Tuesday, October 26, 2010

13 Days of Halloween - Trick-or-Treat

Here's a little interesting tidbit about the tradition of Trick-or-Treating.  It actually dates back to the middle ages, when it was common for people to dress up in costumes and beg door-to-door for food or treats on holidays (similar to Christmas caroling or wassailing). It wasn't originally called trick-or-treating but souling, when children and the poor would go from house to house on Hallowmas (Nov. 1) and receive food in exchange for promising to pray for the souls of the dead for that homeowner, on All Souls Day (Nov. 2).  This stems from the Catholic tradition that souls in purgatory can be prayed into heaven by living believers.

It wasn't until much later, in about the 1920s, that trick-or-treating became more of a thing that was solely for children, who would go to the shops in town and to their neighbors and sing little rhymes or recite poems in exchange for fruit or nuts.  So the "trick" was actually a mini-recital. It wasn't long after, that the tricks soon became harmless good-spirited pranks, similar to toilet papering someone's house in today's time.  And the nuts and fruits were replaced with candies.

Out of all the candy sold throughout the year in America, one quarter of it is sold during October, for Halloween.  How much is that?  Try 600 million pounds of candy!  I think I got a cavity just from researching that on Google.

So, let's talk about candy!  Leave me a comment and let me know... What is was your favorite candy to get at Halloween? (KitKats. I also loved getting Bazooka bubble gum, anything chocolate and tootsie roll pops or charms blow pops.) Did you have any neighbors that gave out full size candy bars? (I didn't. I did have a neighbor who gave out those little paper treat bags, stuffed with hand-selected candy. She was awesome.)  How do you feel about candy corn? (I love them.)  What about popcorn balls? (I've yet to try one that didn't feel and taste like eating Styrofoam.)    Do you prefer hard candy over chocolate? (Depends on my mood, but chocolate usually wins out.)  What is the weirdest thing you ever got in your candy bag when trick or treating?  (For me, it was probably a pencil with a Halloween design on it, or a religious tract.)


Laura said...

I love learning the history around our modern holidays. I didn't realize the door-to-door knocking dated so far back. Interesting!

I don't much enjoy Trick-or-Treat candy. Since the American food industry changed from sugar to corn syrup I think everything is too sweet. I liked the old fashioned candy we used to get like taffy, chocolate coins, licorice, caramels... Sometimes we would get money, and that was a house we didn't forget!

I had completely forgotten about popcorn balls. They are very nostalgic for me and one of my fondest Halloween memories. Because my family lived in the boonies on the side of a mountain with no streetlights or sidewalks, we couldn't trick-or-treat at our own neighborhood. We would drive to my cousins house in Monterey Park and spend the afternoon and evening with them and we always had homemade popcorn balls. Maybe it was her recipe, but they were delicious! Sweet and salty and sticky... mmm!

I'll have to get her recipe and see if they're as good as I remember, or if I only liked them as a child because they were sweet.

Laurie B said...

My favorite candy will always be Snickers. But like you, chocolate of any kind always wins.

My favorite house always gave out popcorn balls. They were a wonderful treat that I have never made. Maybe I'll give them a try this year for our Trunks and Treats.

D.L. White said...

I agree with you, Laura. Today's candy has no flavor and tastes like overly sweet processed corn syrup.

I like caramel corn... in fact, I love it! I wonder why I don't like popcorn balls? I think it's because I've yet to sample a quality specimen...