Halloween arrived in the North American with the Irish immigrants. With them came traditions that at first glance seem odd, but have become more widespread as the holiday becomes more popular; party games, fortune telling, turnip carving, and the kids favorite of playing tricks on others.
Diving for apples has become one of the more popular games among gentlemen. Placing several apples in a wash bin full of water and attempting the snatch the apple with ones teeth. Another game of catching an apple, involves attaching a stick to the ceiling by a string around the middle, then a lighted candle is placed on one and, and an apple on the other and the contraption is spun. The party goers attempt to catch the apple by their teeth without being burned. Finally, the gentlemen would play a game known as "Trying for the Raisin." In this game, a good-sized raisin was strung onto the middle of a yard long cotton string. The two competitors then took one end each of the string into their mouths and began to chew. The first person to reach the raisin was the winner.
When it comes to the women, they seem more inclined towards the fortune telling games. A popular one is "Three Luggies", in which three bowls are laid out, one with clear water, one with milky water, and one empty. The player is blindfolded and led up to the bowls, at which point is attempts to dip her hands into one. She is to do this three times, and if she dips her hand into the same bowl twice that is her destiny. If it be the clear water, she will marry a bachelor, if it is the milky water, she will marry a widower, and if it is the empty bowl, she will be single for her life. Another popular game involves eating an apple in front of a mirror, and before the apple is gone the reflection of the man she would marry would appear behind her in.
For the children, and sometimes young men, there is the tradition of playing tricks on others. One common tradition is for a child that has been wronged by an adult is to run up to the house of the offender, knock on the door, and when the offender opens the door the child throws flour into the face of the old grump.
Finally, the carving of turnips was a common tradition in Ireland. However, having arrived on the shores of the New World they have discovered that squash, in particular pumpkins are much better suited. You simply remove the seeds and meat, leaving enough for it to maintain its shape, carve a face onto one side and place a lit candle within. The result is a glowing visage sure to scare off the spirits of the season.
Notes - You can read more about 19th century Halloween Customs at the following links.