Monday, October 17, 2011

An Old Fashioned Halloween Party

It's Halloween and you want to stay away from the big parties and door to door trick or treating with strangers. What do you do? I was looking through my stack of stuff the other day trying to get back on track with the blog and found a great file of holiday suggestions.  Hidden in the folder was an article from the magazine,  The Modern Priscilla Magazine from October 1915.

It was instructions on how to throw a Halloween Party!  It started by advising the hostess to invite family and friends that are close to each other so everyone can feel comfortable dressing up and joining in.  The Invitations and Decorations were simply adorned with witches on broomsticks, owls, black kittens and simplar traditional designs.


Decorations in the early 1900s were simple but fun. Jack-o-lanterns peeking from every corner, dried corn with branches of colored fall leaves would be suspended from chandeliers. Pumpkin shells can be scraped clean and used for soups, dips or casseroles.   Cheese cloth, something we don’t see as much of today can be dyed yellow and festooned with autumn leaves.  Get the kids involved by stringing  popcorn which you can make Halloween festive with a shot of orange spray paint.  Faces painted on gourds and turnips was not so different from the decorating we do today.

Fun Food

The food suggestions in 1915 were rather light and easy, which fits in perfect with our busy lifestyles today. Egg, chicken or tuna salad sandwiches, cut into fourths with additions of thinly sliced cucumber, herb butter, tomato or watercress could be served on platters with colored toothpicks holding the bread in place. Sometimes a little food coloring now to make eggs green and other fun colors in food is more acceptable now that in the 1910s.

Nut sandwiches were a suggested treat. Bake gingerbread or pound cake in loaves and thinly slice. Toast nuts for a few minutes in a hot oven, then chop or crush. Mix with whipped cream or honey and spread on the slices of bread. This is great with Pecans.

In addition to the sandwiches serve brownies, fruit compote or salad, hot cider and salted nuts.   Serve some of those seasoned pumpkin seeds you made using the recipes we posted in the blog back on 10/15/11!

Hot Spiced Cider
(2 quarts cider)
1 cup brown or white sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
6 cloves
1 tsp. allspice
Add the sugar and spices to the cider in a large saucepan. Simmer, do not boil, for 15 minutes. Strain and serve hot in small glasses or mugs. A little grated nutmeg may be sprinkled on each glass before serving.
If you want more recipes or spice blends for cider, check out the Backyard Patch Cider Blends.

Easy Pumpkin Bars


  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 15 ounce can of pumpkin
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg


  1. Mix the first four ingredients.
  2. Sift and add the dry ingredients.  Increase the amount of spices if you desire stronger flavors.
  3. Pour into greased jelly roll pan and bake at 350° for 25 -30 minutes.
The Featured Product on the Backyard Patch Website shares a great recipe for roasted nuts that it a perfect Halloween snack too!
Halloween Games

Bobbing for apples, dancing, and door prizes were some of the simpler activities in the early 1900's. We can add some modern touches too. On the bottom of each plate place a number. After everyone finishes eating draw numbers and give away adult and kid's door prizes.

The best thing about a dollar store today is it is filled with the types of traditional toys from 100 years ago, like bean bag animals, marbles, and card games.  I suggest herbal tea, jam,  fancy cookies or crackers for the adults.
You can drag out those games you played years ago too, like musical chairs.  Dance the  Hokie Pokie or play Pin the Stem on the Pumpkin and allow kids and adults to interact. 

A friend of mine used this game for Christmas gift exchange last year, but I adapted it for a game of Pass the Pumpkin!

Pass the Pumpkin

For this game you'll need a small pumpkin, a reader, a circle of friends that know (or are learning) right from left and this little story. Whenever the kids hear the word "right" they pass the pumpkin to the person on their right and when they hear the word "left" they pass the pumpkin to the person on their left. All the participants will need to put on their listening ears because this game gets tricky. Party host can have a small prize ready for the person that is holding the pumpkin at the end of the game. I love the fact that adults can play this game and enjoy it just as much as kids and since I have never been good and left and right, it makes for fun mistakes!

Game story:
"Mr. Right and his two children left their home to go trick or treating. His daughter held Mr. Right's right hand and his son held his left hand.

The three turned left on the sidewalk and walked right passed the neighbor's house because they knew the neighbors had left this afternoon to go car shopping. Their car hasn't been running right since August.
At the second house on the right, the neighbors had left the light on and had also left a basket of candy and a note saying that they would be right back.

At the third house on the right Mr. Right and his kids didn't stop because the neighbors hadn't left their light on but they had left their sprinkler on and it was spraying from the gate right up to the door.

"All right!" said Mr. Right's son at the fourth house on the right. The neighbors at this house had their lights on and asked the trick-or-treaters to come right on up to the porch. "My wife and I are eating all of the candy right up and we're glad you got here while we still have some left," said their neighbor.

At this moment Mr. Right's daughter realized that she'd left her trick-or-treat bag at home. "That's all right," said the neighbor. "Our son left for college but I am sure he left a pile of old Halloween bags right here in the closet."

The Right children said thank you and looked right and left before they crossed the street to come back down the left side. At the first house on the right there was a spooky spider right on the gate. To the left of the gate there were three pumpkins and to the right of the gate there was a funny scarecrow with a broom in his left hand. These neighbors had really decorated the yard up right for Halloween night and they had plenty of great candy left.

The Right family trick or treated at the four houses that were left and soon there was hardly any room left in their trick or treat bags.

The end.

Who is holding the pumpkin? They win a prize!

I got quite a few ideas for this blog from Brenda Hyde and her blog On the Front Porch.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Thanks for sharing these ideas. Such a nice post. Games that include pumpkins are surely traditional. Pass the Pumpkin, I call it Pumpkin Relay..

    ~ Lyn @ Halloween party games


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