Halloween Party Like It’s 1899

Victorian Halloween Costumes | BizarreVictoria

Dorian Gray may be the most macabre character in Jane Eyre Gets Real, the novel by Annabelle Troy. Therefore, he appreciates the value of a good #Halloween celebration. Victorians considered the holiday far more fitting for adults than for children; it didn’t really become a kid’s affair until the 1920’s.

October 31st was a day when Victorians could let their hair down and have a romping good time. Known to be preoccupied with death–probably because their relatives, offspring and friends were often dying, at home and slowly–19th century folk viewed Halloween as an occasion when the tables could be turned on Old Mortality. Finally, people could have the last laugh. How did they express their hilarity? View some of their favorite ways below and don’t be afraid, in these dark days of #Covid and #quarantine, to try some yourself:

Forget witches and vampires–instead dress as a harlequin, Mother Goose, Little Bo Peep, or your favorite animal.

Channel your inner clairvoyant; divination games were once all the rage. Tell fortunes with Tarot cards. Eat an apple at midnight while looking into a mirror and see if your future spouse appears.

Unwind balls of yarn from your living room to your cellar or barn. Encourage your guests to follow you into dark places.

Roast some nuts then leave on the doorstep with a lit candle, to feed any dead passing by.

Make popcorn balls and pull taffy.

Have a bonfire; Queen Victoria did, at Balmoral, her Scottish castle. History doesn’t record whether or not she jumped over it!

Tell ghost stories and give prizes for the scariest, the funniest, the one that is true.


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