In Swedish folklore, during the witch trials of the 1600s, witches were said to fly off to Blåkulla every year on the Thursday before Easter to go party with the devil. They would then come back on Easter Sunday. Because of this folklore, Swedish children began going around their neighborhoods, dressed up as påskkärring (pohsk-shar-ing – Easter witches) wishing everyone a “Glad Påsk!” (Happy Easter!) and in turn receiving treats.
Postcard of the Easter Witch, via the wonderful MetroPostCard blog :) The first known record of Påskkärring or Easter Witch comes in the form of a church painting found in Uppland, Sweden dating from 1480. By 1668 the belief in them was strong enough for witch hysteria to arise.
I have discovered a fascinating Swedish tradition centered around Easter: Easter witches. påskkärringar. On the Thursday before Easter (Påsk), Swedish children dress up like witches and go door-to-door hoping to get treats. These witches don't look quite like our Halloween witches -- no peaked hats or black capes. Instead, these little witches look like Baba Yaga straight out of a Russian fairy tale, with headscarves, kerchiefs, aprons, and rosy cheeks.