Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vintage Halloween Party

Mrs. Herbert B. Linscott, in the book, Bright Ideas for Entertaining, gives us a glimpse into the past with her tips on throwing a Halloween bash in 1905.

All formality must be dispensed with on Halloween. Not only will quaint customs and mystic tricks be in order, but the decorations and refreshments, and even the place of meeting, must be as strange and mystifying as possible.

The light should be supplied only by Jack-o-lanterns hung here and there about the kitchen, with candles in the dining-room. The decorations need not be expensive to be charming, no matter how large the room. Large vases of chrysanthemums and ferns and umbrella stands of fluffy grasses will be desirable; but if these cannot be readily obtained, quantities of gayly tinted autumn leaves will be quite as appropriate. Festoons of nuts, bunches of wheat or oats, and strings of cranberries may also help to brighten the wall decorations. The nuts and cranberries will be useful in many odd arrangements for ornamenting the refreshment table.

Have the table long enough (even if it must be extended with boards the whole length of the room) to accommodate all the guests at once. Arrange huge platters of gingerbread at each corner, with dishes of plain candies and nuts here and there, and pyramids of fruit that will be quickly demolished when the guests are grouped about the table. No formal waiting will be desirable.

Have mirrors everywhere; big mirrors, medium-sized mirrors, and little, wee mirrors, all reflecting and multiplying countless candles that burn in candlesticks of every description(most novel are those made from long-necked gourds and tiny squashes).

The dining table should be draped in pale green crepe paper, the lights above being shrouded in gorgeous orange. Pumpkins of various sizes should be scooped and scraped to a hollow shell and lined with waxed paper and filled with good things to eat, should be placed in the centre of the table. Lighted candles and quaint oriental lanterns will add greatly to the decorations.

The menu should include bannocks, scones and other Scotch dainties. If desired, droning bagpipes might accompany the feast. After listening to ghostly tales related by white-draped figures, the guests may receive all sorts of amusing souvenirs from a large pumpkin place at a table at the door.

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