trick or treat

variants: or trick-or-treat

Definition of trick or treat

: a Halloween practice in which children wearing costumes go from door to door in a neighborhood saying "trick or treat" when a door is opened to ask for treats with the implied threat of playing tricks on those who refuse … a whimsical 1951 Saturday Evening Post cover on which costumed children are surprised by a disguised adult who opens the door for trick-or-treat.Antiques and The Arts Weekly

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Other Words from trick or treat

trick-or-treat intransitive verb trick-or-treated; trick-or-treating; trick-or-treats
I drive home at lunch and pick the boys up for trick-or-treating. Marcus is a rancher and Howie's an accountant. He's wearing thick fake lips and carrying a ledger. The Park's the only safe place to trick-or-treat anymore. — George Saunders
trick-or-treater noun, plural trick-or-treaters
A year ago, his wife suggested that he might feel better if he wore his old pirate-captain costume when he opened the door to trick-or-treaters, but a little boy in the first group of callers—a four-year-old who was ferociously costumed as a snaggletoothed monster—burst into tears at the sight of him. — Calvin Trillin
trick-or-treating noun
This is a guy who went trick-or-treating in catcher's gear while the rest of his friends dressed as mummies and mass murderers. — Franz Lidz

Examples of trick or treat in a Sentence

We got all dressed up for trick or treat. When the door opened the kids all shouted “Trick or treat!”.
Recent Examples on the Web The four villages designated 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31 as the time to trick or treat. Kimberly Fornek,, 2 Oct. 2020 Be sure to wear your Halloween costume because there are trick or treat stations throughout the park. Luann Gibbs, The Enquirer, 28 Oct. 2020 Winners will receive trick or treat pet prize bundles and bragging rights. cleveland, 19 Oct. 2020 As an incentive not to trick or treat, the city will offer substitute activities on Oct. 30 from 6 to 7 p.m., the administration said. Robert Higgs, cleveland, 1 Oct. 2020 Also suggested was to trick or treat in groups limited to household members only and not eat candy collected during trick-or-treating until after washing hands. Jennie Key, The Enquirer, 31 Oct. 2019 Halloween is going to be very different during a pandemic, forcing companies that rely on the trick or treat season for sales to find ways to adapt. Tara John, CNN, 19 Oct. 2020 Children who trick or treat don’t usually linger within 6 feet of one another for more than 30 seconds, and masks are kind of already part of the whole thing. Jessica Saggio | Contributing Writer,, 19 Oct. 2020 Pearland plans spooky films Breaking with tradition, the city of Pearland will not have its trick or treat trail this year, but in lieu of that, the parks and recreation department will extend its popular Sunset Cinema program. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, 16 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'trick or treat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of trick or treat

1927, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for trick or treat

Time Traveler

The first known use of trick or treat was in 1927

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Statistics for trick or treat

Cite this Entry

“Trick or treat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for trick or treat

trick or treat


English Language Learners Definition of trick or treat

: a custom on Halloween in which children knock on people's doors and say "trick or treat" when the doors are opened to ask for candy

trick or treat


Kids Definition of trick or treat

: a children's Halloween practice of going around usually in costume asking for treats


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