Old Fashioned Halloween Games and a Giveaway!

Okay, so I can’t resist a blog about Halloween. After all, it is October.
Earlier this month our very own fillie, Julie Benson, wrote about how much Halloween has changed over the years. And boy has it. But you don’t realize how much until you learn about some of the things they did in the past. I’m only going as far back as the 1800s when folks in America tried to make the holiday less scary and more about community and fun family get-togethers. In fact, by the late 1800’s Halloween parties were celebrated by children and adults alike. The media of the day wanted parents to take the “scary” out of Halloween celebrations and replace it with fun. So, parties became more focused on playing games. There were the familiar ones. Pin the Tail on The Donkey, Bobbing for Apples, Blind Man’s Bluff and scavenger hunts were always a popular pastime at children’s parties. There was even a game called Halloween Pudding. This game, was for young men and women. The host of the party baked a fruit cake with five different things hidden inside. A thimble, a coin, a button, a key, and a ring.

When nine o’clock rolled around, the oldest person in attendance quietly cut the cake then handed the pieces out. The first words spoken after the cake was cut would be prophetic for the year. As were the objects in the cake. Whomever got the ring was said to be getting married that year. The person who got the coin, would be wealthy, (for our time, that would be akin to winning the lottery), the person who got the thimble would become an old maid or a life-long bachelor, (you can bet no one wanted the blasted thimble) and the key meant you were going on a journey. And, if lucky, you got the button. It meant you would meet your true love.

Speaking of true love, there was also a game in which a single gal would go into a dark room with a mirror and a candle. She’d take an apple with her. She had to peel it in one long piece or slice the apple. And she had to watch the mirror while she was doing it. The Victorians believed your true love’s face would appear in the mirror as you watched. Unless of course you were going to die that year, then a skull would appear. Somehow, I don’t see that as being a very popular game, but those were the Victorians for you. They were really into that kind of stuff.

There was also the Victorian version of Green Ghost for those of you who remember that game. Young women would go into a dark room one by one. This was done after everyone told them the room was haunted. There was a dresser in the room with boxes hidden in the drawers. The object of the game was to go into the room in silence, reach into a drawer and retrieve a box from it. All without screaming. Those familiar with Green Ghost, remember reaching into little boxes or containers that were full of plastic rats, bats and what not, or for the adventurous types, gooey stuff that your mom mixed up in the kitchen. Our mom used Jello squares or cold oatmeal. Naturally we played Green Ghost in the dark, creepy attic of our house. In the 1800’s version, the hidden boxes held party favors for the other party guests. Personally, I think the Victorians would have failed at Green Ghost. We screamed like little banshees when we stuck our fingers in cold oatmeal. Only one container contained the plastic rats, bats and cats that came with the game. Oh, and a little green ghost.

I, myself, have never written a book centered around Halloween, but I do have a book that takes place around Harvest Moon. And my hero and heroine meet in a pumpkin patch. He’s also an undertaker.

What’s your favorite fun thing to do at this time of year? I know a lot of folks don’t celebrate Halloween but still like to carve a pumpkin or enjoy foods of the season. What’s your favorite thing about this time of year, whether it’s Halloween or something else? I’ll pick a random winner from the comments to receive a free e-copy of my book, Love at Harvest Moon.

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USA Today bestselling author Kit Morgan is the author of over 140 books of historical and contemporary western romance! Her stories are fun, sweet stories full of love, laughter, and just a little bit of mayhem! Kit creates her stories in her little log cabin in the woods in the Pacific Northwest. An avid reader and knitter, when not writing, she can be found with either a book or a pair of knitting needles in her hands! Oh, and the occasional smidge of chocolate!

42 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Halloween Games and a Giveaway!”

  1. I grew up near the Brushy Mountains, noted for their apples. Sometime in the fall, I like to go back, visit my parents’ graves, and get a bushel of fresh-picked apples. Then, I conjure up all kinds of apple dishes.

  2. I love seeing all the little kiddos dressed up. Some are so adorable. I also love seeing what fun creative deserts and snacks people make for Halloween. Thank you for the history lesson on the 1800’s Halloween.

    • Isn’t Halloween food fun? I made “dead man’s fingers” one year. Basically they were chocolate cookies you shaped like fingers. As I recall, I got the recipe off the internet. They were a big hit.

  3. Loved reading about Halloweens past, Kit! Those naughty Victorians!
    And I LOVED scary Halloweens – I thought their deletions were around the time helicopter moms began…

    • Yes, those Victorians. They were into some scary stuff. No wonder the newspapers and other media of the day tried to tame things a little! And there’s nothing like a good scare on Halloween!

    • There was a lot of different traditions I found while researching this, but just settled on a few games. Fall is my favorite time of year, Denise. I even like raking leaves!

  4. i love to watch my son and his girls carve pumpkins. Seeing the kids in their Halloween costumes is always fun!

  5. What an interesting blog, Kit! I do love Halloween, more now than I did when my girls were young. Maybe because I don’t have the work of making costumes, etc. But we now have an annual family Halloween Bash with fun Halloween-themed foods. The little ones absolutely love it, and the memories are precious.

    A hero that’s an undertaker, Kit? LOL. Love it!

    • Yep, an undertaker. He was a secondary character in another book and the readers wanted him to have his own story, so I gave it to them. And I saw some of the pictures you posted of your Halloween bash. What an assortment of goodies you had!

  6. Loved hearing about Halloween history! This time of year is all about apple picking, pumpkin carving, and fall baking for me 🙂

  7. Fall is my favorite time of year ..I love the cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the leaves …Halloween can be such a fun time …parties with all kinds of silly / scary looking food and telling of ghost stories in the dark …and I love to bake with apples a d pumpkins ..the house always smells so good ..but the best part of watching our grandchildren carve out their pumpkins and dressing up in their costumes and watching their delighted faces as they get their favorite candies !

  8. I love to see all the cute little trick or treaters who come to our door. And especially this kids that have grown up in the neighborhood and you see how much they have grown year to year.

  9. I enjoy celebrating the Fall Feasts (Rosh HaShana and Tabernacles). Cozying up with a good book and a hot beverage is bliss.

  10. I enjoy decorating with fall themes and I also had fun with a scavenger hunt one year. I don’t much care for Halloween as far the scary stuff goes but I like fall/autumn type things.

  11. I enjoy the cooler weather, seeing the chrysanthemums in full bloom and also the pansies. I love seeing our daughter , son in law, granddaughter and grandson who all live in the same town we do, all dressed up in their Halloween costumes and all coordinating. Have a great day and stay safe. I enjoyed reading your post.

  12. I enjoy hearing about what the grands and greats are dressing up for halloween. I sometimes help my daughter make her grands costumes. This time of year I love looking at the color changes.

  13. I enjoy baking. I am hoping to make some pumpkin bread and maybe some cookies this weekend. I also like to be covered in a warm blanket and read.

  14. This is the first year we haven’t, but every year we buy pumpkins and have everyone over to carve pumpkins or draw on their pumpkins and it’s so much fun. The grandkids bring their Halloween costumes and model them for us and let me get some pics of them. Our church always has a fall festival in place of Halloween with tons of cute games and the prizes are candy of course. All of the kids love it. The whole city is invited and there’s always a huge turnout. I expect it to be back to normal tomorrow night, when we have it! I love the cooler weather, which we are just about to start having! Finally!! Some of the trees put on a beautiful show for us!

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