All of these are vintage postcards connecting romance and Halloween. Postcards—the text messaging and social media of that period—were sent on holidays.
Being a romance writer, I find them fascinating.
About the postcards
Victorians adapted pagan Halloween celebrations and traditions into a genteel holiday about romance, parlor games, and child’s play. Even ghost stories were softened into tales of passion.
Turn-of-the-century Halloween postcards depicted cute, fat jack o’ lanterns topped with equally adorable chubby-cheeked children. Black cats weren’t portrayed as “witches familiars,” but cuddly icons on these cards, and witches were shown as pretty ladies bringing messages of love.
Sadly, the trend only lasted until about 1918.
Makes me kinda sad. I would prefer romance to scary ghosts, goblins, and vampires.
On Monday, we talked about the origins of Halloween and the legend behind why we carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns. Today let’s enjoy some vintage Halloween cards and explore folktales that help young women identify their future husbands.Romance writers should love these folktales and see potential romance stories.
According to folklore, young women have tossed apple-peels over their shoulders on Halloween, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials.
Or, peered at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water to learn about their futures.
Or, stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces.
One legend claims the first successful apple-bobber will be the first to marry.
Another suggests that matchmaking Irish cooks bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who finds it.
Scottish fortune-tellers recommend eligible young women name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace on Halloween night. The nut that burns to ashes rather than popping or exploding, represents the girl’s future husband.
In a confusing version of this same tale, the opposite was true: The nut that burns symbolized a love that would not last.
Another option with food suggest eating a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night can bring dreams about a future husband.
But what if you’ve already found your mate, you say.
Then try some of these ideas for romancing your Halloween night.
~~Decorate your house for a Halloween evening. Let flickering candlelight set the mood. Place gourds or pumpkins hollowed out and filled with orange and purple flowers.
~~Prepare a warm and intimate Halloween dinner. How about a delicious pumpkin soup, followed by a herb roasted chicken with mashed potatoes – maybe you’ll find a ring inside –, and, of course, dark chocolate for dessert? Click here for the chicken recipe. And here for a wonderful pumpkin soup recipe from the Pioneer Woman.
~~Plan midnight picnic with finger foods. Head into the woods – near a graveyard if you want to be spooky. If you want to be warm and safe, picnic in front of a roaring fire or in the middle of your bed.
~~Enjoy a hayride if you live in a rural area. Nothing better than burrowing beneath a warm blanket and watching the night sky to stimulate romance.
~~Book a bed and breakfast in a rural, isolated area for a romantic escape.
~~Attend a Halloween costume party BUT don’t tell each other about your costume and arrive separately. Pretend you’re truly strangers meeting for the first time.
~~Head out to a local haunted house for a scary date night holding each other’s hands.
Wishing you a fun-filled, romantic Halloween evening.