Trick or Treat

Meanings of “Trick or Treat”

The phrase “trick or treat” refers to the Halloween custom for children in various countries. It is through this exciting ritual, small kids and adults solicit money or surprise gifts from the people.

Origin of “Trick or Treat”

The phrase “trick or treat” is said to have originated from Calgary Herald, published on 3rd of November, in 1927, where it is stated as; “Hallowe’en came and went… The greatest activity was manifested by the very young, who wandered in droves from door to door, heavily disguised and demanding “trick or treat”. To treat was to be untracked.” Since then, several poets and authors have used this phrase in their writings in its standardized form.

Examples from Literature

Example #1

Trick or Treat by Jim Ellis

Candy candy in the bag
It’s that time of year
Funny clown witchy hag
Another house is near

Popcorn balls and tootsie rolls
A handful is the best
Taken from the biggest bowls
At homes that pass the test

Ding dong ring the bell
Trick or treat is said
And if it does not go so well
Then mark the first word said

The above stanzas are taken from the poem, “trick or treat” narrates the excitement of the speaker who is already wearing a costume for Halloween night. The speaker is soliciting gifts from the house owners. In the second stanza, he discusses the lot he received from the houses he just passed. Filled with excitement, he approaches the next house and rings the bell to trick the house owner. Thus, the use of the phrase in this text is a direct meaning.

Example #2

Trick or Treat by Marilyn Zelke-Windau

Halloween, a time of year, a time of mind,
when serotonin levels swell
at just the thought of candy.
Sugar keeps those little legs pumping,
down streets, up steps, over sidewalk cracks.
Lights on porches draw them in like moths.
Some are reluctant to say the magic words.
Some are brash and grab their own choice
from the bowels of the bowl.
They turn, after three small words,
stumble down to mothers,
fall into waiting strollers
pushed by fathers, who extract their toll
with a snicker, to the next yard.”

The speaker highlights the importance of Halloween night when children happily come out of their houses, anxiously expecting gifts and candies. This thought keeps their legs pumping all the way. While talking about their interactions, the speaker narrates that some children are shy in that they do not utter a word while trick and treating, while some are bold enough to get the prizes of their choices. After taking their gifts they readily turn to their parents and set back home. Therefore, the phrase means the same thing that every year the Halloween night is celebrated with extreme joy.

Example #3

Trick or Treat by Nancy Price

“The ghost is a torn sheet,
the skeleton’s suit came from a rack in a store
the witch is flameproof, but who knows
what dark streets they have taken here?
Brother Death, here is a candy bar.
For the lady wearing the hat from Salem: gum.
And a penny for each eye, Lost Soul.
They fade away with their heavy sacks.
Thanks! I yell just in time.
Thanks for another year!”

The poem details how beautifully people dress up on Halloween night to grab candies and gifts from other people. They wear different costumes, ranging from funny to horror to surprise others with their looks to terrify the people with their ghost-like looks which seem as if they have come from Salem. However, after taking their gifts, they say thanks and fade away with their stuffed sacks. Their thanksgiving expresses the state of joy they feel while receiving exciting prizes. Relating to these meanings to children as they trick for the treats, the text shows the funny side of the phrase.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “The park near my house is nicely transformed into a hauntingly place with roaming zombies, frightening rides and exciting trick-or-treat verities for the kids.”

Example #2: “Eoin remembered that last year, his school won exciting Halloween prizes as he worked on great projects including trick or treat bags, wall hangings, a festive bowl.”

Example #3: “I love when children costumed to disguise the person who opens doors for trick or treat.”

Example #4: “Trick-or-treat,” Sam said, as he placed the match into one watermelon and threw it to the table, causing the others to explode.”

 Example #5: “Despite the lockdown, the Frater’s family were able to go on trick or treating and collected bucket full of candies from their neighborhood. They wore masks.”