As Halloween approaches people are buzzing with costume ideas and plans, but whilst most people are full of excitement some have health and safety concerns. We raise children in our modern world to not speak to strangers or eat food you are given by them. However, Halloween seems to encourage the opposite; children are told to knock on the doors of strangers and eat sweets given to them.


Halloween is extremely popular, 70% of people in the Western world purchase a Halloween costume each year. In 2018, people in the UK spent nearly £419 million on Halloween goods. This amount doubled from the year before and was steadily rising before then. 

This seems to show that Halloween is becoming more popular, but where did it all start?

The traditional of Halloween has been around for hundreds of years, Celtic people used to dance around bonfires in costumes to ward of ghosts and mark the end of the summer months. In the eighth century Pope Gregory III made 1st November All Saint’s Day so 31st October became All Hallow’s Eve, or later “Halloween”.


Perhaps you are wondering why we dress up in costumes at Halloween. This comes from Ireland, where they believe that on Halloween a portal to another world opens and fairies and pixies enter the world to steal children! However if your child is dressed up as a scary monster, cat or skeleton the fairies wouldn't know that they were a child and wouldn't take them! Incidentally, scaring away fairies is also where carving pumpkins into scary faces comes from although traditionally it would have been turnips! 

The idea of “Trick or Treating” has a backstory disputed amongst historians. Some people believe that on Halloween people would write a note in which was written something like “Give this back to the postman and send it somewhere else- it’s a joke!”. This note would be sent around the neighbourhood and people started to feel bad for the poor postman and so it became a tradition to give him a treat of some kind with the note. It didn’t take long for the children to work out what was going on and before long there was a trail of children following the postman hoping for some sweets too.


Whilst this story could be true, others believe that once Roman Catholicism took over people started to use this evening to pray for their loved ones who were waiting in Purgatory to find out if they’d go to Heaven or Hell. This took up people’s time though, so lots of poor people figured out that they could go door-to-door offering their prayers for deceased family members in exchange for alcohol, food or money. Once again, it wasn’t long before children were also going from house to house in hope of some sweet treats.


Trick or Treating may seem rewarding once you have your bucketful of sweets, but it can be extremely dangerous; not only is there the worry of “stranger danger”, but child death rates caused by cars in the UK rises by over 40% on the night of the 31st October when hundreds of children are out and about in the dark wearing mostly black or dark coloured costumes. As Winter approaches and the evenings darken, motorists simply do not see small children running across the road to scavenge for more sweets. These accidents mostly happen at around 6pm when the youngest children start their sugar hunt and dash around without paying attention to their surroundings.


Aside from the danger to children’s lives, Halloween cancause problems to other groups- especially underprivileged homeowners. For example, imagine that you are an elderly person, living alone and every few minutes you have to go to the door, just to see little children asking for sweets from you. You could say that you just don’t answer the door on that night, but what if you are waiting for someone or something.


Many people love Halloween and probably wouldn’t even consider the problems “Trick or Treating” cause but as the spooky holiday approaches, it should be noted to all those who plan to enjoy a bout of “Trick or Treating” that they should be respectful towards those who do not appreciate this form of begging and to be safe in the darkness.


Enjoy the holiday and stay safe.