The Duncan Banner

October 21, 2012

Just ‘hobbing’ around in anticipate of Halloween

Jeff Kaley
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — We’re fast approaching the special night when hobgoblins and hobgoblinettes start hobbing around. (OK, since I was a lil’ sprout, I’ve thought hobgoblin was a cool name, although I’ve never figured out how one goes about hobbing.

Anyway, as a card-carrying member of the American Association of Retired Hobgoblins (AARH), it’s my duty to promote hobgobling by passing along vital information about an ancient holiday that has many names.

That’s right, Halloween is a celebration that started 2,000 years ago and has several different monikers: All Hallows Eve, Samhain (an Irish fall festival), All Hallowtide, The Feast of the Dead, Haloween (just a spelling difference), All Saints Eve and El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Revisiting my lil’ sprout days, we had a name that truly reflected the spirit of the spirit-filled night.

We called it: “The Night We Get to Cram Down Enough Candy to Throw Up All Over the Place and Stay Home From School the Next Day With a Belly Ache.”

In my bigger sprout days (12 to 14 years old), Halloween was known as: The Night We Get Back at Mr. Marbry for Being A Crotchety Ol’ Codger Who Kept Every Ball That Rolled Into His Yard.

You know the well-documented “trick” involving a paper sack, a book of matches, a porch and some dog doodoo? We employed the tactic at Mr. Marbry’s house one Halloween and ... well, I’d better stop. Not sure if there’s a statute of limitations on dog doodoo bag vandalism.

As an AARH information source, here are some spooky facts to help you get in the spirit of Halloween:

n Costume makers and department stores say among the best-selling masks in 2012 are those of the two main presidential candidates.

Even more than masks of the candidates, costume manufactures and stores are thanking their pentagrams Mitt Romney took a shot at Big Bird. Seems Big Bird costumes are selling out all over the nation.

n Other big-selling costumes are members of the Avengers, zombies and werewolves (which are huge among millennials, for reasons that escape me), and Korean rapper Psy. Psy’s Gangnam Style video continues to be viral, and although there’s potential for the tune to drive you wacky, I can’t help liking it.

n Have never been a big fan of punkin pie, and apparently I’m not alone. Pumpkin peddlers in the U.S. say about 99 percent of all pumpkins sold are used as jack o’ lanterns for Halloween.

n Jack o’ lanterns, by the by, originated among the Irish, who would hollow out a turnip and place candles in it to keep away evil ghosts and spirits.

No wonder pumpkins became popular. Ever try to carve a turnip?

n In American history, Halloween began to evolve into a major holiday in the 19th century. It was tied to the end of harvest season in October, when grownups would wear costumes and eat sweets, and play practical jokes on one another. The holiday didn’t focus much on children until the 1930s.

Seems adults in many communities started getting carried away with their Halloween pranks, so civic leaders began pushing the concept of kids going door to door to collect treats.

n In England, it’s white cats that are considered to be bad luck. Being a cat person, I’ve always thought it was a shame felines of any color got closely associated with witchy stuff.

n Let’s get down to the real spirit of Halloween: Candy sales average about $2 billion annually in the U.S. and about 86 percent of Americans decorate their homes for the holiday. And in 2011, sale of Halloween costumes added $6 billion to the economy.

See, capitalism is alive and well, despite our supposed headlong plunge into socialism. (Which is a conservative catch phrase to ensure Americans will be scared every day, not just on Halloween.)

n A tip to parents who are sending their kids on the dangerous mission of collecting candy on All Hallows Eve: To protect your kid from candy that may have been tampered with, take it away from your urchins, check it carefully and then eat it.

n At this time, I would like to publicly apologize to the late Mr. Marbry for the burning-bag-of-dog-doodoo prank 50-some years ago. We were just dumb kids, Mr. Marbry. (No matter how hilarious it was.)

Now, I hope that keeps the ghost of Mr. Marbry from visiting me on Halloween night. Unless, of course, he brings along all those balls he took from us!

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