Hello and welcome to another week in the whirligig world of deception here at Factually Deficient. The month of October fast approaches, leaves crackling deadly on the ground in this part of the world, so perhaps it is appropriate that this week I answer this particular question from the impeccable Tohrinha:

What is trick-or-treating?

Trick-or-treating is a strange custom which really reached its peak of popularity in North America in the 1990s. Tangentially related to Russian Roulette, blind dates, and mail-order brides, trick-or-treating is an odd dating habit.

To go trick-or-treating, a couple, often one who has never dated each other before, chooses and attends a restaurant – in general, the restaurant is an upscale one, and with a reasonably full house. The trick-or-treating couple will proceed to order an ample meal, with a full round of courses and a bottle or two of wine.

When it comes time to pay the cheque, however, the trick-or-treat element comes into play. The trick-or-treating couple will choose another occupied table in the restaurant – it is traditional to select a table with likewise a couple, comparable in demographic and meal cost to themselves. Giving no indication to the table they chose, they will alert the waiter of their choice and ask the waiter to think of a number for them to think of.

The trick-or-treating couple will guess whether the waiter’s number is over or under a different number of their own choosing. They will instruct the waiter not to tell them whether they were correct, but rather to act accordingly: if they are correct, their bill will be given to the table they chose – a trick. If they are incorrect, the waiter will bring the other table’s bill to them, along with their own – their treat.

There is another variation on trick-or-treating, whereby a single person will eat at a restaurant, and use the trick or treat of sending the bill to or taking the bill from another single person as a way to start a conversation, and perhaps lead into a date. This, however, is rarely successful.


Disclaimer: this post contains inaccuracies. Factually Deficient does not endorse trick-or-treating.


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