Tonight's the night in America when all sorts of strangeness hits the neighborhoods. The show in Rockwood is usually well over the top and was a stunner to me when I emigrated to Roane County 19 years ago. I knew you folks were wondering where the craziness originated so I did some looking.
In small town Georgia, my parents put a mask on me and took me around to the prominent houses around Dublin, Ga. My grandmother didn't understand why, since it was unheard of when she was a kid. I got candy, so what else does a four year old need to embrace a program?
Here's a little history for what's about to happen:
The earliest reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking America occurs in 915, with another isolated reference in Chicago in 1920. The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s commonly show children but do ot depict trick-or-treating. Ruth Edna Kelley, in her 1919 history of the holiday, The Book of Hallowe'en, makes no mention of such a custom in the chapter "Hallowe'en in America." It does not seem to have become a widespread practice until the 1930s, with the earliest known uses in print of the term "trick or treat" appearing in 1934, and the first use in a national publication occurring in 1939...
...Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947. Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children's magazines Jack and Jill and Children's Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs the Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show, and UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating...
And Kids...Let's be careful out there!