Halloween, celebrated on 31st October originated as the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. It was regarded as the beginning of a new year and supplies were counted and livestock slaughtered for winter stores.
It was also believed that on this night the line between living and dead became blurred and the dead could cause damage to crops and sickness to the living. Bonfires, and dressing up in costumes and masks where thought to be ways of warding off or perhaps placating the dead so that they did not wreak their havoc.
Halloween is a shortened spelling of All Hallows’ Even (or Evening) meaning the evening before All Hallows Day, now known as All Saints Day.
Traditional Halloween games usually centered on the fruit that was available at the time, Ghost ghoul poltergeist haunting which in Europe is apples and oranges. One such game is apple bobbing. To play apple bobbing you first need a large tub filled with water. Apples are placed in the water and the participants kneel with their hands behind their backs and try to remove an apple using only their teeth. The players must be prepared to get wet!
A variation is to hang the apples up on strings and players must eat these without using your hands, recently doughnuts have replaced the apples, another messy game!!
Pass The Apple is a Halloween game that can be played with either apples or oranges – this game entails players standing in teams, they then try to pass the fruit from one to the other with it tucked under their chin – no hands are allowed! The quickest team wins the prize!
Paring is a test of skill where each person peels an apple or an orange and, tries to get the longest piece of peel. Another game known, as Puicini played with peel, is to throw a piece of peel over your shoulder and by the shape of the letter that it creates you are said to be able to predict the first letter of the name of your future partner.