Games for Hallow-e-en
Mary F. Blain
Hallow-e'en or Hallow-Even is the last night of October, being the eve or vigil of All-Hallow's or All Saint's Day, and no holiday in all the year is so informal or so marked by fun both for grown-ups as well as children as this one. On this night there should be nothing but laughter, fun and mystery. It is the night when Fairies dance, Ghosts, Witches, Devils and mischief-making Elves wander around. It is the night when all sorts of charms and spells are invoked for prying into the future by all young folks and sometimes by folks who are not young.
In getting up a Hallow-e'en Party everything should be made as secret as possible, and each guest bound to secrecy concerning the invitations. Any of the following forms of invitations might be used.
Witches and Choice Spirits of Darkness will hold High Carnival at my house, Wednesday, October 31st, at eight o'clock. Come prepared to test your fate. Costume, Witches, Ghosts, etc.
Miss Ethel Jones will expect to see you at her Hallow-e'en Party Wednesday, Oct. 31st, at 8 o'clock. She begs that you will come prepared to participate in the mysteries and rites of All Hallow's Eve, and to wear a costume appropriate to the occasion.
On Wednesday, Oct. 31st, at 8 o'clock, I shall celebrate Hallow-e'en and hope that you will come and participate in the mysteries and rites of All Hallow's Eve, so come prepared to learn your fate.
The room or rooms in which most of the games are to be played should be decorated as grotesquely as possible with Jack-o'-lanterns made from apples, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, etc., with incisions made for eyes, nose and mouth and a lighted candle placed within.
Jack-o'-lanterns for the gas jets may be made of paste board boxes about the size of a shoe box. Cut holes for eyes, nose and mouth in all four sides of the box and cover the holes with red or green tissue paper. A black box with the openings covered with red tissue paper or vice versa or white and green make good combinations. Cut a hole in the bottom of the box just large enough to fit over the gas jet, turning the gas low enough to not burn the box. In addition to this Jack-o'-lanterns made from pumpkins, etc., should be placed around on tables, mantles, corners, etc. A skull and cross bones placed over the door entering the house would be very appropriate.
The hall should be in total darkness except for the light coming from the Jack-o'-lanterns of all shapes and sizes in various places. Autumn leaves, green branches, apples, tomatoes and corn should also play an important part in the decorations. Black and yellow cheese cloth or crepe paper makes very effective and inexpensive decorations. The dining-room should be decorated with autumn leaves, golden rod, yellow chrysanthemums, strings of cranberries, etc.
For a table center piece a large pumpkin could be used with the top cut off and partly filled with water in which a large bunch of yellow chrysanthemums or golden-rod could be placed. Bay leaves can be scattered over the table. Another idea for a center piece is a large pumpkin Jack-o'-lantern, the top cut in large points with small chocolate mice in the notches and scampering down the sides of the pumpkin (held in place by long pins or a little glue) and over the table. Place cards representing pumpkins, black cats, witches' hats, witches, brownies, etc., are appropriate.
If one is not an artist in water color painting, some of the cards could be cut from colored bristol board or heavy paper. The witches' hats of black or brown paper with a red ribbon band; the cats of black paper showing a back view may have a red or yellow ribbon necktie; the pumpkins of yellow paper with the sections traced in ink or notched a trifle and black thread drawn between the notches. Any of these designs could be used for an invitation for a children's party, by writing on the reverse side: "Will you please come to my party on Wednesday, October 31st" with the name and address of the little host or hostess, using white ink on black paper.
The dining-room should also be in total darkness, except for the light given by the Jack-o'-lanterns, until the guests are seated, when they should unmask. The supper could be served in this dim light or the lights turned up and the room made brilliant. After the supper is over and while the guests are still seated a splendid idea would be to extinguish all the lights and to have one or more of the party tell ghost stories.
Have a large pumpkin on a stand or table from which hang as many ribbons as there are guests. Have one end of the ribbon attached to a small card in the pumpkin on which may be a little water color sketch of pumpkin, apples, witch, ghost or other appropriate design together with a number. Have red ribbon for the girls and yellow ribbon for the boys, with corresponding numbers. Let each guest draw a ribbon from the pumpkin and find their partner by number.
Another suggestion is to have the hall totally dark with the door ajar and no one in sight to welcome the guests. As they step in they are surprised to be greeted by some one dressed as a ghost who extends his hand which is covered with wet salt.
The following games and tests of fate and fortune will furnish entertainment for children small and children of a larger growth. Of course, prying into the future with these tests at any other time, they may not prove infallible, but on the Eve of All Saint's Day, when all the elves, the fairies, goblins and hobgoblins are at large playing pranks and teasing and pleasing, why should they not "come true."
