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The Origins of Trick-or-Treating, Jack-o-Lanterns, and Haunted Houses


Have you ever wondered why we do some of what we do in observance of Halloween? Well, let your Uncle Mikey drop some knowledge on you and wonder no more. Here are three Halloween traditions explained:

#1.) Trick-or-treating. It comes from an old tradition where poor children in England and Ireland would go door-to-door praying for the dead on All Saints’ Day. After World War II, children in the U.S. started doing the door-to-door walk, and people started giving them candy which led to our modern day trick-or-treating.

#2.) Jack-o-lanterns. This comes from an Irish legend about a farmer named Jack who would play tricks on the devil and God. That got him banned from heaven and hell, so he roamed the world as a flame inside carved vegetables. Jack-o-lanterns became part of Irish superstition too. People would carve turnips and put them outside their houses to scare away evil spirits. When Americans got into it, we used pumpkins instead because there were more of them and they were easier to carve.

#3.) Haunted houses. The only tradition associated with haunted houses in the good old American tradition of finding a way to make money. In the 1950s, Junior Chamber International clubs realized they could make money off haunted houses that played off the Halloween spirit, so they did. Others soon followed their lead.

[H/T: Time]

UP NEXT: Spooky! Watch Haunted El Paso Stories

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