Games That Children Play on Halloween Day

One of the most popular games that children engage in over the Halloween season is the treat or trick game. In some cultures, as a tradition of Halloween, children are allowed to move around homesteads asking for some form of gift, referred to here as the treat. In the game, the home from which a treat is requested is given a choice on whether to give the requested treat of whatever nature but usually candy and other small favorites for children or be subjected to the tricks and intrigues devised by the children. The form of trick the children devised by the children is entirely dependent on them for execution. However the trick part of the game is a mostly idle trick which is hardly ever executed. The season will ordinarily permit a certain amount of trespass even on private property without legal recourse on many occasions, unless it’s a case of extreme nature.

In Scotland, the trick is in the form of some performance act presented by the children with an aim to win the gift requested. The performing act could be a song poem or even a little drama skit. People may also dress up in appropriate Halloween costumes and go begging from house to house. They may beg for food or other amenities. The house owners have the sole discretion on whether to give or not. It appears to be a relic from history in which some communities especially the poor in Europe would go asking fore food and other assistance in a festival referred to in history as wassailing in the medieval period. They would consequently receive food in exchange for prayers for the dead, particularly on all souls day celebrated normally on 2nd of November. The practice has its roots in Britain and Ireland. Yet still there is evidence of the same practice as far south as Italy. It is an old English custom as is mentioned in some of Europe’s most popular classics such as Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona published in 1953.In the play, a character: Speed mentions that his master is whining like a beggar on Hallowmas. The game of guising is relatively older in Europe than it is in American custom. Indeed, it was first recorded in Scotland from as far back as 1895.It is a fairly newer practice in America. It is first recorded in America in the year 1911.

It is evident therefore that the practice and execution of Halloween is a relatively recent practice in America than it is in Europe. This is largely an inherited issue from the settlers who came to farm and run factories in Britain after the hostile land tenure and ownership problems in Britain. With the immigration came some cultures. These have since evolved to attain a certain unique taste to it. Ruth Edna Kelly, arguably the first woman to ever document anything about the practice of Halloween in America. In her book, written in 1919 she documents origins and nature of Halloween as a popular celebration. Lately, the thrill in Halloween is to sample the varying culture amid drawing in conclusions based on the specific skills owned by individuals. It is observed that then, Halloween has demonstrated its deviation from the norm by availing the liberty so yearned for by many who want to own it. The practice of the game Trick or Treat is also poorly documented and it is not easy now pinpoint where it exactly laid its roots first. Trick or treat seems to have been a later development around Halloween. It is likely to have taken root particularly in America during the 1930s.It could well have been an innovation. 

    1. Dwayne Gutschow October 18, 2011

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