Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat!
-By Angelique Duncan

Trick or Treat! The practice of dressing in costumes and going door to door for treats is as old as the holiday of Halloween it’s self. It survives as a traditional custom in modern times from its origins in ancient Gaelic history and the holiday Samhain.

There are varied yet similar thoughts on why trick or treating has been practiced, however despite region and era, there has always been a common thread; costumed people asking for some sort of treat on October 31st.

The ancient Celts believed that on October 31st a veil was lifted at twilight allowing magical forms of beings to re-enter the mortal world for one night. Some believed that this opening was also extended to the spirit world of the dead as well. In the Middle ages it was thought that ghost were allowed to pass from the “otherworld” through openings in sacred grounds that acted as gateways.

Common practice in the 1400’s was to leave plates of sweets and food for faeries and elemental creatures in ones garden or porch. This was done in hopes that passing faerie troupes would take the offerings in exchange for not making mischief or tear up ones crops. This may be the first inclination of sweets used as a bartering tool to avoid tricks.

Spirits who had returned on Halloween night were also left offerings of food. Some documentation from the 15-1600’s suggest that folks would leave food for weary souls as they traveled looking for their loved ones. Samhain was considered New Years and it was customary during this era to hold huge elaborate feast. At these feast plates would be set out and a chair at the table reserved for those who had passed away.

Just as departed loved ones could pass through gateways on Halloween night, it was believed that the wretched could return as well. To pacify these ill intended spirits folks would leave sweets on their porches to appease bad ghost to not haunt them and move on from ones home to the next.

The earliest documentation of Halloween costumes comes from the 1600’s. Men would dress in scary spirit costumes to scare away evil ghost and enchanted creatures. In return for the service of shooing away the bad spirits to make way for the visiting family ghost, people would offer ale and breads to these men. As the practice grew in popularity some would sing or perform for beer and treats. This became known as “guising”. Folks would become opportunistic in the practice and dress as monsters and scary ghost, threatening people’s homes with mischief if treats were not given.

In some regions it was customary for men to go “guising” door to door to farms to gather food donations for Samhain feasts. If the farmer obliged then his home would be bestowed with good fortune through the coming year. If He did not, then he would be met with a curse of misfortune.

With the rise of Christianity the churches advocated the celebration of All Souls Day in lieu of Samhain. All Souls Day falls on November 1, or 2nd depending on region. All Souls Day began as a day set-aside for monks to pray for the souls that were trapped in purgatory. The holiday expanded as a day to pray for all souls of the dead. Folks would go to cemeteries and decorate the graves of their loved ones. Not completely willing to let go of superstitions, the practice of leaving “soul cakes” out for the dead became a common practice. Children would go “Souling” through out village’s carrying candles or lanterns singing and offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes. It was believed that when a soul cake was eaten after a prayer a damned soul was released from hell.

As immigrants from Scotland and Ireland migrated across Europe and to North America during the 1700-1800’s, the Gaelic Samhain traditions followed. In some regions boys would dress as ghost and demons going house-to-house demanding food and drink otherwise they would wreak destructive havoc and mischievous mayhem. Livestock would be let free from their stockades, crops destroyed and broken windows were common on Halloween night. Although it would be much later in history before the term “Trick or Treat” would be used, the practice of giving treats to ward of “tricksters” was in full swing and in true form of its more modern practice.

The practice of knocking on doors on Halloween night carried on into the 1900’s. Halloween was very popular in the 1920’s as it lent itself for fancy dress up parties and lavish festive feast that were popular during the era. In England and North America the poor would dress in costumes and go into wealthier neighborhoods begging for money and food. Halloween became known as “Beggars’ Night. Soon it became commonplace and children of all ranks would go door to door festively in costumes to receive treats in exchange for not playing pranks. During the mid 1930’s the Term “Trick or Treat” was born and Halloween had become a children’s holiday.

