Halloween is the time of year when the veil between life and death becomes thinner, but so does the one between present and future. Many lost Halloween traditions involve girls and young women foretelling your future partner through unique rituals. You don’t need a crystal ball to see your future lover, just some autumn food, some household essentials, or maybe some comfortable walking shoes.
Want to see your future lover this Halloween? History suggests…
Playing with Food
- Eat an apple and comb your hair in front of a mirror at midnight on Halloween. Your future husband’s image will appear over your left shoulder.
- Have women mark apples and then place them in a tub of water. Then have men bob for apples to see future love matches.
- Peel one long strand of an apple skin and throw it over your left shoulder. The first initial of your future partner’s name may be revealed.
- Or take that apple peel, nail it above your front door, and the first person to walk under it will have the same initials of your future lover.
- Make a fire and have all your unmarried friends tie apples to strings. The order in which the apples fall off the strings is the order everyone will get married. The owner of the last apple dropped will never marry.
- Go to bed with an apple under your pillow and you may dream of your future spouse.
- Grab some hazelnuts and assign a love interest to each one. Throw them into a fire. The hazelnut that burns to ash, instead of popping, is your future partner (Scottish tradition).
- Eat some salted herring before bed. It will cause a thirst that will hopefully summon the sympathetic spirit of your future partner (with a glass of water of course).
- Blindfold yourself and pull a cabbage out of the ground. Examine the root with your hands to collect clues for your future spouse.
- Make Colcannon (a traditional Irish dish made with kale, mashed potatoes, and onions) and hide a ring in it. The person that finds the ring is getting married within the year.
Easy Household Divination
- Sprinkle letters cut out of a newspaper into water to see your future lover’s name.
- Get three bowls. Fill one with clean water, fill another with foul water, and leave the last one empty. Blindfold a friend and have them pick a bowl. If the bowl with clean water is picked: your future partner will be attractive. The foul water: your partner will already have been married before. Empty: You will die alone.
- Hold a candle in front of a mirror in a dark room (sometimes after having walked up/down stairs backwards) and your future lover will appear.
- Eat a sugary dessert made of walnuts, hazelnuts, and nutmeg before bed. Your future lover will appear in your dreams (Scottish Tradition).
- Find a stream at a point where properties belonging to three different people meet (easy right?). Stick your sleeve in the stream. Go home and hang your shirt/dress over the fire. That night your lover will appear and turn over the sleeve to allow the other side to dry.
- Take your friends outside for a hazelnut hunt. The first person to find a burr is the first person to marry.
- Top Ten Irish Traditions for Halloween, Irish Central
- David Pickering’s Cassell Dictionary of Superstitions (1995)
- 8 Lost Halloween Traditions That Prove the Holiday Used to be All About Getting Hitched, Woman’s Day
- Lesley Bannatyne’s Halloween: An American Holiday, An American History