Halloween traditions you may not be familiar with

Halloween has its roots in a pagan festival, different elements were added over the years. There are so many traditions and superstitions around Halloween, some more well known than others; see below:


Husband Hunting Traditions

There are numerous traditions aimed at helping young women to find their future husband. So, if you’re tired of online dating then maybe you should give one of these a try this Halloween:

  • In 18th century Ireland, matchmaking cooks put rings in mashed potatoes on Halloween to bring true love to whoever found them.
  • In Scotland, young women would name a hazelnut for each suitor and then toss the nuts into the fire. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping represented the girl’s future husband.
  • Women peeled apples and tossed the peel over their shoulders. The first letter of their future husband’s name would be revealed by the shape the peel formed when it landed.
  • Others stood in front of mirrors in dark rooms, holding candles and looking back at their reflection to see their husbands’ face.


UK Halloween Traditions

  • Snap Apple Night is an alternative name for Halloween. Snap Apple is a game that involves hanging apples on a long piece of string and contestants try to bite the apple without using their hands
  • Many places in England combine Halloween with Mischief Night (celebrated on 4th November); kids play practical jokes on neighbors. For example, changing shop signs and taking gates off their hinges
  • In Lancashire, ‘Lating’ or ‘Lighting the witches’ was a big Halloween custom where people carried lit candles from eleven to midnight. If the candles burned it was a good omen, but if the witches blew them out then it meant bad luck


For more of the story behind Halloween, see our posts on the history of the Jack O’Lantern and pumpkin carving, Trick-or-Treating, and a brief history of Halloween.


P.S. If you’re celebrating this Halloween, we would love to see your illooms pictures. Either let us know in the comments below or head on over to our ‘Upload Your Photos‘ page where you can share photos of your Halloween party ideas with all of the illooms community.