However during the 1940’s with sugar rationing and a generally somber mood created by World War II the festive revelry of costuming and asking for candy became frowned upon and Halloween made a return to Beggars Night. During this conservative era it was believed that Trick or Treating was the practice of poor immigrants and not behavior for dignified, proud American and British children.

After the war ended and the American economy became strong along with upward mobility of immigrants socially, the practice of Halloween parties and Trick or Treating returned in full force. The tradition of knocking on doors in costumes and yelling “TRICK OR TREAT” for candy was the norm. The tricks were not violent and usually took the form of knocking over trash bins, applying dark polish to windows, throwing bath tissue in trees, throwing eggs or other devious deeds of vandalism like smashing pumpkins.

In the late 1980’s efforts were made to take the “trick” out of Trick or Treats. Children older than 12 years of age were discouraged from dressing up and going out on Halloween. Adult chaperons were encouraged and churches and retail establishments would host organized Trick or Treat events. Group Halloween parties for children held indoors in lieu of taking to the streets were commonplace. By the mid 1990’s virtually all the trick was removed from Trick or Treating and Halloween night had become all about the treats. Trick or treating through out neighborhoods made a come back in the early 2,000’s and is holding strong as an annual children’s holiday and night of nostalgia for adults and is widely celebrated in the United States and gaining popularity through out the world.

The acts of wearing costumes demanding treats under threat of tricks still exist as an integral tradition to Halloween. As October 31st approaches remember to leave your porch light on and to have plenty of sweets at the ready. For that knock at the door may be a whimsical child out for Tricks or Treats or it may be a wandering ghost or faerie spirit set free to roam on Halloween night.

Images “Set free on Halloween” and “Trick or Treat” Copyright Michelle Angelique Duncan

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

Trick or Treat Give Away 2014

Trick Or Treat!

The 2014 Trick or Treat Give Away has concluded! The winner will be contacted via email. Thank you to all the folks who Trick or Treated! Visit Halloween Artist Bazaar to find more holiday events and give aways through out the year. We appreciate your interest in Halloween Artist Bazaar and for keeping the spirit of Halloween alive!

Keep your Jack o’ lanterns lit in solidarity, and to all a


How To Enter:

Visit one of the contributing HAB artist shops and leave them the message “Trick or Treat” in the subject line.
Next like the HAB Facebook page and message us “Trick or Treat” on our wall.
Fill out the form below.

Official Rules

Entry deadline is Midnight on October 20th 2014. The Winner will be chosen at random. One entry per person. Winner will be notified via email. The prize will ship on October 21st 2014. The winners name will be posted on the Halloween Artist Bazaar website and Facebook page. Members of Halloween Artist Bazaar are not qualified for entry.No age restrictions. Contest open internationally, however please note that prize may not arrive before October 31st due to international shipping delays.*your countries custom charges may apply.*

Contributing Halloween Artist Bazaar Artists:(check back as the list grows and photo’s of the winnings are posted!)
Twilight Faerie
Art By Sarada
Ghost Gap
Jan’s Beads
Jynxx Designs
Odd Origins
Tocsin Deigns
Wicked Alterations
Sauvage Raven Creations
Lttle Shop of Horrors

Spirit of Halloween

Spirit of Halloween-By Angelique Duncan

Growing up in the 1970’s Halloween was a big deal. Before the “Candy Man” poisoning and alleged unconfirmed reports of razor blades in apples. Before the fears of devil worshiping cults stealing children and the belief ones neighbor must be a psychopathic killer, Halloween was huge. The urban legends of Halloween horrors hadn’t taken grip. The October holiday’s reputation had not been tarnished by the cultural fascination with fear that had arisen in the late seventies and early eighties. October 31st was an enchanting street party spanning one evening as communities came together, watched out for each other and owned their neighborhoods and ironically were not ruled by fear.

