"The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays dates back to the Middle Ages and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls' Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of "puling [whimpering or whining] like a beggar at Hallowmas."
In Scotland and Ireland, Guising — children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins — is a traditional Halloween custom, and is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895 where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money. The practice of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood."
I remember my Granda telling me how easy carving a pumpkin is compared to carving a turnip!
I just had a flashback to my first Halloween costume. I was at my Grandparents' apartment and my Gran wrapped me in a towel, put her shower cap on my head and took me door to door to visit all of her friends. When asked I told them I was a lady who just got out of the bath. I might've been 3 or 4 at the time and I was awfully cute so I probably got lots of candy!
A Scottish comic called Oor Wullie is a good example of how important that Halloween turnip was!
Have a Spooky Day!