"Trick or Treat" on FirstMention.com

Barry Popik bapopik at GMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 18 16:39:56 UTC 2007

When did he post this?...Does he not realize that there are other
cites before 1938, as we've pointed out? (Both Fred and I pointed out
the 1934 Helena, Montana cite.) Is this guy reading ADS-L, but not the
ADS-L archives?
But first things first.  How long have kids been knocking on doors,
and yellinng Trick or Treat?  It's definitely a habit that blossomed
in the 1940's and '50s, but the very FirstMention harks all the way
back to 1927.  The November 4, 1927 issue of the Letherbridge Herald
in Alberta, of all places, carried this recap of Halloween night
So "trick or treat" was the cry of the night way back on Halloween Eve
in 1927, at least in Blackie, Alberta.  But the phrase then disappears
from print for quite a spell, not showing up again until 1938, and
then pretty sparingly.  After 1938, though, it becomes a pretty
regular occurance in the newspapers of the day, becoming a downright
national phenonemon sometime in the 1940s.
Interestingly (to me...I have a strong streak of geek), the earliest
use of "trick or treat" really seems to be an out west sort of thing,
more specifically, northwest, showing up in Northern California,
Montana, Idaho, and way up north in Alberta.  It's not until later on
that it begins to creep east and south.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list