bible it says that Halloween is evil, or feel free to cite some historical context which links Halloween to devil worship in any way shape or form. Making arbitrary rules against something and claiming it is due to Christianity does not make it true. There is no Christian doctrine that I can think of in any way shape or form that denounces Halloween. In short, do a little research, read the bible if you must, don't parrot nonsense and expect people to take you seriously.

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:

Samhain being the Irish word for the month of November, that is really interesting Lionrhod. I always took issue with people calling the 31st of October, Samhain, so this makes better sense. Thank you for the education :)

Lionrhod from Orlando, FL on October 31, 2014:

@CuAllaidh well said. Now for us Wiccans, Samhain is a separate holiday. which may or may not be celebrated on the 31st. In my trad we celebrate it on 15 degrees Scorpio, which is usually around the 6th-9th of Nov, as the present calendar has grown out of step with the constellations.

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on October 31, 2014:

I've always preferred to concentrate on the dress-up and the fun of Halloween. Congrats on your get-'em-talking Hub of the Day today!

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:

Ok Bluebird. Irish people were Christian for the last 1,500 + years and still celebrated Halloween. They brought it to the USA a few hundred years ago. It is a tradition just like thanksgiving. Should we apologize for having fun? Does everything have to be about God or against God?

bluebird on October 31, 2014:

Those cloaked in darkness cannot see light. Calling evil good doesn't make it good. And calling good evil doesn't make it evil.

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

bluebird: Halloween has NOTHING to do with devil worship never has never will.... Halloween worships nothing it is a tradition not a religious holiday.

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:

LindaSarhan , another American centric, fact creating, historically inaccurate pile of nonsense hub. Thank you. Halloween is about as American as thanksgiving is French. Please stop stating your opinion as fact.

Debra Allen from West By God on October 31, 2014:

Bluebird, Who told you that Pagan, Country Folk, are the devil??? I get so sick and tired of people saying this and that and not taking self responsibility for their own actions and not researching things for themselves. Do you not know anything besides what you have been told? Do you not question those who are telling blatant lies about religion and people and taxes and political control. Sorry for this and I am off my soapbox now.

bluebird on October 31, 2014:

There are many differing comments here for sure. This subject naturally draws it. All I know is to go to the source of truth, the Bible, and read what it says about worshiping the one and only Creator God, the Lord of hosts. I didn't allow my son to keep it in grade school and my mom said, "it's just a fun thing for the kids, it does no harm." I said, "but I'm trying to respect God here, I want no part of anything that even might be connected to the devil because he is a pro at deceiving this world." He is the master of confusion.

Yes, people are free to live as they choose. But they must be aware:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour.

Any one that loves God will stay as far away from any appearance of evil, choosing to please God rather than self or the adversary.

I'm sure of one thing: there will be no devil worship called Halloween in the new Millennium!!!

Linda Sarhan from Lexington KY USA on October 31, 2014:

Interesting Hub but not entirely accurate either. Assumptions on the history of Halloween are always around being presented as fact as people look to make Halloween spookier than ever. But in reality, Halloween is an American holiday with origins in America. People tend to confuse the history of Samhain with the history of Halloween. Even still, we all know the Christian church tried to Christianize pagan beliefs. Of course Christians have All Hallow's Eve on the same day as Halloween and Samhain. All Saints Day and All Souls Day follow right after. Sorry to disappoint but here is the REAL history of Halloween:

Halloween in America: Fact vs Fiction

Amanda Littlejohn on October 31, 2014:

I'm afraid I agree with the detractors. This shouldn't be here. Where are those infamous HubPro editors when you need them?

Silver Fish from Edinburgh Scotland on October 31, 2014:

I agre with the others. THis hub has very little accuracy and I am surprised at the editors choice.

Raye from Seattle, WA on October 31, 2014:

Speaking as an individual who identifies as a Pagan, this is the most inaccurate and invented "Halloween"history I've ever read that not only does a disservice to Pagans but to non-Pagans. 1) Not all Paganism is the same set of beliefs and practices. Who are you really talking about here? It seems to me, you have no actual idea. 2) Modern Halloween and it's trappings grew out of the Victorian era, not from anything ancient or Pagan. Do you even realize the Wheel of the Year was codified by a pair of British Druids in the mid 1950s? This was an extremely bad choice by the editors on this site.

Jeff Johnston from Alberta Canada on October 31, 2014:

Sorry, but this article is rife with historical inaccuracies. cfin pointed out a few, but seriously this is a terrible example of American-centric thinking. Congrats on the HotD, but not a fan of this one at all.

