Trick or Treat or Souling ?
The language of these traditions is heavily influenced by the naming of days in the Christian calendar. The central date of the rituals that herald the beginning of winter is the 1st of November, called All Saints Day or All Hallows Day. The following day is All Souls Day and the 31st of October is All Hallows Eve - shortened to Hallowe'en (i.e. the evening before All Hallows Day).
The practice of souling - going from door to door on or about All Souls Day to solicit gifts of food in return for prayers for the dead - evolved from a pagan ritual that was practiced all over Europe, possibly as early as the 10th century. As a Christian tradition it goes back to at least the 14th century, when it is mentioned by Chaucer. It is still commonplace in many Catholic countries, notably Ireland, where soul-cakes are left out for the departed.
The term Trick or Treat was an evolution ( or devolution) where kids went door to door performing pranks with ghost masks on and when opening the door to one they were given the choice of trick ( soaping the windows ) or treat ( candy and fruit as a bribe not to pull the prank). Quite the difference of practice given the sacredness of this day.
Whatever you call this holiday I hope you will ponder the concept of "souling" for a moment when you don your costumes and accept the sweets of the evening. As you enjoy them think of someone special who has passed and give your joy to them as a blessing :)
Did You Know?
Hallowe'en is derived from a pagan holiday called Samhain,
and the pagan holidays observed the moon as their timing.
The true date of Hallowe'en every year then, is when the moon is new
in the sign of Scorpio. This year it falls on Remembrance Day, November 11th.
On this day the sun and the moon will fall in the sign
of Scorpio, meaning the most deep and mysterious shadow aspects of life
come to the surface...in this case, the spirits of the departed.
This day is considered to be the time when
the veils between the earth and the universe are thinnest so we can
communicate with the dead, honour their souls and speak to them.