We’re finally at Halloween, aka Hallowe’en, Mischief Night, Crack Nut Night, All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Even, All Saints’s Day Eve, Allhallow Even, Eve of Hallowtide, and probably a whole shed more. It’s also the start of Samhain, and Allhallowtide, or Hallowtide. And it’s a full blue moon. We have The Hunt, Fairy Courts, fae in general, witches, the Devil, mirrors, love divination, souls in purgatory, hungry ghosts, vegetable candles holders, apples, nuts, pips, sage, cabbage, crossroads, dishes, wishes, shoes, disguises, trees, Mash of Nine Sorts, charms, lamb’s wool, bobbing, paring, and candles as some of the folklore associated with tonight’s goings on.
So I thought it best to make a plan:
- Wearing my clothes inside out to confuse the fairies and therefore decrease chances of abduction (✅, fastening my bra took a little working out, and all the fixings are a bit itchy. Plus an easy win on my reversible leggings)
- Eating an apple, in a darkened room, while brushing my hair, while looking in a mirror, to see my true love standing behind me
❌ 8.46pm. Now that it’s dark, I was going to do this but then read several sources that say it needs to happen at midnight. I don’t want to be eating an apple at midnight. If I’m eating at midnight, I want a proper snack. Like peanut butter. Or pizza. Plus I need to be at the crossroads listening to the wind at midnight.
- Clapping apple pips (however, I need to find 16 for the rhyme to work)
✅ 9.16pm. Apple divination is a BIG thing on Halloween. Good job I re-read my source, as I was supposed to use 17 not 16 pips. Duly dug from several apples, I clapped and five remained on one palm and two on another. Seven = She loves. Not entirely sure what to make of that. But then the whole rhyme is not entirely illuminating.
- 9.25pm – National Séance Live
✅❌ 11.44pm. I started to watch, but the earlier Other Life shenanigans made me want to spend time with something different, so I’ve just finished Howl’s Moving Castle. An infinitely better headspace.
- Leaving my shoes in a T shape as:
I cross my shoes in the shape of a ‘T’
Hoping my true love to see
Not in his best or worst array
But in the clothes of every day.
✅ 3.34pm. Shoes out, incantation incanted. Wasn’t sure if I was meant to wait for dark, or midnight, also not sure where and when I’m supposed to see my true love. And also how I’m supposed to recognise him, given he’ll be in his normal clothes, and say not wearing antlers or arseless chaps. I shall keep my eyes peeled and report back.
Just seen a delivery guy. It wasn’t him.
- Leaving food on my doorstep for hungry souls
✅ 7.24pm. Food is now waiting on my threshold. It’s not the most traditional of Halloween snacks, but it’s one a particular hungry soul might be partial to.
- Knocking three times on a tree and waiting for an answer
❌ 11.47pm. Saving this for next year, am far to tired to go out now.
- Wearing a disguise
✅ 5.11pm Hair cut and died.
Well, I’m hardly going to show you the result as that would spoil the disguise!
- Performing a Blue Moon spell
✅ 7.20pm. Had to perform this one twice as my front door key broke locking me out. A sign? Luckily my neighbour had a spare set. Maybe when I go to the cobblers to get a new key cut, my T shaped shoe divination will come to pass…
- Standing at the crossroads at midnight to listen to the wind
❌ 11.48pm. Also saving this for next year. The thought of having to put shoes on, get cold and get windswept isn’t quite doing it for me. Besides, it’s always good to have something to look forward to.
- Sleeping with a cabbage leaf under my pillow
✅ 7.31pm. Cabbage in position!
I’m thinking of this list as an ambition rather than set in stone, a bit like a political manifesto. I’m going to keep updating it as the day/night goes on, so do pop back. And if you have any last minute suggestions, shout!
Happy Halloween! 🎃
The Everyday Lore Project has been running since St Distaff’s Day on 7 January 2020 and will run until 12th Night on 6 January 2021. Some days there’s hardly any folklore to choose from, whereas other days like today, can be positively embarrassing. Join in! There’s not much time left, but you can still suggest folklore for me to try, remedies, traditions, beliefs, sayings, weatherlore, plantlore, the list is almost endless. And if you fancy, subscribe and share posts. You wouldn’t want to keep this gem of a blog all to yourself, now would you?
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Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Hazlitt, W.C. (1995) The Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, London, Bracken Books
Jones, J. and Deer, B. (1987) Cattern Cakes and Lace, London, Dorling Kindersley Limited
Kightly, C. (1994) The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, London, Thames and Hudson Ltd.
Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books
Simpson, J. and Roud, S. (2001) Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore, Oxford, Oxford University Press