Halloween was the greatest spectacle in one night that a kid could dream of. In the neighborhood where I grew up, Halloween night was an occasion when the entire neighborhood was engaged and the community of neighbors came together. As the sun went down the streets began to fill with all manner of monsters, superheroes, and witches. Pirates and up right cats ruled the night. The build up to Halloween began promptly on the first day of October.

Over the weeks building up to October 31st the houses transformed from normal suburban homes to haunted vignettes. Pumpkins would start to show up on porches, sheet ghosts hung from trees. Orange and black streamers appeared and rattle-ly plastic skeletons were hung from beams and steeples. Home made scarecrows and monsters made from old work clothes and stuffed with newspaper would prop in lawn chairs and benches. The retail world had not yet caught on to the phenomenon of Halloween, so most of the visual spectacle of yard decorations and costumes were home made. There was a sense of sincerity and creativity shrouding the Holiday.

One essential component to every home was the carved lit Jack o lantern, no matter what motif one haunted their yard with; it was not complete with out the iconic glow from the face of a hand carved pumpkin guard. On Halloween night the assembled masterpieces formed from kitchen knives and powered by tea light and votives would smile their candle lit grins in unison.

The entire month of October was spent building ones costume. Once one decided what persona they would be for the night, it was time to assemble the costume. Back then it was deemed cooler to have created your own costume than to have bought one at the few stores that retailed them. Before the marketing of blockbuster movies and commercially licensed cartoon characters became a booming industry, the store bought sort of costumes were prefab plastic mask and tie back costume made from that odd sort of woven plastic nylon “fabric” that seemed to only appear at Halloween. Planning ones costume and getting it just right was essential. Weeks were spent in preparation; collecting bits, sewing and gluing this and that until all the pieces came together.

Finally, after much anticipation, October 31st had arrived. As tradition held from years before, the festivities would commence at dusk. The scramble would begin to get the pumpkin lit, the candy bowl by the door and costume on. Once the sun had sufficiently fallen on the horizon, with bag, pillowcase or bright orange plastic jack o lantern bucket in hand Trick or Treat would begin. Halloween night had arrived.

The little ones came first, accompanied by their elders who had taken on their own costumed personas. The next wave was the school age Trick or Treaters taking to the streets in packs. Later as the moon had ascended high in the October sky, the big kids came, these were the ones who put the trick in Trick or Treat. Halloween night would go on and wasn’t over until midnight. Today one is fortunate if masked visitors knock after 9:30. Back then the knocks would last well in to the night not fading until 11:00p.m. or midnight, even if the magical eve fell on a school night.

Through out the night neighbors flooded the streets in costume, the small children and the oldest of adults. Folks would decorate their baby’s strollers in black and orange or pull their small children in wagons that had been spooked up in Halloween flair. Through out the Autumn air the sounds of collective shouts of TRICK OR TREAT!” laughter and random screams drifted as if on a constant loop.

Nearly every house kept their porch light on. Most folks would answer the Trick or Treat knock in full scary garb or at least in a minimum witches hat or animal ears and drawn whiskers. If a resident had gone out for the night their neighbors would hand out candy in their stead and let the Trick or Treaters know not to trick their house. Folks would usually stand on their porches or driveways waiting for the costumers to come.

In our neighborhood the haunted garage was a common attraction. At least 3 to 4 houses would be decked out in mazes and stations where Trick or Treaters would dare to earn their treats. Friendly competitions would arise as to who would have the scariest garage for that year and bring in the most visitors. Word would spread like wildfire on the streets where the best candy or baked goods were being given and where the best-haunted garage could be found. At the end of the night one was sure to find popcorn balls, candied apples on sticks, rice krispie treats and printed Halloween bags filled with cookies assorted among all stripes of chocolate bars and packaged cadies. Ones bucket or bag would be so full that one might even have to work their way home to empty it so that one could go out and fill it again.

