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Lillian Haish, a two month old dressed as a witch, looks over her mother's shoulder during trick or treat at base housing aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Oct. 31. During trick or treat, children and families dressed up as make-believe monsters in the long-passed tradition of Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival meant to ward off spirits of the dead.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns

House to house, street to street: costumed tots ask for treats

7 Nov 2013 | Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns

They wandered in droves. Some spooky and scary, others were heroic and flashy and some came straight from the pages of fairy tale stories.

Costumed children of all ages and families haunted the streets of base housing seeking to satisfy their overwhelming urge for sweet treats aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Oct. 31.

Around the eighth century, Pope Gregory III set aside November 1 as All Saints Day, and the night before it became known as All Hallows’ Eve where some traditions from an old Celtic festival called Samhain carried over.

One of the traditions was to wear costumes to ward off evil spirits, a tradition that has carried on and evolved into the holiday we celebrate today. Now, children dress in costumes – scary, spooky, heroic or otherwise – visit houses in the local area where residents give them candy.

“TRICK OR TREAT,” said Jakob Martin, a five-year-old dressed as a Transformer®. “I like trick or treating because it’s spooky, and I’m not scared of anything.”

Jakob and his younger sister, Ruby, a three-year-old impersonating a bumble bee, explained that they would like to come back to the neighborhood next year for more savory snacks.

Aboard the air station, Marines, children and families visit neighbors’ houses for such goodies. Many residents got involved and quite a few parents noticed how much fun their children were having.

“I really think [trick or treating] here is a great idea,” said Jackie Jordan, a mother of two living in base housing. “It’s safe. We live in a kind of gated community with military police guarding the gate. We get to talk to our neighbors, exchange phone numbers and get to know each other. It’s nice to be at ease.”

After a few hours of stopping at houses, the time came for little ghouls and goblins to head home and hoard their treats away from their siblings until next year’s offerings could be collected.