Telling the Future
All Hallows' Eve, with its thin barrier to the Otherworld, has long been a time to look into the future. Many of the traditions brought to America from the British Isles used apples to tell a girl's future in marriage. If a girl had several suitors, she would place apple pips (seeds) on her cheeks, naming each for a potential husband. The last to fall off would be her most likely mate. Another practice was placing pips on a hot fire, saying, "If you love me bounce and fly, if you hate me live and die." Today, young people still play the game of twisting an apple stem once for each letter of the alphabet until it snaps off, revealing the initial of a future love's name.
Bobbing for apples comes from an old belief that the first unmarried person to bite a floating apple would be the next to marry. A related tradition predicts the length of one's life by the length of an apple peel: if the person peeling the apple makes a long, continuous peel their life will be long; if the peel breaks off short they are destined to die young. The connection between apples and Halloween remains strong. Apple bobbing is a common party activity and candy coated apples are a favorite Halloween "treat."