By Lilli McHale
While many people think of Halloween as a scary holiday, a century ago the holiday did not have the same connotation. Instead, Halloween in the beginning of the 20th century was more focused on romance and the chance to peruse love. In the newspapers of the time, there were articles featuring approved of games to pay that emphasized the possibility of romance. The games all contained themes of love and its possibilities. At the time, Halloween provided a way for women to engage males in a less restrictive way. Marriage was such an important part of life for women at that time and finding the right kind of man was imperative. This holiday provided a less rigid way for the genders to interact and mingle.
Even the rituals of Halloween were different then they are today. Images of black cats, devils, and witches were meet with cut-outs of Cupid, another typical Halloween figure in the 1900’s.
Some of these “romantic” games that were played at the turn of the last century still exist today. For instance, what is now called “bobbing for apples” was once called “snap apple.” Snap Apple required participants to bite an apple using only their teeth while it was hanging from the ceiling, suspended by a string or ribbon. The first one to bite the apple would be the first to marry in the tradition of the game.
For more information on vintage Halloween customs, read this article https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/style/halloween-love-romance-history.html