Trick-or-Treat or Tricks-or-Treats

If you grew up watching “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” you have probably been perplexed on more than one occasion by the repeated refrain “Tricks-or-Treats,” as a plural instead of singular phrase.

Was this an old phrase that was later made singular, or was it a dialect familiar to Charles Schultz?

As it turns out, in the late 60s when the cartoon was made, both the singular and plural forms of the phrase were in use, though “Trick-or-treat” was more common and “Tricks-or-treats” was decreasing in popularity.

Prior to the 1960s, both terms were widely used and both were acceptable.

However, “Tricks-or-Treats” and “Trick-or-treat” are surprisingly recent phrases when compared to the overall tradition of getting candy on Halloween.

The first use of the term was recorded in print in 1927, and the origins are not certain, but while trick-or-treating may seem like something kids have always done, what we call it has only been around for about 100 years.


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