Perfect Behavior; a Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in All Social Crises

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Author: Donald Ogden Stewart

Games

After the guests have sufficiently amused themselves with the ghosts and witches it will be time to commence some of the many games which are always associated with Hallowe’en. "Bobbing for apples" is, of course, the most common of these games and great sport it is, too, to watch the awkward efforts of the guests as they try to pick up with their teeth the apples floating in a large tub. I know of one hostess who added greatly to the evening’s fun by pouring twelve quarts of gin into the tub; the effect on the bobbers was, of course, extremely comical, except for the unfortunate conduct of two gentlemen, one of whom went to sleep in the tub, the other so far forgetting himself as playfully to throw all the floating fruit at the hostess’ pet Pomeranian.

Most Hallowe’en games concern themselves with delving into the future in the hopes that one may there discover one’s husband or bride-to-be. In one of these games the men stand at one end of the room, facing the girls, with their hands behind their backs and eyes tightly closed. The girls are blindfolded and one by one they are led to within six feet of the expectant men and given a soft pin cushion which they hurl forward. The tradition is that whichever man the girl hits, him will she marry. Great fun can be added to the game by occasionally substituting a rock or iron dumb-bell in place of the romantic pin cushion.

Another game based on a delightful old Hallowe’en tradition is as follows: A girl is given a lighted candle and told to walk upstairs into the room at the end of the hall where, by looking in a mirror, she will see her future husband. Have it arranged so that you are concealed alone in the room. When the girl arrives, look over her shoulder into the mirror. She had better go downstairs after ten minutes, though, so that another girl can come up. This tradition dates from before William the Conqueror.

No Hallowe’en is complete, of course, without fortune telling. Dress yourself as a wizard and have the guests led in one by one to hear their fortune told. Hanging in front of you should be a caldron, from which you extract the slip of paper containing the particular fortune. These slips of paper should be prepared beforehand. The following are suggested:

"You will meet a well dressed, good looking man who understands you better than your husband. How about Thursday at the Plaza?"

"You are about to receive a shipment of Scotch whisky that you ordered last month. And it’s about time you kicked across with some of your own."

"You will have much trouble in your life if you lie about your golf score as you did last Sunday on Number 12."

Still another pleasing Hallowe’en game, based on the revelation of one’s matrimonial future, is played as follows: Seven lighted candles are placed in a row on a table. The men are then blindfolded, whirled around three times and commanded to blow out the candles. The number extinguished at a blow tells the number of years before they meet their bride. This game only grows interesting, of course, when some old goat with long whiskers can be induced to take a blind shot at blowing out the candles. Have Pyrene convenient—but not too convenient to spoil the fun.

For the older members of the party, the host should provide various games of cards and dice. In keeping with the ghastly spirit of the occasion, it would be well to have the dice carefully loaded. Many hosts have thus been able to make all expenses and often a handsome profit out of the evening’s entertainment.

If the crap game goes particularly well, many hosts do not hesitate to provide elaborate refreshments for the guests. Here, too, the spirit of fun and jollity should prevail, and great merriment is always provoked by the ludicrous expression of the guest who has broken two teeth on the cast-iron olive. Other delightful surprises should be arranged, and a little Sloan’s liniment in the punch or ground glass in the ice cream will go a long way toward making the supper amusing. And finally, when the guests are ready to depart and just before they discover that you have cut cute little black cats and witches out of the backs of their evening wraps and over coats, it would perhaps be well to run up stairs and lock yourself securely in your room.

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Chicago: Donald Ogden Stewart, "Games," Perfect Behavior; a Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in All Social Crises, trans. Paul, Eden, 1865-1944, and Paul, Cedar in Perfect Behavior; a Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in All Social Crises Original Sources, accessed October 4, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L9DWVGFA2NFEJ2G.

MLA: Stewart, Donald Ogden. "Games." Perfect Behavior; a Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in All Social Crises, translted by Paul, Eden, 1865-1944, and Paul, Cedar, in Perfect Behavior; a Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in All Social Crises, Original Sources. 4 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L9DWVGFA2NFEJ2G.

Harvard: Stewart, DO, 'Games' in Perfect Behavior; a Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in All Social Crises, trans. . cited in , Perfect Behavior; a Guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in All Social Crises. Original Sources, retrieved 4 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L9DWVGFA2NFEJ2G.