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The origins of ‘Trick or Treat’: Lethbridge home to a piece of Halloween history

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WATCH: Dressing up in costumes and asking for candy is a Halloween tradition. However, the origins of “Trick or Treating” are much closer to home than you may think. Demi Knight reports – Oct 31, 2019

One of the most popular Halloween traditions across the globe apparently originated in southern Alberta.

Every Halloween, children on the hunt for candy dress up in costumes, knock on doors and ask homeowners the infamous question: “Trick or Treat?”

But did you know that term was reportedly first spoken by costumed faces in Lethbridge?

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Lethbridge historian Belinda Crowson said research has confirmed the term “Trick or Treat” was first documented in the Lethbridge Herald on Nov. 4. 1927.

“The sentence goes: ‘Youthful tormentors were at back door and front, demanding edible plunder with the words trick or treat,'” Crowson said.

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“That, as far as we can tell, is the first time that was ever put into print.”

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Popular and affordable Halloween costumes – Oct 22, 2019

The origins of the phrase were first documented in 2012 by the online research website Today I Found Out.

A day after the research article was published, the Smithsonian Institution also shared Lethbridge’s first reference to the term in its online magazine.

Now, Crowson hopes the word can spread even further.

“It’s a fairly new finding, and it was one of those things where first, it surprised us, then we had to try and verify it,” she said.

“Now, I hope it will get shared and be out there and be one more thing on the Lethbridge list that we were ahead of everyone else for.”

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Although Lethbridge’s part in Halloween history went undiscovered for almost 85 years, Crowson added she’s not surprised the small southern Alberta city has deep roots in the spooky holiday.

“There’s a lot of firsts in Lethbridge — a lot of things we were doing before anyone else,” Crowson said.

“There is a fascinating history here, and this is just one more piece of that history.”