Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

Name:    Trick In Treats

WARNING!

Every year at Halloween, kids dress up in ghoulish costumes and go trick-or-treating. This is seen as harmless fun by many and is usually carried out under adult supervision. The reason why this exercise is called ‘trick-or-treat’ is simple, the kids knock on a door and when a person answers they are asked a simple question:

‘Trick or treat?’ The person then has to give the trick-or-treaters a treat (e.g. sweets, chocolate, apples, etc.), or pay the penalty with a trick. The trick is usually a practical joke with no malice involved, although some kids may take this a bit too far.

This custom has been carried out for generations, and so it is a sign of the times when parents have to be careful about the treats the kids are receiving. I am afraid there are some truly wicked and twisted people out there, who seem to take great pleasure in tampering with the kids’ treats. In some of the most serious cases, razor blades and pins have been found embedded in apples. It is only a matter of time before serious injury is caused by such callous acts.

So, I ask all parents to be extremely vigilant and not allow your children to go trick-or-treating without adult supervision. Always check the treats for signs of tampering, and especially be wary of anything homemade (e.g. cakes).

Happy trick-or-treating!

The Investigation . . .

It seems unbelievable but it’s true – these depraved individuals who interfere with kids’ treats really do exist. The warning above is typical of many that appear in e-mail in-trays or through fax machines just before Halloween every year. It is a warning with basis, and should never go unheeded. Over the years there have been many incidences of this kind of food tampering, and the threat has prompted official warnings to be issued. In 1997, the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) issued the following safety   tip for Halloween trick-or-treating:  ‘Warn children not to eat any treats before an adult has examined them carefully for evidence of tampering.’

Although still a threat, the stories have turned into legends over the years and are often greatly exaggerated. Most cases reported have turned out to be hoaxes and out of the incidents that have actually happened, luckily no one has been seriously injured. The stories started to fly around in the late sixties, and the number of incidents reached a record high in 1982. In this particular year, there was an influx of food tampering instances, and not just over the period of Halloween.

Although hugely popular in the USA, trick-or-treating in Britain was almost unheard of before the 1980s. When the US custom did take off in Britain in the mid 1980s, so did all the legends that went with it. British parents were particularly cautious about their children going trick-or-treating, on hearing all at once a plethora of stories about food tampering, poisoning and kidnapping. Many households banned trick-or-treating, and trick-or-treaters were  shown hostility. Of course, the media gave more than a helping hand to whip up the frenzy.

And Finally . . .

The modern  practice of trick-or-treating  probably originated from  a  Celtic  New  Year  tradition  of placing treats  on  the doorstep  for  the  spirits that  haunted  the  night, looking for people to possess. The idea was that the treats would please the spirits, and so these would leave the occupants of the house in peace.

Christians had a similar ritual called ‘souling’, which would take place on 2 November around the ninth century AD. A participant would knock on doors, and the person who answered the door would exchange ‘soul cakes’ (square pieces of bread with currants) for a prayer for deceased relatives. The more cakes that were given, the more prayers would be said, increasing the chances that the deceased relative’s soul would find heaven.

Extract from the kindle book Urban Legends Uncovered – click here to buy