Other Traditional Treats

By Jill C. Hindman
October 26, 2000

by Jill C. Hindman

Dressing up in costumes, bobbing for apples and trick-or-treating are some of Halloween’s most famous traditions.While growing up we all did these things every year in honor of Halloween, but did them without any wonder. Why did we dress up as our favorite cartoon character or superhero and ask strangers for a tasty treat? All we were thinking was, “free candy.”

These traditions originated over 2,000 years ago in Ireland. The Celtics celebrated Samhain on October 31, which is the Celtic New Year.

The people believed that at this time the spirits of those who had died in the past year would come back to haunt the living to bring them into the world of the supernatural. This is how costumes came about.

The townspeople would dress up in gruesome masks and parade around the neighborhoods being loud and disruptive so that they would frighten the spirits. They would also put out fires in their homes, making them uninviting, so that the spirits would not want to enter.

When the Celtics were taken over by the Roman Empire, they also began practicing Roman traditions. One of these was the worship of Pomona, the goddess of harvest. Apples were her signature fruit. They symbolize good luck. Today bobbing for apples is a popular Halloween party activity.

Trick-or-Treating originated from the people who would dress up as fairies, going door to door begging for treats. If a treat was not presented then the homeowner was in for some kind of prank.

So this year when you are at a crazy Halloween bash, you no longer have to stop and wonder the significance of why your face is in a bucket fishing for an apple, or why you are wearing a costume, now you know why.

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Jill C. Hindman

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