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198 × 129 × 16 mm
232 pages
53 illustrations
12 Aug 2019

Trick or Treat A History of Halloween Lisa Morton

Trick or Treat is the first book to both examine the origins and history of Halloween and explore in depth its current global popularity. Festivals like the Celtic Samhain and Catholic All Souls’ Day have blended to produce the modern Halloween, which has been reborn in America – but there are also related but independent holidays, especially Mexico’s Day of the Dead. Lisa Morton explores the explosion in popularity of haunted attractions and the impact of events such as the global economic recession, as well as the effect Halloween has had on popular culture through literary works, films and television series.

Trick or Treat takes us on a journey from the spectacular to the macabre, making it a must for anyone who wants to peep behind the mask to see the real past and present of this ever more popular holiday.

‘Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Non-fiction 2012’ — Award

‘Winner of the 2012 Halloween Book Festivals Grand Prize’ — Award

‘If you want to know anything at all about the subject, you ought to find it in Trick or Treat . . . Mortons interesting account of Halloween is at its best when it comes up to date and there are many entertaining illustrations.’ — Susan Hill, The Times

‘Morton’s excellent history explores Halloween’s origins and traditions as well as its place in popular culture, such as John Carpenter’s “seminal slasher” film Halloween. Condemned by some Christian groups as a dangerous celebration of “the Devil’s Birthday” but embraced as far afield as Hong Kong and Japan, this “most demonised of days” is, she argues, “on the verge of blossoming into a global subculture”.’ — The Guardian

‘Well-written and illustrated, informative and entertaining.’ — Fortean Times

‘This social history explores the roots of apple bobbing, pumpkin carving and more, before asking how an evening of terror cobbled together from a variety of origins went on to achieve global domination.’ — BBC History Magazine

Trick or Treat covers the history of Halloween from its ancient Celtic roots to its stunning growth in global popularity in the 21st century. Morton is an accomplished horror short story writer, and her ability to draw readers in quickly and keep them turning the pages shines through in her nonfiction as well. Lavishly illustrated, this solidly researched and concise work is fun to read and a great choice for readers who want to know why we seek out the scary each October.’ — Library Journal

‘Morton offers the first comprehensive history of the misunderstood festival of Halloween. She playfully sets the record straight on the origins of Halloween,explores its migration from the Old World to the New and back again, discusses the role of consumer culture in establishing supposedly ancient traditions, and concludes with an observation that Halloweens ever-changing nature has allowed it to be adapted for countless purposes around the globe . . . This book is an excellent example of the scholarship on holidays as a means of accessing many facets of history. Highly recommended.’ — Choice

‘full of historical nuggets and strange folklore, Lisa Mortons Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween is the perfect bible for all devoted disciples of the holiday.’ — Michael Dougherty, Writer & Director, Trick r Treat

‘With Trick or Treat Lisa Morton gives us a charming, creepy, insightful and thoroughly fascinating history of Halloween. Its a delicious blend of cultural history and pop-culture savvy that is a true delight to read’ — Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of Flesh and Bone and Assassins Code

‘This is an excellent survey of the Halloween scene, informative and accessible, far more treat than trick.’ — Kim Newman, author of Nightmare Movies and Anno Dracula

‘In a modern world, increasingly filled with pop culture fads and gimmicks, Lisa Morton reveals much of the underbelly history and unknown facts regarding the biggest pop culture event in history Halloween. Her sheer delight and well-researched enthusiasm in tackling many of the unrecognized aspects of this monstrous topic makes one wonder what we dont know about everything else that should be as commonplace to our psyche as a bag of candy.’ — Del Howison, Bram Stoker Award-winning editor of Dark Delicacies and Book of Lists: Horror

‘Numerous black and white illustrations, references, bibliography and an index supplement Lisa Morton's engaging and solidly researched text. Trick or Treat documents lots of historical tricks and is a wonderful treat for anyone looking beyond the commercial surface of Halloween.’ — Canberra Times

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Lisa Morton is an award-winning author and widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on the supernatural. Her previous books include Ghosts: A Haunted History (Reaktion, 2015).


1 Halloween: The Misunderstood Festival
2 Snap-apple Night and November Eve: Halloween in the British Isles
3 Trick or Treat in the New World
4 La Toussaint, Allerheiligen and Tutti i Santi: The Global Celebration
5 Dias de los Muertos
6 From Burns to Burton: Halloween and Popular Culture

Photo Acknowledgements