Trick or… Turkey?
The strangest thing about costumed trick-or-treating isn’t its origins. While putting on costumes and going house-to-house asking for treats is now one of the highlights of Halloween, it wasn’t always so. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, trick-or-treating happened at Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving masking is the root of modern trick-or-treating. People dressed up and went door to door in costume, asking for goodies in exchange for some small song or verse. During these years, Halloween was more for masquerade parties and youthful pranks, not so much for trick-or-treating as we know it. But Thanksgiving masking was a big deal. But it also leads to some confusion when looking at vintage costume pictures. As Stephen Winick, a folklorist at the Library of Congress says of vintage costume images in the Library of Congress collection, “These might look like Halloween pictures to us, but they didn’t look anything like Halloween in 1910.”