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What Does Trick or Treating Actually Mean?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Is it weird that our culture has designed this holiday based on the ancient Celtic festival? In other words, the belief that the deaths of fairies, demons, and spirits once again walked back on this earth? It makes one think about how trick or treating came about. Normally, if children were going door to door asking for food, they would be considered impoverished. On this one day a year, it is the exact opposite. Trick or treating is a sign of wealth, usually, children that come from lower-income families and communities do not get the chance to treat or treat. For reasons related to not being able to afford a costume or their parents not having time to make one because they are stuck working a graveyard shift. Others include simply having to worry about feeding their family instead of giving out candy to other kids. 

What is it with trick or treating that makes it inappropriate? Is it knocking on people’s doors, asking for food or is it mocking Samhain, which is a pagan religious festival, originating from ancient Celtic traditions? Children walking about in their costumes dressed as dead versions of live people is supposed to represent the Samhain festival. A day that is supposed to represent a transition into the darker hemisphere of the year where demons, fairies, and spirits have been risen, walking around on this day 2,000 years ago. 

The next thing you celebrate or practice is a cultural holiday, for example, Thanksgiving, go ahead and think about what it means. 

Nadine Sallaj

Buffalo '23

Political Science Major Philosophy Minor Junior, 2023
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