Event Spotlight: All Hallows' Eve

Melissa Kossler Dutton
The wedding ring game, popular during the Victorian era, aims to help players find their first love by spinning a ring around a water glass.

The fortunetellers at the Ohio History Connection's annual All Hallows' Eve celebration will do their best to predict your future. They'll employ the specialized arts of geomancy—using a handful of earth—and tyromancy—which utilizes cheese—to divine whether guests will marry and if the relationship will be a happy one.

While their talents to foretell the future are open to interpretation, their ability to share details about Victorian-era Halloween celebrations is spot on.

History Connection staff members work hard to reproduce Halloween traditions accurately while relaying information about where and why they began, said Andrew Hall, a program coordinator at the Columbus museum, which explores the Buckeye State's history from the Ice Age to the present.

All Hallows' Eve, which is intended to be family-friendly and not scary, treats the holiday as a reason to celebrate fall and educate people about the past, Hall said. “Our goal with All Hallows' Eve is to portray as much of the Victorian experience as we can,” he said. “We want to show how people really celebrated Halloween.”

Every year, the History Connection highlights many of the customs that were popular during the late 19th century at the event, which takes place in the museum's historic Ohio Village. In addition to having their fortunes told, guests can walk through the village and meet interesting characters from the past. They also can attend a masquerade party set in 1898 or listen to a reading of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by a bonfire.

Other activities include games, crafts and pumpkin carving. New this year is a magician who will perform tricks popular in the 19th century, Hall said.

The ever-increasing fascination with modern Halloween festivities seems to fuel curiosity about the history of the holiday, he added. “The more popular Halloween becomes, the more people are interested in where has it come from and how has it changed.”

If you go:

All Hallows' Eve

When: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 13 and 20

Where: Ohio Village, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus

Cost: $14 adults, $11 children ages 4-12, free for ages 3 and younger. Members get a $5 discount.

For more information:ohiohistory.org/participate/event-calendar/ohio-village/hallows