American kids still expect costumes and candy on October 31st, but another more grown-up Halloween tradition has been forgotten. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, young women looked forward to annual romantic predictions on this day. As the New York Times described it in 1892, Halloween provided an opportunity to use "various devices for piercing the veil of futurity".
In 1929, the Times reported that "Many [Halloween] charms are still tried in the rural United States...a girl will go into the cellar backwards, carrying a candle, a mirror and an apple. While she combs her hair and eats the apple, the face of her future husband will appear beside her in the mirror"
|Postcard c.1900-1909, Courtesy the NY Public Library|