The Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating in the United States and other countries began over 100 years ago, but the custom’s origins are much older, dating back to medieval times. In the Middle Ages, people would participate in “mumming,” or dressing up as ghosts or demons and performing in exchange for food and drink. After the Catholic Church declared November 2 a holiday to commemorate the dead called All Souls’ Day in 1000 A.D., a practice called “souling” began in England. The poor would visit homes owned by wealthy people and assure them they would pray for the souls of their lost loved ones in exchange for pastries called soul cakes.
In Ireland and Scotland, according to History.com, young people participated in “guising,” a tradition where they wore costumes and performed sang a song, recited a poem, or told a joke in return for fruit, nuts, or coins. And in the United Kingdom, after Guy Fawkes’ plot to blow up England’s parliament building was foiled, November 5 came to be known as Guy Fawkes Day. Kids walked around with effigies of Fawkes at night asking for “a penny for the Guy” and pocketing the money.
Trick-or-treating is an old tradition that has evolved differently in many areas of the world. We’ve rounded up eight ways kids participate in this type of custom. Some of them may surprise you.