Once tired feet and aching legs had won over the excitement of the evening, and every last house visited, one would make the journey from the other side of the neighborhood back home. The sounds would have quieted some, lest the occasional Trick Or Treat holler heard in the distance. The streets would be littered with wrappers and plastics left from eaten treats and the occasional split skin from a smashed pumpkin that had suffered an untimely, and gruesome fate. Back home one would spread their bounty across the floor to revel in another year’s well-earned Halloween bounty. With sticky hands and sweet filled bellies one drifted to sleep with dreams of the big questions for next October…”What face to give the pumpkin? How to make the yard more scary? What do I want to be for Halloween”?

Reflecting on Halloweens gone by, one hopes that folks will keep the cultural experience of this historical celebration running and children today could have the same fond memories in their own neighborhoods. It is up to us who carry our own happy reflections to keep the spirit of Halloween alive for the following generations. Reclaim the holiday. Hang a ghost from your tree. Find the biggest bowl you can and fill it with candy. Put on a pointed hat and talk to your neighbors, know whom they are. Gather your kid’s friends and plan a Halloween Trick or Treat extravaganza. If you don’t have kids, gather your own friends and haunt up your yard, hand out treats and make Halloween great again in your neighborhood. Keep your porch light on and keep a Jack o lantern lit in the spirit of Halloween.

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.

Growing up with Halloween

Growing up with Halloween-By Angelique Duncan

Angelique Duncan is proprietor of Twilight Faerie Nostalgic and Capricious Objects. Check out her artist page to find links to her shops and vintage inspired traditional holiday art. Visit again next month for more traditions and folklore.


Search HAB on Etsy to find more handcrafted one of a kind items from Halloween Artist Bazaar members.

Enter to win the Trick Or Treat Give Away to win the Trick Or Treat bucket filled with art treats from contributing Halloween Artist Bazaar artist.

‘Halloween HAB’ by TwilightFaerie

Halloween; pop corn balls, caramel apples, bags of well earned candy, being out late on a school night, witches night when ghost and goblins abound, black cats and skeleton bones, haunted houses and jack o lantern smiles!

Halloween October 31 Greetin…


Two Large Hanging Handmade B…


Devil Skull Earrings


Haunted House miniature On R…


Halloween Witch Charm Bracel…


aLtErEd ArT CaRniVaLe SkeLLy…


Owl and Cat Halloween Tea Pa…


Halloween Pumpkin Boy Figuri…


Something Wicked Halloween G…


Original Whimsical Acrylic P…


Alternative / Folk – Skull T…


Scaredy Cat , Vintage Hallow…


Crying Ghost Jack Halloween/…


Spiffy Cat Noisemaker Rattle


4 Witches Marching Papercut…


BATS & SPIDERS Marble Tile w…


Trick or Treat Give-Away

The Halloween Artist Bazaar Trick or Treat Give-Away has concluded.

The winner has been chosen! Congratulations to Natalie Adair Butler,winner of the Trick Or Treat Bucket brimming with Halloween art and treats from Halloween Artist Bazaar contributing Halloween artists!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Halloween Artist Bazaar Trick Or Treat Give Away 2012. We had a lot of fun hosting this contest and we appreciate all the Trick Or Treaters who visited our shops and Facebook page. The winner will be notified via email on October 23,2012.

Visit us again as we will be hosting more group contest and give-aways in the coming months. Have a Happy Halloween and many great Trick or Treating adventures!

Contributing Halloween Artist Bazaar Artists:
Twilight Faerie
Janis Logsdon Jewelry and Art
Ghost Gap
Cards For A Gloomy Day
Art By Sarada
Soiled Dove’s Mercantile
Tara’s Haunted Halls
Jynxx Designs
Sauvage Raven Creations
Spiderwood Hollow
Moonspell Crafts
Amy Sue Crafts
The Felted Fae
Magic Mirror Fairy Tale Store
Chaos In Color
Holiday Hijinks
Tahoe Snow Bunny
Midnight Jamboree