A Vintage Halloween.

By Alison October 31, 2006 No Comments 4 Min Read


By Anne Blythe,Courtesy of "HouseWife Magazine, November 1949."

Halloween Games For October 31st.

Essential ingredients for a good party? A stock of apples, hazel nuts and potatoes, a hearty appetite, candles and pumpkin lanterns for lighting.

Games: (better play them in the kitchen or lift your best carpet)

Dookin For Apples.

Fill a wash tub with water anf float in it, as many apples as you have guests. Place it on the floor and stand a chair against it, the back towards the tub. Hand out table forks to each guest and invite them to kneel on the chair , and with their chin’s over the back and the fork held between their teeth, try to drop it into the tub so that it spears an apple. Guests queue up and try this in turn, and after one or two rounds (luck or good aiming) everybody should have won a rosy apple.

Champit’ Tatties.

Or mashed potatoes if you are not from the North of England. Potatoes boiled, mashed and beaten up with a little butter and milk, with a set of lucky charms (rings, bells, threepenny pieces, baby dolls, batchelor buttons and thimbles, preferably wrapped in paper) stirred in. The pot of potatoes is taken, steaming hot, to the guests, the lights are put out, and each one dips in a spoon and eats his helping, carefully, in the dark. He soon let’s you know what fortune his young life holds!

Apple On A String.

Take a big, soft, rosy apple with a strong stalk attached. Or if you can’t find one, cut through the centre with the corer and string the apple up on a piece of tape. Hang it up from a ceiling beam or door lintel so that it dangles about the height of the smallest guests mouth. Now invite each to put his hands firmly behind his back and try to take a bite from the apple.

Determined small boys soon find that it can be done, with a lot of clever work with jaws, chin and shoulder, but they don’t see how funny they look!

The Three Luggies.

Take three small basins. Put clean water in one, water and some soot from the chimney in another and leave the third empty. Blindfold a guest and lead him to the table or herath where the basins are laid. Move them around again so he doesn’t see them first, and invite him to put his left hand in one. If he touches the clear water he’ll marry a pretty girl, if the sooty water, a widow, and if the empty water basin, he won’t marry at all.

For girls, the charm foretells whether she will be a bride, a widow, or a spinster. To make absolutely sure it is repeated three times and each time the arrangement of the basins is altered. Played at Halloween, when the witches control our fate anyway, it is said to be infallible.

Pulling Stocks.

This used to be the first ceremony of a Halloween party, in the days when no hostess minded her plants of kail being pulled up from the garden on Halloween night. The guest’s went out, hand in hand, with eyes shut and pulled up by the root the first vegetable they found in the Kail-yard. If it were big or little, straight or crooked, so would there husband or wife be (if any soil clung to it, there would be a dowry or fortune as well), and if the heart of the stem tasted sweet or sour, so would be their nature. Not to be encouaraged if you grow precious winter greens.

Burning Nuts (For Those In Love).

Toss two hazel nuts, one for yourself and one for the man or girl you fancy, into the heart of a glowing fire. If they roll together and burn side by side peacefully, so happily will your courtship progress. If they fly from each other (be careful of your eyes!), that love is not for you…

Apple In The Glass.

This is the last game of the night, played after midnight and alone. You take a candle and go alone into a room with a looking glass. Eat an apple before it, combing your hair all the time, and if the Halloween Charms are still working, the face of your future partner will be seen in the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder. If the practical jokers of the household have seen you, expect anything!


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