Snapdragon is an old fashioned parlour game that would often be played at Halloween or at Christmas.

Snapdragon, Halloween

How to play:

  • Pour half a pint of brandy into a fire-proof dish.
  • Ignite the brandy and throw in dried fruits or raisins.
  • To create a spooky atmosphere switch off all other lights.
  • Guests have to try and grab the fruit by snapping at them with their fingers, trying not to get burnt.
  • Alternatively pre-soak the dried fruit or raisins and then ignite them.

In Robert Chambers’ Book of Days (1879) it is said that the game should be accompanied with people reciting this rhyme:

Here he comes with flaming bowl,
Don’t he mean to take his toll,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Take care you don’t take too much,
Be not greedy in your clutch,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

With his blue and lapping tongue
Many of you will be stung,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

For he snaps at all that comes
Snatching at his feast of plums,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

But Old Christmas makes him come,
Though he looks so fee! fa! fum!
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Don’t ‘ee fear him but be bold —
Out he goes his flames are cold,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!


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