The spooky history of Halloween

The survey showed that people will spend an average of $75 on costumes and candy this year, almost $5 less than in 2012.

"The survey found that [Americans] spend more on adult costumes than kids', $2.6 billion altogether. And almost 14 percent of people celebrating will buy costumes for their pets - that will come to about $330 million," it reported online.

The survey revealed that Americans will also spend another $2 billion on candy and nearly $360 million on Halloween cards.

Historians believe that the origin of trick-or-treating lies in the ninth-century European custom of "souling."

On All Souls Day (November 2), Christians would beg for "soul cakes," or square pieces of bread with currants. These cakes were given to Christians by neighbors in hopes of receiving prayers for dead relatives and their eventual passage into heaven.

Trick-or-treating in the United States gained prevalence in the 1950s and has since become a Halloween custom.

Trunk-or-treating has also become popular in the past few years in the United States. Trunk-or-treating is usually hosted by an organization or local church.

Children move around a parking lot, where cars have their trunks open and full of candy. Trunk-or-treating can sometimes include games, food, prizes, and decorations.

Although American children say, "trick-or-treat" when asking neighbors for candy, other nationalities have their own traditions.

In Ireland and Scotland, children go "guising," another word for being disguised. These children usually perform for their treats by singing, dancing, telling jokes, card tricks, etc.

Some Scottish and Irish children have picked up the American phrase, "trick-or-treat." In Ireland, some children still say, "Help the Halloween party," while some Scottish children say, "The sky is blue, the grass is green, may we have our Halloween?"

In England, trick-or-treating has started to gain popularity among the younger generations, however in some areas, it is only practiced by the working class neighborhoods because it is generally seen as begging.

Portuguese children go from house to house on All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day, carrying pumpkin carved lanterns and asking for "Pao-por-Deus," singing rhymes reminding people why they are begging. They tell their neighbors that, "It is for me and for you, and to give to the deceased who are dead and buried."

After the begging, bonfires are lit with the "firewood of the souls" and children smother their faces with ashes.

Although Halloween celebrations throughout the U.S. are similar, traditions still vary from home to home.

The Tidewater Review would love to hear about your Halloween traditions and see your costumes and decorations.

Email pictures to: and become part of our Halloween online photo gallery, with photo credit.

Martin can be reached by phone at 804-885-0040.