Most Trusted Source on Halloween Written by a Woman

This vintage Halloween
card shows a poem a
young girl would recite
while looking into a
mirror in hopes of
seeing the face of her
future husband staring
back at her. Creepy.

How did Halloween make its way to the United States? How did our foremothers and their families practice it? And how hard did I have to twist the apple stem so it came off at “B” so I knew I would marry Bon Jovi?

In celebration of this year’s Halloween, the National Women’s History Museum released A History of Halloween, a short video that explores the ancient origins of the holiday as well as the early practices by American women at the turn of the 20th century.

It notes that Ruth Edna Kelley wrote the first historical record of the holiday’s American origins and traditions. Kelley was born in 1893 in Massachusetts and became a librarian and author. In 1919, The Book of Hallowe’en was published, which traces the holiday’s history back to pagan sun worship and outlines it’s evolution over the centuries.

An exert from Chapter XV: Hallowe’en in America reads:

“In Colonial days Hallowe’en was not celebrated much in America. Some English still kept the customs of the old world, such as apple-ducking and snapping, and girls tried the apple-paring charm to reveal their lovers’ initials, and the comb-and-mirror test to see their faces. Ballads were sung and ghost-stories told, for the dead were thought to return on Hallowe’en.”

Turns out I’m not the only one who used the clairvoyant properties of apples.

Watch the full video of The History of Halloween made by the National Women’s History Museum:

Further Resources:
The History of Hallowe’en Digital Book
National Women’s History Museum Halloween Release

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