The word Hallowe'en dates to about 1745 and is of Christian origin, meaning "hallowed evening" or "holy evening." It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve (the evening before All Hallows' Day), with the word "eve" (from "even"), contracted to e'en or een.
Some researchers speculate that the modern "trick-or-treat" ritual may stem from the Scottish practice of "guising," a secular version of "souling." In the Middle Ages, soulers, children and poor adults, would go to local homes and collect food or money in return for prayers said for the dead on All Souls’ Day. Guisers discarded the prayers in favor of less religious performances like jokes, songs, or other “tricks.”
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Black Cat Night
"Take your undergarment off at Halloween, wash it backwards, dry it backwards, and then sit down before the stove backwards without speaking; and if you are to marry, you will see your future husband come down the steps. If you are not to marry, you will see a black cat come down the steps, followed by four men carrying a coffin.”
Amang the bonie winding banks, <br> Where Doon rins, wimplin, clear; <br> Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks, <br> An’ shook his Carrick spear; <br> Some merry, friendly, country-folks <br> Together did convene, <br> To burn their nits, an’ pou their stocks, <br> An’ haud their Halloween" <br><br> ~ Robert Burns, Halloween, 1785
“On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless!--but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle!”
~ Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1820
The Pumpking Baker
"Take a pound of Pompion, and slice it; an handful of Time, a little Rosemary, sweet Marjoram stripped off the stalks, chop them small; then take Cinamon, Nutmeg, Pepper, and a few Cloves, all beaten; also ten Eggs, and beat them all together, with as much Sugar as you shall think sufficient; then fry them like a Froise." <br><br>~ Gentlewoman’s Companion, written by Hannah Woolley, 1675
Witches' Night Out!
"Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."
~ Shakespeare's Macbeth, the witches' recipe, Act 4, Scene 1 (c. 1603-1607)