Trick or Treating

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Soul Cakes by Fran W.

As a Halloween custom in Scotland and Ireland, children would disguise themselves in costumes and go door to door for food and coin. This tradition was called ‘guising’!

Activity: Soul Cakes

During the middle ages, Soul Cakes were given out to ‘soulers’ as they went from door to door on Hallowmas (the night before All Souls Day) singing and saying prayers for the dead. This tradition is believed to be the origins of trick or treating!

To make Soul Cakes you will need:

6 T Butter – melted
1c Confectioners sugar
3 Egg yolks
1 1/2c White wheat flour
1/8 tsp Cinnamon or allspice
Dash of nutmeg (leave out if using allspice)
1/4c Raisins or currents
1/2 tsp Vanilla
Milk as needed (about 1/8 cup)
Mixing spoon
Butter knife
Greased cookie sheet

To make the dough…

Stir confectioners sugar into a bowl of melted butter until smooth and creamy, then stir in egg yolks until that mixture becomes smooth. Add flour, spices, and raisins to the mix, and then slowly add enough milk to make a soft, yet formable dough.
Tip: Mixing can be done with a mixing spoon at first, but the dough will form better with hands.

Making the cakes….

When the dough is soft yet formable, pull off pieces and shape them into round, flat cookies about 2″ wide and 1/2″ thick and arrange them 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet.  *Decorations can be “carved” into the cookies with a butter knife.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
This recipe makes 10-12 cookies depending how how big you make them.

Note: Soul Cakes were originally marked with a cross to show that they were alms.
*Tip: To decorate the Soul Cakes, cookie stamps may be used instead of a butter knife.

Question of the day:

When did ‘guising’ or costume wearing become a Halloween tradition in North America?

Learn more:

Haunted History of Halloween
Find out how trick or treating got its start with the 1:12 minute video

Halloween History and Origins of Trick or Treat
Brief yet informative historical article about Halloween and trick or treating

Wikipedia: Trick or Treating/Guising
Learn about the origins of guising

The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows
Longer article about the history of Halloween.

Disney helped popularized trick-or-treating when they released their 8:15 minute cartoon, “Trick or Treat” in 1952.