It's been a long time since I've gone door-to-door asking strangers for candy. Well, at least with me dressed in a costume. I'd probably say over a decade if it didn't date me. The whole idea of sending our most precious things (children) out into the world, sometimes unattended, to knock on strangers doors and ask them for candy, therefore breaking the number one rule of "don't take candy from strangers" amazes and amuses me.
Don't get me wrong, I find it a delight that this tradition of Halloween has lasted. Not only because it was the one thing I looked forward to as a child, but also because it has such a nostalgic feeling around. And it's cool. Super cool.
Now the act of doing this, of trick-or-treating, actually goes by anther name, which I didn't know. This name is Guising. And apparently, us up in North America were late to the game. Halloween became a customary tradition in and around the 1950s, but was actually around since the 1920's, though the saying Trick or Treat wasn't used until 1934. But you see, the act of going door to door for food already existed in Great Britain and Ireland and was called 'souling'. Children and poor folk would sing and say prayers for the departed, meaning the dead, in hopes of receiving cake. And 'guising' has been earliest recorded in Scotland in 1895 and is when masqueraders carried lanterns made out of turnips and went to homes in order to be rewarded by cakes, fruits and money.
Money and cake? Now we're talking. I think that's something all of us can get behind.
That said, even though Guising and Souling predate Trick-Or-Treating, it is the North American version that is prevalent today. Even Mexico has embraced Halloween and this ideology. They call it Calaverita (Spanish for 'little skull') and instead of saying 'trick or treat' the kids say "Can yu give me my little skull?" (in Spanish, though). People then hand out tiny skulls made out of sugar or chocolate. That's the spirit.
Alright, so I am going to share a little slice of my childhood here, because we've learned enough about the act or tick-or-treating and everyone loves it when I get personal. Right? Okay, let's move on. My father doesn't call it trick-or-treating. We never really did. In our household, or at least by my dad, we referred to it as Halloweening. I think it is from my father that I have adopted tacking 'ing' onto things in order to make them verbs.
So, can I have some cake now?