Open English walnuts, remove meat, and in each half shell fasten short pieces of differently colored Christmas candles, each of which is to be named for a member of party and, after lighting, set afloat in large pan or tub of water. The behavior of these tiny boats reveals future of those for whom they are named. If two glide on together, their owners have a similar destiny; if they glide apart, so will their owners. Sometimes candles will huddle together as if talking to one another, while perchance one will be left alone, out in the cold, as it were. Again, two will start off and all the rest will closely follow. The one whose candle first goes out is destined to be old bachelor or maid. These nut-shell boats may also be made by pouring melted wax into halves of walnut-shells in which are short strings for wicks.
Each one places handful of wheat flour on sheet of white paper and sprinkles it over with a pinch of salt. Some one makes it into dough, being careful not to use spring water. Each rolls up a piece of dough, spreads it out thin and flat, and marks initials on it with a new pin. The cakes are placed before fire, and all take seats as far from it as possible. This is done before eleven p.m., and between that time and midnight each one must turn cake once. When clock strikes twelve future wife or husband of one who is to be married first will enter and lay hand on cake marked with name. Throughout whole proceeding not a word is spoken. Hence the name "Dumb Cake." (If supper is served before 11:30, "Dumb Cake" should be reserved for one of the After- Supper Tests.)
HALLOW-E'EN SOUVENIR GAME
Suspend apples by means of strings in doorway or from ceiling at proper height to be caught between the teeth. First successful player receives prize. These prizes should be Hallow-e'en souvenirs, such as emery cushions of silk representing tomatoes, radishes, apples, pears, pickles; or pen-wipers representing brooms, bats, cats, witches, etc.
A bowl is filled tightly with flour. During the process of filling, a wedding ring is inserted vertically in some part of it. The bowl, when full, is inverted upon a dish and withdrawn, leaving the mound of flour on the dish. Each guest cuts off with a knife a thin slice which crumbles into dust. The guest who cuts off the slice containing the ring will be married first.
A maid and youth each places a chestnut to roast on fire, side by side. If one hisses and steams, it indicates a fretful temper in owner of chestnut; if both chestnuts equally misbehave it augurs strife. If one or both pop away, it means separation; but if both burn to ashes tranquilly side by side, a long life of undisturbed happiness will be lot of owners. These portentous omens are fitly defined in the following lines: "These glowing nuts are emblems true Of what in human life we view; The ill-matched couple fret and fume, And thus in strife themselves consume; Or from each other wildly start, And with a noise forever part. But see the happy, happy pair, Of genuine love and truth sincere; With mutual fondness while they burn, Still to each other kindly turn; And as the vital sparks decay, Together gently sink away; Till life's fierce trials being past, Their mingled ashes rest at last."
In this game the seeker for a prize is guided from place to place by doggerels as the following, and is started on his hunt with this rhyme: "Perhaps you'll find it in the air; If not, look underneath your chair." Beneath his chair he finds the following: "No, you will not find it here; Search the clock and have no fear." Under the clock he finds: "You will have to try once more; Look behind the parlor door." Tied to the door-knob he discovers: "If it's not out in the stable Seek beneath the kitchen table." Under the kitchen table he finds another note, which reads: "If your quest remains uncertain, You will find it 'neath a curtain." And here his quest is rewarded by finding the prize.
Apple seeds act as charms on Hallowe'en. Stick one on each eyelid and name one "Home" and the other "Travel." If seed named travel stays on longer, you will go on a journey before year expires. If "Home" clings better, you will remain home. Again, take all the apple seeds, place them on back of outspread left hand and with loosely clenched right hand strike palm of left. This will cause some, if not all, of seeds to fall. Those left on hand show number of letters you will receive the coming fortnight. Should all seeds drop, you must wait patiently for your mail. Put twelve apple seeds carefully one side while you cut twelve slips of blank paper exactly alike, and on one side of each write name of friend. Turn them all over with blanks uppermost and mix them so that you will not know which is which; then, holding seeds in your left hand; repeat: "One I love, Two I love, Three I love I say; Four I love with all my heart Five I cast away. Six he loves, Seven she loves, Eight they both love; Nine he comes, Ten he tarries, Eleven he courts and Twelve he marries." Stop at each line to place a seed on a paper, and turn slip over to discover name of one you love or cast away. Continue matching apple seeds with papers as you count, until all twelve seeds and twelve papers are used.
HIDING RING, THIMBLE AND PENNY
Hide ring, thimble and penny in room. To one who finds ring, speedy marriage is assured; thimble denotes life of single blessedness; penny promises wealth.
All are blindfolded and go out singly or hand-in-hand to garden. Groping about they pull up first stalk of kale or head of cabbage. If stalk comes up easily the sweetheart will be easy to win; if the reverse, hard to win. The shape of the stump will hint at figure of prospective wife or husband. Its length will suggest age. If much soil clings to it, life-partner will be rich; if not, poor. Finally, the stump is carried home and hung over door, first person outside of family who passes under it will bear a name whose initial is same as that of sweetheart.
