If you were a normal American kid, you went trick or treating on Halloween. If you were evangelical/fundamentalist/Calvinist, this was not an option, but neither was mere inaction. See, when kids come knocking at your door yelling “trick or treat,” you may see this:
But fundies see this:
You gotta be hot or cold, or Jesus will spit you out of His mouth. And stumping around the neighborhood in a Frozen costume is clearly the same as witchcraft, which is evil. Do you compromise with evil, punk?
Even without compromising, well-meaning fundie parents still disagree on how to fight the power. Really hard-core fundies turn off all the lights, hide in a windowless room, and read Jack Chick tracts with flashlights. This is only for Hard Core Fundies, so leave this for the professionals. Reading Jack Chick without sufficient pre-brain-washing is known to cause uncontrollable laughter and/or vomiting. Proceed with caution.
Those of an evangelical bent prefer to fight fire with fire, and thus was born the “Tract or Treat” movement. Instead of passing out candy, parents pass out a tract. I couldn’t find stats of increased TPing in response to this bait and switch, but the Lord hath said that in this world we will face persecution.
As a Calvinist kid, I celebrated Reformation Day instead. God in His wisdom predestined that Luther would nail the 95 Theses to the church door on October 31, thereby providing His elect with an ironclad reason to avoid Halloween altogether. While the unchosen heathens comforted themselves with candy and costumes, we covenant children went to church for a festival. They tried doing a Reformation play about Luther, but even the adults got bored, so we stuck with roasted marshmallows and hay rides. Calvinists have gotten more hipster since I was a kid, so they probably have Luther-themed mixed drinks nowadays.
Baptists got bored with Jack Chick and noticed the Presbyterians having fun for once. You know it’s bad when the frozen chosen party harder than you, so Baptists came up with the Fall Festival. It was held in the last week of October, and kids dressed up in costumes that weren’t scary, and there was candy, and everyone agreed that it Definitely Had Nothing to Do with Halloween. Obviously.
These days, the biggest threat to Halloween isn’t fundies – it’s overprotective parents. I hadn’t heard of trunk or treat until a few years ago, but now it’s taken over. They’re everywhere, with parents walking hand in hand with their kids from car to car in a church parking lot, without even the word “trick” to wreck their innocence. These tend to be held in the weeks before Halloween, which means that by the actual day, kids will be overcome in a sugar coma and won’t care. Which is perfect for parents whose biggest fear is their snowflakes being independent.
Dang Jack Chick, you got outdone by yuppies. You’ve gotta up your game.