The Direct Connection Between Trick-Or-Treating And Thanksgiving
By Crystal Antonace
The History Channel claims the tradition of trick-or-treating became a yearly occurrence in the U.S. in the mid-1900s, as Halloween became more of a communal festival. However, the general concept of trick-or-treating partially evolved from a Thanksgiving tradition where kids would go door to door in the neighborhood asking neighbors for anything they could spare.
The original tradition was called Ragamuffin Day, due to children's dreary beggar-like attire. In the early 1900s, even adults participated in Thanksgiving masking, wearing all kinds of costumes to celebrate the day's unity as Americans.
NPR reports that Ragamuffin Day was eventually considered an annoyance among those wanting to celebrate Thanksgiving without beggars at their doors. This led New York’s Madison Square Boys Club to begin an annual Ragamuffin parade, which showcased as many as 400 children in different costumes.
The last official Ragamuffin Parade ended in 1956, but parades like the annual Thanksgiving Macy's Day Parade in New York have been ongoing since debuting in 1924. Today's trick-or-treating may harken back to old Thanksgiving celebrations, but economic hardships and cultural shifts made new traditions form and take shape across the country.