A strange time of year filled with fun but with a sinister background. I'm going to focus on the cake side of things but maybe that's not much better... A soul cake is a small round cake traditionally made for All Saints Day or All Souls' Day to celebrate the dead.
Bonfires were lit to ward off evil spirits and, it is said, an ill-fated lottery began. If you were unfortunate enough to select the burnt cake you wouldn't see it through the night... human sacrifices are said to have been made to ensure good crops the following year.
However, there is an alternative... while soulers (mainly children and the poor) went around the village singing and saying prayers for the dead. It is said that each cake eaten would save a soul from Purgatory. Perhaps this was the beginning trick-or-treating. I prefer this idea. Whatever the truth is be careful what you eat this week!