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!

AMERICAN IDIOMS THAT CAME FROM SPORTS

America is a very big country with a large, diverse population. That means we have all kinds of sports. As you probably know, there are many expressions used in sports. Sometimes, these expressions start to be used in everyday life.

For example, “down for the count” comes from the sport of boxing. When a boxer is knocked down, he has ten seconds to stand up again. When he is down, he is “down for the count.”

Today, we may say someone or a company is “down for the count” because of a setback or a small failure. But that doesn’t mean they are “out” yet. A fighter who is knocked down may still stand up and win the fight. Likewise, a businessman or company can lose some money or some deals but over a long time still be very successful.

Are you interested in a full list of sports idioms you can use outside of sports?

Wikipedia has a full entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sports_idioms

Or just search around online!