Trick or treat

There was an anti-Halloween letter in The Sentinel recently, repeating the myth that..

“It’s only been the last 20 years or so that we have copied trick or treat from the Yanks.”

Actually it’s a very ancient and local tradition, as I’ve shown here previously

“In the north [of the Midlands] (and also in Cheshire and North Shropshire), the festival of All Souls, November 2nd, is celebrated [on the Eve, 1st Nov] by parties of lads and children going round to all the principal houses begging for apples — and formerly for cakes and ale — and droning out:

  “Soul soul, for a apple or two
  If ye’ve got no apples, pears’ll do,
  Up wi’ the kettle and down wi’ the pan.
  Give us a big ‘un, and we’ll be gone.”

There is also the line: “He speaks puling [whimpering], like a beggar at Hallowmas,” in Shakespeare (Two Gent.), from which we can infer that in Shakespeare’s time this was also a Warwickshire custom.

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