The Halloween Cake | Victorian Holidays

Meredith Sweetpea talked about Victorian Halloween games that foretold the future in her last post, but perhaps one of the most important traditions for Halloween in Victorian times was the Halloween Cake or Ribbon Cake.

The Halloween Cake

It was tradition to cut the first slice at the stroke of nine by one person designated to be “Dame Halloween.”

Silence Around the Table

Everyone was to gather around the table in perfect silence, and the first word spoken after the initial slice was deemed to be prophetic, and Dame Halloween had the power to make it meaningful.

As the slices are cut and delivered, each girl searches for their charm. For those who found no charm, they were to take their cake home and on the next full moon, sleep on it for three successive nights.

This was a cake with a variety of little charms baked into it. The cake was sliced and served, and whatever charms each person received foretold their future.

Meaning of Charms in the Victorian Halloween Cake

  • Penny — Wealth or good fortune
  • Doll — Children
  • Key — Travel
  • Ring — Marriage
  • Thimble — Single life
  • Button — Forlorn sweethearts

Halloween Cake Poem

This little poem describes the tradition:

The ring for marriage within a year;
The penny for wealth, my dear;
The thimble for old maid or bachelor born;
The button for sweethearts all forlorn;
The key for a journey to make all right;
And this you will see next Halloween night.


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