NUTS TO CRACK
Pass pencils and paper to each guest with the following written upon it:-- 1 (A Dairy product.) 2 (A Vegetable.) 3 (A Country.) 4 (A Girl's name.) 5 (A structure.) 6 (A name often applied to one of our presidents.) 7 (Every Ocean has one.) 8 (That which often holds a treasure.) 9 (The names of two boys.) 10 (A letter of the alphabet and an article made of tin.) Explain that the above describes ten different nuts, which they are to guess. The nuts described are (1) butternut; (2) peanut; (3) brazil nut; (4) hazel nut; (5) walnut; (6) hickory nut; (7) beechnut; (8) chestnut; (9) filbert; (10) pecan. A prize may be awarded to the one first having correct answers.
A raisin is strung in middle of thread a yard long, and two persons take each an end of string in mouth; whoever, by chewing string, reaches raisin first has raisin and will be first wedded.
"WHAT'S MY THOUGHT LIKE?"
The players sit in a circle and one of them asks the others: "What's my thought like?" One player may say: "A monkey"; the second: "A candle"; the third: "A pin"; and so on. When all the company have compared the thought to some object, the first player tells them the thought--perhaps it is "the cat"--and then asks each, in turn, why it is like the object he compared it to. "Why is my cat like a monkey?" is asked. The other player might answer: "Because it is full of tricks." "Why is my cat like a candle?" "Because its eyes glow like a candle in the dark." "Why is my cat like a pin?" "Because its claws scratch like a pin." Any one who is unable to explain why the thought resembles the object he mentioned must pay a forfeit.
Two hazel-nuts are thrown into hot coals by maiden, who secretly gives a lover's name to each. If one nut bursts, then that lover is unfaithful; but if it burns with steady glow until it becomes ashes, she knows that her lover is true. Sometimes it happens, but not often, that both nuts burn steadily, and then the maiden's heart is sore perplexed.
Take half as many apples as guests, tie two long strings, one red and
one yellow, to each apple.
Place them in one large or several small baskets or receptacles on a
table. The girls choose the red and the boys the yellow strings and at
a signal they carefully pull the strings and follow them up until each
finds his or her mate holding the string of the opposite color,
attached to the same apple. The apples are then to be divided between
each couple and the seeds in each half, counted as follows:
One--I love thee.
Two--he (she) loves me.
Three--Wedded we will be.
Four--he (she) loves me dearly.
Five--he (she) loves me nearly.
Six--a friend forever.
Seven--we must sever.
Eight--we met too late.
Ten--he (she) is my chosen mate.
THREADING A NEEDLE
Sit on round bottle laid lengthwise on floor, and try to thread a
needle. First to succeed will be first married.
1. The dragon consists of half a pint of ignited brandy or alcohol in
a dish. As soon as brandy is aflame, all lights are extinguished, and
salt is freely sprinkled in dish, imparting a corpse-like pallor to
every face. Candied fruits, figs, raisins, sugared almonds, etc., are
thrown in, and guests snap for them with their fingers; person
securing most prizes from flames will meet his true love within the
2. Or, slips of paper on which verses are written are wrapped tightly
in tin-foil and placed in dish. Brandy is poured on and ignited. The
verse each person gets is supposed to tell his fortune.
Place burning dish in middle of bare table, for drops of burning
spirits are often splashed about.
Carve all the letters of the alphabet on a medium sized pumpkin. Put
it on a dish and set on a stand or table. Each guest in turn is
blindfolded and given a hat-pin, then led to pumpkin, where he (she)
is expected to stick pin into one of the letters on the pumpkin, thus
indicating the initial of future life-partner.
Take water and meal and make dough. Write on slips of paper names of
several of opposite sex friends; roll papers into balls of dough and
drop them into water. First name to appear will be future husband or
A laughable experiment consists in filling mouth with water and
walking around house or block without swallowing or spilling a drop.
First person of opposite sex you meet is your fate. A clever hostess
will send two unsuspecting lovers by different doors; they are sure to
meet, and not unfrequently settle matters then and there.
If a maid wishes to know whom she is to marry, if a man of wealth,
tradesman, or traveler, let her, on All-Hallow-e'en, take a walnut,
hazelnut, and nutmeg; grate and mix them with butter and sugar into
pills, and take when she goes to bed; and then, if her fortune be to
marry a rich man, her sleep will be filled with gold dreams; if a
tradesman, she will dream of odd noises and tumults; if a traveler,
there will be thunder and lightning to disturb her.
Cellar-stairs' test is where girl boldly goes downstairs backward,
holding a mirror, and trying to catch in it the features of him who is
to be her mate.
AROUND THE WALNUT TREE
Of all Hallow-e'en spells and charms associated with nuts, the
following is one of the oldest: If a young man or woman goes at
midnight on Hallow-e'en to a walnut tree and walks around three times,
crying out each time, "Let him (her) that is to be my true love bring
me some walnuts," future wife or husband will be seen in tree