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 village of Winnetka announced Wednesday that trick or treat hours had been rescheduled for Saturday, Nov. 2, from 2 to 5 p.m. The move is due to weather and safety concerns, according the village. Dan Lambert,, "With snow in the Halloween forecast, Winnetka and Vernon Hills reschedule trick-or-treating," 30 Oct. 2019 The event will include trick or treating, dancing to spooky music, making creepy crafts, and eating scary treats. Houston Chronicle, "Katy-area calendar of events," 20 Oct. 2019 Anyone who trick or treats after 8 p.m. is also guilty of the same charge. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "You may have heard about the Virginia town that went viral for banning anyone over 14 from trick or treating. Here's the whole story," 23 Oct. 2019 Children also had an early opportunity to trick or treat to downtown stores. Kimberly Fornek,, "Hinsdale Fall Fest draws an evil Elf on the Shelf and Mike Ditka and Monsters Inc. costumes," 23 Oct. 2019 This event provides a safe trick or treat environment, character meet and greets, costume contests, DJ, dance party and prizes. Jennifer Boehm,, "Fun things to do with the kids this weekend: festivals, Halloween, cupcakes," 15 Oct. 2019 Seems as though a long-standing rafting tradition of displaying pumpkins on the river is trick or treat for bruins. oregonlive, "Bill Monroe: Reflecting on four decades of smiles at the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show," 19 Jan. 2020 Halloween festivities come to a close this weekend and this is your last chance to enjoy frights, trick or treating and spooky fun. Jennifer Boehm,, "Weekend fun with the kids: Last chance for Halloween, Boatshow and ‘Coco’ with live orchestra," 30 Oct. 2019 In Campbell County, Highland Heights and Southgate have different trick or treat times. Briana Rice,, "Halloween 2019: Trick-or-treating times set in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky," 24 Oct. 2019

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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Cite this Entry

“Trick or treat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trick or treat

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