Yes, the title is correct. No mistake. In times past, Halloween was considered a time for romance. Single young adults planned parties to bring couples together. There were no ghosts, goblins, or zombies. Masquerade parties were usually more heroic in nature.
A Halloween party in the 19th century were times for hopeful single gents to find the girl of their dreams. There were several ways the party might start. The hostess might invite her guests to jump over a broom before they entered.
Often there were apples with the initials of eligible bachelors on them. Some clever families who had apple trees placed a kind of a paper tattoo of the single gents initials on still green apples. When the apples ripened to red, the papers were removed, and the initials were green on the skin. (Maybe that how the silly tradition of reciting the alphabet as you twist the stem of an apple. The letter that breaks the stem is the first initial of your true love. Okay, I am dating myself.)
Back to the apples at Halloween parties of the past.
Single women might be given the opportunity to choose an apple when they entered the party, and the initials on the apple matched the man she would share the first dance with. On other occasions, the web game was played. A large web of colored sting is woven throughout the room. Each young lady chose one string and followed it through the maze to the end where a gentleman’s name was on a paper. Again her companion for the evening.
Melt Tin Soldiers
And odd tradition at some of these Halloween parties was melting tin soldiers. I suppose the soldier represented their future mate. Once the soldier was liquid form, the tin was dripped from a spoon into cold water. When the tin hardened, its shape determined the occupation of her future husband. If it resembled a boat, he might be a sailor, an anvil-a blacksmith, and so on. Kinda like guessing the shapes in the clouds, I suppose.
The Proposal game another popular game. Each man in the room had less than a minute to propose to each woman. Once their time was up the woman would give the gent a paper heart for yes or a paper lemon for no. The man with the most yeses won, of course.
There was usually dancing and refreshments.
For those out west, these types of gatherings were the only times the single people had to get together. Most were busy on their homesteads and helping with family businesses. This was the perfect time to begin courting.
Be My Halloween Sweetheart
Late in the century, Halloween cards were exchanged. Again with a romantic twist.
I find the idea of these sorts of parties intriguing, and perhaps I will add one in a future novel.
Speaking of novels.
I’d like to give away a copy of my very first novel, Secrets & Charades, to celebrate the contracts I just signed for historical romance numbers four and five. E-book only outside the US. Otherwise, I’m happy to send an autographed paperback version.
Have a romantic Halloween with that special someone. Share what you think about Halloweens of days gone by in the comments to be entered for a chance to win.