31 October 2010

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween dear readers! As a special Halloween treat, below is an excerpt from David Ogden Stewart’s tongue-in-cheek book Perfect Behavior; a guide for ladies and gentlemen in all social crises. Written in 1922, the book includes many helpful tips including suggested games for a Halloween party. Enjoy!

After the guests have sufficiently amused themselves with the ghosts and witches it will be time to commence some of the many games which are always associated with Hallowe'en. "Bobbing for apples" is, of course, the most common of these games and great sport it is, too, to watch the awkward efforts of the guests as they try to pick up with their teeth the apples floating in a large tub. I know of one hostess who added greatly to the evening's fun by pouring twelve quarts of gin into the tub; the effect on the bobbers was, of course, extremely comical, except for the unfortunate conduct of two gentlemen, one of whom went to sleep in the tub, the other so far forgetting himself as to playfully throw all the floating fruit at the hostess' pet Pomeranian.

Most Hallowe'en games concern themselves with delving into the future in the hopes that one may there discover one's husband or bride-to-be. In one of these games the men stand at one end of the room, facing the girls, with their hands behind their backs and eyes tightly closed. The girls are blindfolded and one by one they are led to within six feet of the expectant men and given a soft pin cushion which they hurl forward. The tradition is that whichever man the girl hits, him will she marry. Great fun can be added to the game by occasionally substituting a rock or iron dumb-bell in place of the romantic pin cushion.

No Hallowe’en is complete, of course, without fortune telling. Dress yourself as a wizard and have the guests led in one by one to hear their fortune told. Hanging in front of you should be a caldron, from which you extract the slip of paper containing the particular fortune. These slips of paper should be prepared beforehand. The following are suggested.

"You will meet a well dressed, good looking man who understands you better than your husband. How about Thursday at the Plaza?"

"You are about to receive a shipment of Scotch whisky that you ordered last month. And it's about time you kicked across with some of your own."

"You will have much trouble in your life if you lie about your golf score as you did last Sunday on Number 12."

For the older members of the party, the host should provide various games of cards and dice. In keeping with the ghastly spirit of the occasion, it would be well to have the dice carefully loaded. Many hosts have thus been able to make all expenses and often a handsome profit out of the evening's entertainment. 

And finally, when the guests are ready to depart and just before they discover that you have cut cute little black cats and witches out of the backs of their evening wraps and over coats, it would perhaps be well to run up stairs and lock yourself securely in your room.

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