All Souls’ Day

Trick-or-Treat dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England.  The poor would beg for food and they would be given pastries called ‘soul cakes’ in return for promising to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The Church encouraged the distribution of soul cakes as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. “Going a-souling” was eventually taken up by children who visited local houses and would be given ale, food, and money.

Dressing Up

The Halloween tradition of dressing in costume has European and Celtic roots. Winter was an uncertain and frightening time, with low food supplies and long dark days. To avoid being accosted by ghosts in the dark, people chose to wear masks and dress up so that spirits wouldn’t recognize them. Also, to keep ghosts from entering houses people would leave bowls of food outside their homes.

In the 19th century Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.


Modern Day Trick-or-Treat

Nowadays, Halloween is much more about costumes and parties for both children and adults than about ghosts, pranks and witchcraft.

For Halloween 2017 95% of Americans planned to buy candy, 72% purchased decorations, 69% bought costumes and 37% sent greeting cards.

People search everywhere to find the perfect costume idea – Instagram has seen the biggest growth, but online or in-store still lead. In the US, costumes make up the largest share of spending at around $3.4 billion. Did you know that men plan to spend nearly $20 more, on average, than women?

If you’re looking for inspiration, the top 10 Halloween costumes in 2017 were:

Rank Kids Adults Pets
1 Action/Superhero Witch Pumpkin
2 Batman character / Princess* Batman character (Batman, Catwoman, etc.) Hot Dog
3 Animal (Cat, Dog, Monkey, etc.) Animal (Cat, Dog, etc.) Dog /Lion / Pirate*
4 Spider-Man Pirate Bumble Bee
5 Star Wars character Marvel Superhero (Spider-Man, Captain America, etc.) Devil
6 Witch Vampire Batman character
7 Pirate / Marvel Superhero*

(excl. Spider-Man)

Zombie Ghost
8 Disney Princess DC Superhero* (excl. Batman, Wonder Woman) / Star Wars character Cat
9 Ghost Slasher Movie Villain (Jason, Scream, etc.) Witch
10 Wonder Woman Wonder Woman Star Wars character
*costumes tied for ranking

Source NRF’s Annual Halloween Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics


P.S. If you’re celebrating this Halloween, we would love to see your illooms pictures. Either let us know in the comments below or head on over to our ‘Upload Your Photos‘ page where you can share photos of your Halloween party ideas with all of the illooms community.