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:

And for those Christians who argue that "Halloween is a night of devil worship, and that Christians shouldn't celebrate it because of its pagan roots", Ireland was a christian country for more than 1,000 years before the USA was even created. The Irish brought Halloween to the USA having been christian for 1,000+ years and having still celebrated Halloween while being Christians, prior to their arrival here.. This might be a good point to make in your article but this also invalidates the claim that Halloween is American while also invalidating peoples claims that it is simply for pagans and/or was only for pagans prior to it arriving in the USA.

cfin from The World we live in on October 31, 2014:

"Rural Gael"? Interesting article, but much of it, I would have to disagree with based on fact. Trick or treating originated in Scotland. Halloween is from Ireland NOT America. If Americans moved to Ireland and continued to celebrate thanksgiving, Irish people would not claim it as an Irish holiday in a few hundred years. Christianity copied the tradition. Spinning it the other way doesn't make sense.

Similar to the jack O Latern. Originally a turnip carved by pagans in Ireland and later Christians in Ireland. They started to use a pumpkin when they moved to the US, not because they were then christian, but because the turnip was no longer affordable. Christianity is only relevant as Catholicism attempted to stamp out pagan traditions, failed, and then went about altering them to try to "take over" these holidays. Writing articles as if they succeeded is interesting.

History is history. That shouldn't be spun or altered.

Oiche Shamhna Shona Duit

Kitty Fields from Summerland on October 31, 2014:

Interesting article. My research shows that while trick0rtreating has been attributed to "souling" and trading of food, it goes back even further than that. The Celts would leave offerings to the malevolent spirits on Samhain Eve to appease them and keep them from wreaking havoc on their homes. After awhile people began to dress like the malevolent spirits so as to be able to leave their homes on Samhain Eve and be disguised among the spirits. Eventually people began stealing the offerings left for the dead and this tradition melded and evolved into trick or treating as we know it today. Trick or treating also has ties with mumming and guising. :) Great hub!

Danilo Gateau from UK-Scotland on October 31, 2014:

I'm glad to hear of it's origins. I live in Scotland now and since The Shetlands is (the northern Islands of Scotland) where the original Scottish language Gaelic originates, I find this information very useful. As a Christian I still wouldn't go out with my kids trick or treating simply because of what it stands for now. Back then the Scottish people who were poor according to this article did this trick or treating out of necessity by trading commodities. Kids today wont do that and since the Catholics have their origins in Satans' kingdom of darkness, I wouldn't celebrate it even more so. How can anyone pray for the dead? No one can pray for a dead person. I was also raised as a Catholic in St. Mary's Elementry school and they also told us kids at the time during the late 1980s and Halloween was called Hallow's eve. It had something to do with remembering the dead saints or something like that. But what Becki has stated about the Catholics sounds a bit more accurate from what I remember. The Catholics ways of spirituality most of whhich is not even in the Holy Bible or Hebrew Bible so they are wrong when it comes to how anyone should celebrate Holloween.

I think Christians should pass out Gospel tracts for kids and candy when the kids come to their doors this evening.

David Ortega from Altoona, Iowa on October 31, 2014:

As with any research, there is evidence that suggests that the origins did NOT originate with Catholics. "Like other claims that Catholicism adopted pagan practices and beliefs, this myth is also based on bad research and propaganda that developed after the Protestant Reformation."

Amie Butchko from Warwick, NY on October 31, 2014:

Loved reading this today. Very interesting about the Gaelic traditions and the soul cakes! Never heard either of those things.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 31, 2014:

By by another name, and with the explanation you so ably shared, the occasion would be more acceptable. I thoroughly appreciate your article. Congratulations on your HOTD accolade!

C E Clark from North Texas on October 31, 2014:

Very interesting history. Congratulations on HOTD!

thomasczech from Canada on October 31, 2014:

We have never participated in halloween. I believe that even if you change a little here or there, it is still evil because of its roots. Like a fruit tree that is bad, one can not make it good by just pulling its fruit, one must cut it out by the roots.

