It’s a full moon, clouds scud across its surface and darkness descends. Shadows appear and strange shapes emerge. A trick of the light? Or something more sinister? It’s fair to say that Halloween brings with it a taste of the macabre and conjures a brooding atmosphere. Are ghosts real? Can the dead rise for one night? Is there a raging war within the darkness where good fights evil?
Hallows Eve evokes images of things that go bump in the night but there’s a much softer side to this tradition. Forget the blood, gore and scary monsters created by storytellers, skilled in terrifying their readers and visualise love and romance once associated with Halloween instead.
Before WW1, there were many rituals of love at Halloween. In America, young women entered a darkened room carrying a candle. With their backs turned to the mirror they would lift the candle and glance over their shoulder in the hope of spotting their future husband’s face in the mirror. In the U.K. Wicca women used natural ingredients such as dried Hibiscus flower petals, honey and cinnamon to create love potions. As the night sky turned velvety and a silver moon rose, women cast spells at the witching hour.
Halloween games and traditions reflected the attention to themes of love with many offering a peek at what the future held. Snap apples, which we know today as bobbing for apples started as a British courting ritual. Participants were challenged to use their teeth to bite an apple suspended by string or ribbon. A boy would bite one side and a girl the other. The first couple to succeed would likely marry.
Centuries later Halloween is still deemed as the occasion par excellence for divining the answer to that monumental romantic question: Who will I marry? Every country has its own charms, spells and beliefs regarding the power of Halloween and its ability to create everlasting love.
As Halloween grows in popularity and traditions continue to spread throughout the world, each generation brings fresh, new ideas to our romantic celebrations. Let’s hope they’re more inventive than staring into a mirror to catch a glimpse of the person you may one day marry.
Wicca Love Potion
½ cup of water
1 tbsp hibiscus flower petals
1 tbsp rose petals
½ cup of milk
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of cardamon
½ teaspoon of vanilla
½ teaspoon of honey
Put the kettle on and boil enough water to fill a teacup.
Place the hibiscus and rose petals inside a bowl and cover with boiled water.
Leave to brew for a few minutes then strain the petals and pour the liquid into the teacup.
On the stove, heat the milk and add cinnamon, cardamon and vanilla. Once the milk simmers, pour it into your cup and stir the liquid.
Use a spoon for your honey and blow a kiss as its melts into your drink.
It works best if you and the person you desire drinks the potion.
There is a clause to the spell… This love potion doesn’t work if you don’t love yourself first.
The Witching Hour – A bewitching and romantic tale – ebook only – (available via Amazon Kindle and Audible.com).
By day, Lynette Creswell is an editor of short story writing, a competition judge and writing guru at Hammond House Publishing. By night, she is Lynette E. Creswell, a multi-genre author whose first children’s book Hoglets’ Christmas Magic is published by White Rabbit Books.