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  • Trick-or-treating

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    A child dressed as a skeleton trick-or-treating in Redford, Michigan on October 31, 1979Trick-or-treating is a Halloween ritual custom for children and adults in many countries. Children in costumes travel from house to house, asking for treats with the phrase "Trick or treat". The "treat" is usually some form of candy, although in some cultures money is used instead. The "trick" refers to a threat, usually idle, to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. Trick-or-treating usually occurs on the evening of October 31. Some homeowners signal that they are willing to hand out treats by putting up Halloween decorations outside their doors; others simply leave treats available on their porches for the children to take freely. Houses may also leave their porch light on as a universal indicator that they have candy. In Britain and Ireland, the tradition of going house to house collecting food at Halloween goes back at least as far as the 16th century, as had the tradition of people wearing costumes at Halloween.

  • Halloween

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    Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of Hallows' Even or Hallows' Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in several countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed. It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain; that such festivals may have had pagan roots; and that Samhain itself was Christianized as Halloween by the early Church. Some believe, however, that Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday. Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising and souling), attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, as well as watching horror films.

  • Poisoned candy myths

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    Poisoned candy myths are urban legends about malevolent strangers hiding poisons or sharp objects such as razor blades, needles, or broken glass in candy and distributing the candy in order to harm random children, especially during Halloween trick-or-treating. These stories serve as modern cautionary tales to children and parents and repeat two themes that are common in urban legends: danger to children and contamination of food. No cases of strangers killing or permanently injuring children this way have been proven. Commonly, the story appears in the media when a young child dies suddenly after Halloween. Medical investigations into the actual cause of death have always shown that these children did not die from eating candy given to them by strangers. However, in rare cases, adult family members have spread this story in an effort to cover up murder or accidental deaths. In other incidents, a child who has been told about poisoned candy places a dangerous object or substance in a pile of candy and pretends that it was the work of a stranger. This behavior is called the copycat effect.

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