The party games I recall seemed to revolve around apples:
- bobbing for apples - you had to try to catch apples floating in a bowl of water in your teeth, no hands allowed. My memory is that you end up getting wet.
- snap apples - again you had to catch an apple in your teeth but this time they were suspended on a string in a doorway. This time you end up with bruised lips.
We would have a special meal which included colcannon (mashed potatoes mixed with curly kale and spring onions) and barm brack (a fruit bread/cake), either or both of which could have a ring or a coin hidden inside.
During my teenage years in England, there seemed to be little celebration of Halloween, instead the emphasis was on Guy Fawke's Day on 5 November, about which more nearer the event.
France in theory disapproves of Halloween as being from another culture. Nevertheless it is creeping in, and the last two years we have had a few little children knocking on the door for treats. I know the family they come from and I suspect ours may be the only door they knock, so they'll be disappointed we aren't there this year. The big day in France is 1 November, a public holiday and a great family day, when everyone puts flowers, chrysanthemums, on family graves.
Barm brack recipe from my grandmother's recipe book (exactly as it is written)
1lb self raising flour
1lb mixed fruit
1 breakfast cup of warm strong tea
3/4 breakfast cup Demerara sugar
1 large egg
1 full teaspoon spice
Put sugar and fruit in a bowl, cover with tea and leave steeping overnight. Next day beat egg and add to tea and fruit, work in flour and lastly spice, beating well. Bake Reg 5, 1 and quarter hours. Cover after 20 minutes and remove cover 15 minutes before finished.
If you try it, enjoy it!
Updated to add that the Halloween header is courtesy of Gattina. Thanks very much Gattina.