In 1907 The Detroit Free Press Had Advice for Holding a ‘Witches Night Festival’
Certain pieces of advice are timeless. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Never drink orange juice immediately after brushing your teeth and so on.
But, what about Halloween decoration advice from 1907, or what was known as a Witches' Night Festival?
A resurfaced tweet from 2017 shows a newspaper clipping that is, as claimed by the post, from a 1907 article published by Detroit Free Press:
Let's go through the advice and see if it still holds up today.
First, the article claims that Halloween is the most attractive form of entertainment to young people because,
the conventional is banished in behalf of the weird and fantastic.
That still feels true today. And judging by the following tips, people in the early 1900s knew how to throw an elegant Halloween bash.
As far as decorations are concerned, the advice given says, yes...of course, you have to decorate with jack-o-lanterns. But, don't ignore the corn! Make sure to include,
festoons of corn braided by the husks, autumn leaves, and chrysanthemums.
If you're scratching your head at 'festoons' you are not alone. Merriam-Webster defines a festoon as a decorative chain or strip hanging between two points.
If you're in need of candlesticks to encourage the spooky mood, it's suggested that they can be improvised from small pumpkins or small squash. As well, the centerpiece should stand out. Try a carved-out pumpkin filled with chrysanthemums placed on a lace doily. To go even further, try hanging yellow and red apples from individual wires attached to the chandelier.
Clearly, chandeliers were much more common back then.
There's not a lot of advice regarding food, at least when we're talking about main courses. However, it does mention menu cards (talk about fancy) that can be decorated with witches, black cats, owls, etc.
For dessert, the author suggests that you can serve small fancy cakes (cupcakes?) that can be decorated using,
icing places in a small tube made of stiff writing paper.
Also known as a piping bag. While piping bags were invented in 1820 it's possible they weren't widely available to the public. In that case, a small tube made of stiff writing paper would do the trick!
Of course, no social gathering would be complete without a parting party favor. The author suggests using,
large, rosy apples with a jack o' lantern face carved on each one.
That...sounds like a lot of work. You can also create books made of black paper with spells, superstitions, and other Halloween-themed inscriptions. But, make sure you print those in red ink.
Sure, that would definitely pop against the black paper but now the main question is...how much time did people in 1907 have on their hands?
Last, But Not Least...
To really spice up the party, the article suggests having someone dressed up as a witch to,
read fortunes to add to the zest of the occasion.
It goes on to say that you can also employ a man dressed in women's clothes because they make, "more realistic witches."
Overall, those are a few great suggestions to spice up a Halloween party. Now, who's going to sign up to carve jack-o-lanterns into 20 individual apples?
Adding 'festoons' of braided corn would certainly add an interesting twist to your Halloween decorations.