The Goblins’ll get’cha

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 31, 1999

if you don’t watch out

Once upon a time there was Happy Halloween.

But some years ago, somebody got a notion that the trick-or-treat holiday had roots in a pagan holiday and to celebrate Halloween was to pay homage to the devil and worship witches.

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Hog wash!

This is America people! We do things our way and Halloween was not a time to sing praises to Satan. It was a child’s fall journey into the land of makebelieve – period.

I wasn’t an evil child but Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. I was more of a timid child and dressing up and prancing around the neighborhood in such a disguise that no one on the face of the earth would know me – Aunt Matilda’s hat, a sheet from off the bed, an itty-bitty pillow to make me fat.

The happiest Halloween of my childhood was the time I put on my daddy’s old work pants and hunting shirt and stuffed myself so full of mama’s feather pillows and dish rags that I could hardly waddle. I smudged my face with a lump of coal, put on daddy’s boots, his Sunday hat, popped a pipe in my mouth, threw a sack over my shoulder and paraded my shyself turned hobo across that big stage in the school auditorium and won first prize in the Halloween costume contest. It was a good ol’ Halloween.

And if I was suppose to be worshiping witches and the devil, that completely got by me.

All I knew about witches was what I read in storybooks. They had warts on their noses, poisoned apples, rode on broomsticks and cackled when they laughed.

I also knew they never won.

They either got turned into frogs, vanished in a puff of smoke or got stuffed in the oven for the rest of their born days.

And as far as ghosts go, I stayed as far away from them as I could and never walked by the cemetery where they supposedly hung out – day or night, Halloween or not. But I did like to read about that friendly one, Casper, in the funny books.

For me, Halloween was nothing more than fun and certainly nothing less.

Halloween was jack o’ lanterns, hay rides, funny faces and trick or treating to the homes of neighbors who always met us with smiling faces, a piece of candy and a "now who could this be?!"

But the best part of Halloween was the story telling.

I loved to hear about Icabod Crane and how the Headless Horseman scared him away so that mean Braum Bones could steal his beautiful Katrina Van Tassel.

But the best story of the all was "Little Orphant Annie."

How I wished Little Orphant Annie could come to our house to stay. To wash the cups an’ saucers an’ brush the crumbs away an’ shoo the chickens off the porch an’ earn her board an’ keep.

And when the supper things were done we could have the mostest fun listening to the witch tales that Annie tells about – ’cause the goblins’ll get ‘cha if you don’t watch out.. For the life of me, I couldn’t imagine what exactly a goblin was. All I knew about them was from the tales that Annie told about.

Annie said once there was a little boy who wouldn’t say his prayers and when he went to bed that night "a-way up the stairs, his mama heard him holler. His daddy heard him ball, and when they turned the covers back, he was no where at all. They looked for him in the attic and on the roof no less and up the chimney flue and everywhere she guessed. But all they ever found was his pants around about – ’cause the goblins’ll get ‘cha if you don’t watch out..

Annie said there was a little girl who mocked her parents and shocked them and said she didn’t care. But just as she turned to run and hide, there were two great big spooky things standing by her side and they snatched her through the ceiling before she knew what she was about – ’cause the goblins’ll get’cha if you don’t watch out!

Annie always warned us when the blaze is blue and the lamp-wick sputters and the wind goes "woo-oo," we’d better mind our parents and our teachers fond and dear and cherish those who loved us and dry the orphant’s tear and look after the poor and needy cause they’re all about ’cause the goblins’ll get’cha if don’t watch out!

Now if there was anything evil or sinister about Halloween and it didn’t come to our house and it wasn’t found in the witch tales Annie told about.

Halloween was, once upon a time, innocent fun in the world of make-believe. Why, today, we have become fearful of it puzzles me.

Never in all of my Halloweens did I hear of a creature so mean and so cruel that he slit his victim’s throat, cut off her arms and legs and froze her torso to grind up later for spaghetti sauce.

No. Things like that come from somewhere else – somewhere far more sinister than the roots of America’s pumpkin patch.

So, I’m going to go ahead and have a good ol’ Halloween anyway.

And a Happy Halloween to you!