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Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween Hardcover – October 15, 2012
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As this is not a scholarly study, the question then arises as to why we need another popular history of Halloween. Morton begins her work with the Celtic holiday of Samhain. She provides a thorough background of the Celtic mythology and links to Beltaine as well. She then moves to the continent, focusing on an eclectic combination of holiday influences from Denmark to Guy Fawkes Day in England. There are chapters on The Day of the Dead from Mexico and other global traditions. The book closes with an extensive chapter on modern Halloween, including movies and theme parks. As I finished, I couldn't help but feel as if I had just finished several Wikipedia articles. There was little fresh information here for fans of the holiday. The work was well-detailed, but those details could come from any decent blog site or encyclopedia article. Simply put, there was little reason to write this book and even less reason to read it.
For horror fans, Halloween is the holiday of the year. Scares, frights, ghouls, and monsters come out of the shadows to invade our streets, our homes, and our imaginations. This holiday is rich with history and symbolism, and Morton tries to bring that history to life. Unfortunately, it's merely a retelling of the basics instead of an enlightening journey into the past. Three stars because it's well-written, but check out any of the major Halloween web sites for essentially the same material.
My "adult" version of Halloween has also come to involve reading everything I can find about the holiday. I want to know about its origins, earlier practices, how and why it has changed since I was a kid, etc. It's not reading, but I also go to historical recreation Halloween dinners and celebrations (yes, these exist).
I'm a cultural historian (doctorate in art history and archaeology, but it's really cultural and visual history), so that's the kind of viewpoint I can offer here:
From where I stand, this is absolutely the best book on Halloween and its history as a cultural phenomenon. I've read Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night by Nicolas Rogers and though that book is supposedly more scholarly, I honestly don't think it was as interesting or informative. Whatever your level of interest, I'd recommend Lisa Morton's book over that one. In fact, if you just want to learn enough about Halloween's past to recreate a 19th century party, I think this book would be a great resource for you.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I haven't even had the chance to finish this book yet. I've gotten about halfway, and it is chock full of information. That could actually be it's downside. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Zachary L. St.John
Amazing history of Halloween and more.
This book always contains something to peak my interest!!
Halloween is my second favorite holiday and I've watched many documentaries on the subject. Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton is a comprehensive read that is... Read morePublished 15 months ago by A. Brantley
This book rehashes stories I've heard before and spends not enough time on the deeper aspects of Halloween. A book written by a modern day witch or Druid would serve better,Published on October 3, 2013 by Andrew J. Mulhall Jr.
This book offers a nice history of Halloween with chapters detailing Halloween in America as well as its international connections.Published on September 26, 2013 by Frank J. Degennaro
Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween is VERY interesting, informative and fun, not just regarding Hallowe'en and history, but also literature, sociology, economics, etc. Read morePublished on June 18, 2013 by Samazonia