Halloween in the 1800s

Apples, burned nuts and cabbage stalks. Learn how Baltimore celebrated Halloween in the 1800s:

“Tonight is All Hallowe’en, dedicated formerly by lads and lassies to lovers’ games and charms, but now degenerated into the ringing of door-bells and the hanging of cabbage stalks on door-knobs and other impish tricks by mischievous boys. The scarcity of cabbage this year may somewhat interfere with the celebration by the boys.”  (1881)


“All Hallow’een was observed in the usual way last night. Doors were banged and bells were rung by the boys, and the girls tried projects by way of seeing the faces of their future husbands. We are not aware that any of the ladies were gratified, but we do know that the boys succeeded in making first-class nuisances of themselves.” (1859)


“‘Halloween’ is sometimes termed Snap Apple Night, from an ancient sport, in which the apples figured prominently, and ducking for them in a tub of water was a favorite pastime.” (1875)


“The evening of  to-day is known as Hallowe’en, and although many of the old customs with which it used to be observed have been abandoned, still sufficient romance lingers around it to make it a time for family amusement and merry-making. Some of the old country customs are in vogue here, and amongst them ducking for apples and burning nuts are the favorite. Both to-night and to-morrow, which is All Saints’ day, are observed by services in the Catholic and Protestant Episcopal churches.” (1879)

Sources: Baltimore Sun, November 3, 1859, October 30, 1875, October 31, 1879 and October 31, 1881

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