Halloween: What does it mean to “go trick-or-treating”?

Halloween is one of the most beloved of American holidays for children and many adults alike. It is officially October 31 every year. However, in recent years, the custom of going from house to house to collect candy has sometimes been moved to a different night (e.g. October 30, November 1, etc.) for different reasons.

Candy or sweets can be called “treats.” At each house, the child in a costume knocks on the door and, when the door is opened, the child often says “trick or treat!” Or they may say: “trick or treat, trick or treat, give me something good to eat!” We also call the action of going from house to house “trick-or-treating.”

The meaning of the phrase “trick or treat” is actually kind of a threat! It means if the child does not receive candy, he or she will play some kind of trick on the people. Actually, the child (normally) has no plans to do anything bad or play any tricks if they don’t get candy — it is just a fun expression. However, some people do not provide candy to children and may simply choose not to answer their door.

If you are living in America, we do encourage you to buy candy ahead of time and plan to answer your door and give a couple pieces of candy to each child. It is a fun part of American culture!