Many years ago I did a lot of research into halloween, here is what I came up with, please read it and leave a comment if you like:

Sheila Craan from Florida on October 31, 2014:

Thank you, @BeckisGiftGuides and Congratulations on Your Hub of the Day! I am a member of the Church of Christ and I hand out treats to the children of my neighborhood on Halloween. It's heaps of fun and I also meet the kids dressed up in a costume too. Besides, celebrating the Forth of July every year, our Halloween is innocent. It provides a grand opportunity to meet and chat with my wonderful neighbors.

mySuccess8 on October 31, 2014:

A very interesting information about the history of Halloween, including its origins. This yearly celebration is now being observed by an increasing number of countries around the world. Many Chinese celebrate some sort of Chinese Halloween called the “Hungry Ghosts Festival”. It is believed that the spirits come back to visit their families throughout the month, and there will be live outdoor musical performances and banquets, funded by residents of the individual communities. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

Silver Fish from Edinburgh Scotland on October 31, 2014:

Interesting perspective. Living in Scotland however I see things a bit differently.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 30, 2014:

I have never tired any thing about Halloween I learned from this interesting hub.

Anna Sidorova from Russia on October 30, 2014:

Very interesting, indeed. I live in Russia and we still have a similar tradition to Trick or Treating, but on Christmas. Children and adults sometimes dress up and go from house to house asking for a treat. According to one version as far as I know people dressed up symbolize dead relatives or spirits, and you have to make them happy with a treat so they don't harm you and even help you. Russia was pagan once, and it won't surprise me that some rituals resemble those of the gaelic people. Anyway, it's curious to find similarities in ancient traditions across the world.

Pat Goltz on October 29, 2014:

I have never been a fan of Halloween. We didn't celebrate it when I was a child. I would only answer the door to hand out treats. I got to see everyone's costume. Our family celebrated Reformation instead, and still does. There are times when I think it is appropriate to appropriate a local holiday and redeem it. I don't REALLY think it worked with this one. The history of Gael is interesting, and I can accept it as true, and it softens things a little for me. But we aren't Gael, and I don't like what it has turned into lately. I especially hate all the commercialization, the fact most costumes are manufactured (I like the homemade ones), and the fact that so many children these days are depicting evil characters. on October 29, 2014:

We get a few detractors in Australia but I say try it before you knock it. I took my kids out trick and treating last year and met some of the nicest people in my area. The kids loved it.

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on October 06, 2014:

I am conflicted whether to be upset at the Catholic church for including the same ingredients in their holiday, or congratulating the monk who thought of it. I have always regarded Halloween with mixed feelings. The acceptance of less than honorable behavior for any reason makes any standard of honorableness moot.

In recent years, my feelings about Halloween have changed a bit only because I have a slightly different situation at home and I have no children who have the desire to go out and "T OR T." As it happens. I was married on October 31, 1998. Until then, I held that young kids were rarely, if ever, thinking of Satan or demons when they went out for candy. Now, it being my wedding anniversary, we having appropriated the name Anni-ween. Who knows what further changes will happen in our family? I have given much more thought to Halloween lately.

You have included stuff in this article that intrigues me and my Christian thinking. I am disturbed that "tricks" is such an open term and "harmless pranks" is such a broad term that does not come with any inborn restraint. What is a "harmless prank" in one generation becomes something totally different in the next. Look at what our entertainment is saying is not obscene or degrading that past generations would have come after movie houses and television stations with pitchforks and torches in hand. This truly disturbs me the vandalism and mischief as it turns to criminal acts and worse. Halloween time the crime is always up... why? I fear it is because it is a sanctioned time for a gang of kids to be "naughty." Such naughtiness heightened by the mob mentality and the next thing you know someone's barn is on fire.

On the other hand, with the holiday tradition seated so firmly in the American mindset, the original monk's idea of appropriating the holiday is not a bad one. All of my church has had the practice of closely chaperoning their children as they go out trick or treating. The "rules" were simple. 1. No one went out as anything evil. 2. They (the children) were bringing Christian Bible tracts to each house and if the householder was willing (who isn't willing to listen to a sunflower at their door) were telling the person at the door that they cared for them and wanted to give them something. As a result, the gospel got spread, the children's minds were off the premise to trick, the kids got positive peer pressure that stayed with them. And the kids always seemed to get more candy because of the gratitude of the person at the door.

I know many of my Christian friends think of me as evil in this attitude on Halloween but Halloween is not going away so I say with the Catholic monks, steal it, make it something for Jesus and even if one person looks at a tract and it makes sense so that they ask Jesus into their heart, well that is a double black-eye to the devil who was hoping to get honored. Take that devil.

Maurice Glaude from Mobile on October 03, 2014:

So the kids were tricked! Tricked into doing work but they got a treat. Yes, that sounds familiar.

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