History of Halloween (5)


Some of these Halloween costumes just scare me.
When my son was younger, about 5 years of age until 9 years of age, we used to live in a little settlement in Berlin. 78 houses – so it was kind of a little village in the huge city.

Soonish the neighbors decided that the children should play “Trick or treat” on Halloween – actually we didn’t have such a tradition at that time.

It worked well for the kids, they collected tons of candy which were supposed to last until Christmas, but with the help of mom and dad we always managed to “kill” them much earlier in time.

The kids just stood in front of the door, shouted “trick and treat” at us, but I bet they never had a plan if I wouldn’t have given them candy.

Most of the costumes have been very scary.
My son made me sew him different scary costumes. One was with a skeleton on it, we used an old T-shirt of his dad to do it. I also sewed a habit to dress him up as the Grim Reaper, we used to craft a scythe or tieing a rope in a special way.

The background behind all the costumes was: They were supposed to be scary.
Usually no little charming princesses or funny clowns on Halloween – those costumes you will see at Carnival.
But you can meet a bloody mummy.

Sure the German kids adopted what they had seen in Television about Halloween, but these costumes are also traditional costumes.

The reason for the scariness is again to ward off harmful spirits by wearing scary costumes and masks.
The spirits might get tricked if somebody disguises himself as another harmful spirit.
So the person was protected.

Another reason for this tradition was that young men dressed up in white with masked or blackened faces to impersonate those spirits.

This is an old Celtic tradition. Copying the evil spirits, modelling masks after monsters or ghosts or witches.
And the witches have to be ugly and evil. Or devils.
The whole bunch of ugliness and evil.
Lets face them and they won’t do us any harm.

Trick or Treat

The origin of “Trick and Treat” are several customs.

Samhain was Celtic New year, a harvest festival where people prepared themselves for winter.

So poor people used to walk from door to door, begging for food.
They were given.

If Children where approaching the door of a house, people also offered them food, usually apples, as a reminiscence of the harvest festival.

And a third origin was the custom to beg for the Halloween Party, as Irish children used to do it until the beginning of the 1990s. They used to say “Help the Halloween Party”.

But due to the influence of movies and TV, everybody is using now “Trick or treat”.

Final part will be on November 1
On Halloween we publish a special GuestPost right from the USA
stay tuned in to read a fantastic article by Scott Lenig

Part 1  – Part 2Part 3Part 4



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5 thoughts on “History of Halloween (5)

  1. Pingback: History of Halloween (6) « Helz-Design

  2. I absolutely love Halloween and it is the best time of year in my opinion. The costumes, the decorations and of course all of that yummy candy.

    I also like the “scary costumes” as opposed to the “cutesy ones”.

    • hey justin
      thanks for stopping by 🙂
      germany is still working on her halloween tradition.
      i love it too … especially the pumpkin lanterns 😉
      costumes: halloween – scary costumes, carnival – cuter ones 🙂
      at least in germany

  3. Again, more interesting traditions and lore from across the pond. Thanks.

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