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The majority of the traditions commonly associated with Halloween today are borrowed or adapted from two different festivals:
The practice of wearing costumes or masks during this sort of end of Autumn celebration probably comes from a Celtic New Year’s Samhain tradition. During Samhain, young men impersonated evil spirits by dressing up in white costumes with blackened faces or masks. It was believed that during the transition from one year to the next, the realms of the living and the dead would overlap, allowing the dead as well as evil spirits to roam the Earth. By dressing up as spirits, hopefully the real evil spirits would leave you alone, rather than rip out your entrails or otherwise harass you.
In the 8th century, the Catholic Church was trying to provide an activity that would hopefully stamp out the old Samhain traditions, so they moved and modified a couple hundred year old Catholic tradition from May 13 to November 1st. The new version of the celebration included “All Hallows-Even”, “All Saints’ Day”, and “All Soul’s Day”, collectively called “Hallowmas”.
Many of the traditions of Samhain were adapted into these Catholic festivities and sometime between the 11th and the 15th centuries, the Church adapted the Celtic costume tradition to now dressing up as saints, angels, or demons.
As for the trick or treating, or “guising”, tradition, beginning in the Middle-Ages, children and sometimes poor adults would dress up in the aforementioned costumes and go around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers, often said on behalf of the dead. This was called “souling” and those gone-a-begging were called “soulers”.
Souling ultimately gave rise to guising in the U.K. starting in the 19th century. This was pretty much the same thing, except instead of offering prayers, the children would tell jokes, sing songs or perform in some other way in exchange for a treat.
Hallowmas was generally shunned by Protestants in America until the late 19th or early 20th century when it is thought to have been brought over by Scottish and Irish immigrants, with the first documented reference of it in North America around 1911.
Within a couple decades in North America, guising gave way to “trick or treating”. In this new practice, children no longer performed for treats, but instead vandalized and extorted for their food item.
The earliest known reference to the phrase “trick or treat” was printed in the November 4, 1927 edition of the Blackie, Alberta Canada Herald, where it describes how when no “edible plunder” was given to trick or treaters, the youthful tormenters would scatter people’s readily available outdoor items around town.
The term, “trick or treat”, and the practice, slowly spread throughout North America with a brief respite during WWII due to sugar rations. Once these restrictions were lifted, Halloween’s popularity saw a huge spike and within a decade trick or treating was a near ubiquitous practice throughout North America as it is today, albeit somewhat toned down with the “trick” part no longer usually being a genuine threat.
Right now you’re feeling insecure. You are feeling like you’re not good enough; pretty enough; smart enough; or just plain enough. You’re feeling like you try so hard, but sometimes it’s not good enough.
In your heart, you know that you are capable of so much. It’s not that you don’t love yourself, but you’re just not feeling completely “yourself” at the moment. I want to remind you of a few things. I want to remind you are that are so kindhearted, and that people value your friendship and the love that you give. I want to remind you that you are loved by so many people, even when they don’t always remind you of this themselves. I want to remind you that you are an incredible person and that you contribute so much to this world with your unique talents, gifts, and personality. I want to remind you that there is nobody quite like you in this world. And that is a thing to cherish.
It’s okay to feel insecure; insecurity is a natural feeling. But darling, don’t let it take you over. Please stopcomparing yourself to others. Believe it or not, the people that you compare yourself to also compare themselves to others at time, and probably have compared themselves to you! We all get insecure, and sometimes we all don’t feel like we are enough. Please know in your heart that these differences between you and others are what makes our world such a wonderful place to live in. Dearest You, please value your uniqueness and never wish you were born a different way. You are God’s child. And He made you Enough.
Know that you are so beautiful. No, I’m not talking about just your looks. I’m talking about your inside. You have so much to offer, and anyone would be lucky to cross your path in their life. You are kind, gentle, thoughtful, funny, and fun to be around. People leave this world better because of you. Do you know how special that is? That your presence contributes to a better world? My dearest You, why have you forgotten that? In the end, the only thing that matters is how you made others feel.
Dearest You, I want to ask a favor of you. Please think back to when you felt most proud of yourself. Was it when you were graduating college? When you had your first born child? When you earned your dream job? I would like for you to go back in that moment when you felt invincible. Hold that memory close to your heart. Remember how capable you are of changing the world and how unstoppable you are. Insecurity is nothing but a few negative thoughts that drag you deeper and deeper down the more that you let them bother you. I would like for you to remember a positive experience that will lift you back up from those depths and remember how much you love yourself.
Dearest You, I know you can rise above this. Don’t let a hardened heart prevent you from being wonderful You. Shake off those feelings. The world is yours for the taking. But only if you believe in yourself.
I know that deep in your heart, you know your worth. You just needed to be reminded of it.