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  • Salon has an article [] (a review of two books) about how many of our Halloween traditions (like many of our Christmas traditions) are not ancient at all, at least not in combination. For example,

    A woman named Doris Hudson wrote an article for American Home magazine in 1939 that, according to Skal, is "the first time the expression 'trick or treat' is used in a mass-circulation periodical in the United States."

    Some of the rowdiness and begging was earlier associated with Thanksgiving or Christmas but ended up sticking to Halloween during the 20th century. And Halloween in the US used to be thought of as something mainly for those of Scottish ancestry.