Trick or treating actually started hundreds of years ago in Medieval England and Ireland. They would make small, round soul cakes (recipe below) for All Saints’ Day. Children would go door to door and sing songs and say prayers for the dead and would receive a soul cake for their efforts. For each cake eaten, a soul would be freed from Purgatory.
Tradition holds that St. Gertrude the Great was told by Our Lord that the following prayer, when piously recited, would release 1,000 souls from purgatory.
Eternal Father, I offer You the most precious blood of thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, for those in my own home and in my family. Amen.
St. Gertrude had many heavenly visions, and it is recounted that Jesus showed her a vast number of souls entering heaven from purgatory as a result of her faithful recitation of this prayer.
And did you know that you can get a Plenary Indulgence (removes all of the temporal punishment due for sins) once every day from November 1 – 8 if you attend Mass, receive Holy Communion, visit a cemetery and pray the Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be for the dead. Also, go to Confession within a week. After the 8th you can receive a Partial Indulgence (removes part of the temporal punishment due for sins) for the rest of the month.
The recipe below is from food.com but I tweaked it a little.
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 3 3/4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp all spice
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 6 TBsp milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butter into flour. Blend in sugar and spices. In a separate bowl beat eggs, vinegar, and milk together. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix. Knead thoroughly to form a stiff dough. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut into 3 inch rounds with a glass or cookie/biscuit cutter. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. Use the end of a wooden spoon to press a cross shape into the cakes. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden. Sprinkle with powder sugar while still warm.