Halloween wasn’t always scary; guys and gals once considered it a night of romance. Tricks and treats were designed for a very specific purpose–to find what the future held in the way of true love.
Almost every town held a Halloween dance for just this purpose. Dances were held in schoolhouses, barns or churches. Guests were required to jump over a broom upon arrival to assure future happiness. Masquerade balls were popular, too, but were mostly held in the east.
Apples played an important part at these Halloween parties,
but so did tin soldiers
An article in the El Paso Daily paper in 1899 described the ritual of melting tin soldiers. A young woman would then drip the melted tin from a spoon into cold water. The tin would harden in all manner of shapes, thus foretelling a maiden’s future. If, for example, the tin looked like a shoe, she would marry a shoemaker. A ship meant her future husband would be a sailor. If the shape resembled a hammer, no carpenter in the room was safe.
Bobbing for apples was a must, but with an interesting twist
The apples would each contain the name of a male guest. A woman lucky enough to sink her teeth into a pippin would come up with more than just a wet face; she’d also know the name of her future mate.
Some enterprising hostesses who owned apple trees went one step further. While the fruit was still green they glued paper initials of single males onto the apples. When the apples ripened, the paper was washed off revealing green initials on the rosy cheeks. Upon arriving at the party, female guests would draw an apple from the tub to find out the name of their dance partners.
I’ve got your number!
Another popular game involving apples required careful paring so that the peels were cut into one long strip. These were then thrown over the left shoulder. The peel would curve into a letter of the alphabet on the floor thus revealing the initial of a future love.
Peelings were also hung from barn doors and female guests given a number. If for example a woman received the number two that meant that the second male through the door would be the man of her dreams.
Another crowd pleaser–the cobweb game
Guests were each given two bright colored threads attached to a cardboard heart in some remote corner. The threads ran through the room in an intricate manner. The idea was to unravel your thread by bobbing under a red thread or slipping through a tangle of green or blue threads until you reached the heart which named your partner for the night.
Say you’ll marry me in 30 seconds or less
Halloween games also included the game of Proposal. Each woman had a stack of cardboard hearts and lemons. The males had to go around the room and propose to each woman. He had thirty seconds to convince her to marry him. When the bell rang she would either give him a lemon for no or a heart for yes. At the end of the game, the man with the most hearts won.
Today, Halloween conjures up visions of ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night. Hope you enjoyed traveling back in time to when Halloween was just another word for love.
Anyone have a silly, funny or romantic Halloween memory to share?
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