Down from centuries comes the feast on the eve of All Saints day, and despite the fact that the celebration has changed considerably from the first plans, there is a clinging to custom that speaks much for tradition and what it means to us.
Humanity loves a holiday, and as the season approaches, Jack-o’-lanterns loom up at us, the vendors of nuts cry their wares and the small boys scare their little sisters awfully.
Are you ready for Halloween? Or haven’t you given the matter a thought? You need not have a nerve-racking party; a little family celebration will do. At any rate, do not neglect to prepare this year. It will make one day a little different from the others in the week. It is worth while.
Engage a pumpkin. It is the master of the ceremony. Scrape the filling and use for pie. Cut off the top, and after drawing the eyes, nose and mouth on the outer surface, cut with a sharp knife. Fasten a candle inside by piercing the bottom with a fine steel nail, on which the wax candle will stand firmly.
Now decorate the center of the table with autumn leaves, chestnut burs or paper flowers. Pile your fruit at the base of Jack and give him a plume and, incidentally, a modish, rakish air.
At each plate you must have a place card. There are hand-painted ones that speak for themselves, so well do they give the spirit of the day. A variety is here, and great fun is the result of different ones for each guest.
These are done on watercolor paper, the rough mat surface being used. A square is cut and the lower half outlined with gilt or colored paint to form a border on the finished card. The figure, you will notice, extends beyond the diameter of the square. Draw first, then color and finally cut that part of the drawing above the colored line. Bend your square on the diameter at each side. The folded paper will stand alone at each plate. Names of the guests are written on the cards.
Two line drawings are given from which you can trace, by using carbon paper. Place the carbon between this page and your white paper, use a sharp pencil, and then ink in the impression left. Add the color, which, by the way, can be crayon if you prefer.
As for Halloween party games
The old-time bobbing for apples is still mirth-provoking. The peering into the future is always fascinating. Peel apples, keeping a continuous strip of skin. After twirling it about the head the mystic three times, throw it upon the floor. It should form the initial of your future mate’s name. Try it!
Three candles duly named can be lighted and put to the test of telling which one loves the most impetuously, the longest, or, alas! not at all.
Nut shells with tiny candles lighted in them can be embarked on a sea in a dishpan. The same test is here again amusing.
The finding of the thimble or button in the cake means a single life; the coin promises wealth; the ring, marriage; the little metal wreath, fame; an so on.
Packing the fruit basket is another amusing game. The players being asked to help in the packing must suggest fruit, each suggestion beginning with the same letter as the first name of the talker. Of course, the players do not know this, and when two attempts have been made unsuccessfully a forfeit must be paid.
Mirror gazing, with the possibility of falling down the back stairs, is still popular, though hardly advisable. If you are very anxious to know whom you will marry, take a mouthful of water, a handful of salt and run around the house three times. You ought to meet the one who will be yours.
If enough of these suggestions be on hand, no celebration, big or little, should lag. As for the masquerade, who has not enjoyed the freedom of meeting incognito one’s friends? And who can withstand the attractions of the queen of night or the foolishness of the baby?
These are merely hints for the festival that contributes a bright spot in the field of memory, which we should make as rich as possible for the future years.
So let Johnny get out his horn and his Injun suit, and give little Nellie a long skirt with a real train, or make a “costume,” and all join hands and have a party!