Stephen R. Swinburne
It’s that time of year again when ancient people marked the end of the harvest season and the start of winter. November 1st became, known as “All Hallows’ Day” because it was the day to honor “hallowed” (saintly people). The night or day before—October 31—was declared Allhallowe’en, short for “evening before All Hallows’ Day.” This was eventually shortened to our familiar Halloween.
Why do children dress up as scary creatures, such as ghosts, vampires, and skeletons? Centuries ago, people believed that the spirits of the dead roamed the earth on All Hallows’ Eve. They were convinced if they dressed in frightening costumes, they would scare away the evil spirits.
The goblins and ghosts that arrive at my door each year don’t frighten me, but they have inspired me to write some verses.
Where Did You Go?
You are so pale.
You look a fright!
And why are you
Dressed all in white?
Is that a sheet
You seem to wear?
And you have lost
All of your hair!
Your friendly face
Is not even there.
Your mouth and nose
Have gone somewhere
Why do you look
So very weird?
Oh my goodness!
What To Be For Halloween?
Let’s dress up for Halloween!
I’ll be king; you’ll be queen.
But we don’t have jewels or fancy crowns!
Never mind, we’ll just be clowns.
I want to be a super guy
One who’s so strong he can fly
Then again, I’m weaker than most.
So guess I’ll dress up as a ghost.
You could be Amelia Earhart
Wear a scarf, and look very smart.
How about Michelle Obama?
Or dress up as the Dalai Lama?
Why is it so hard to pick
A costume that does the trick?
Let’s leave the costumes on the shelves,
And dress up just to be ourselves.
One Halloween Night
One cruel and cold Halloween night,
I locked the door, turned off the light.
Feeling snug and safe inside my home,
From goblins, ghouls, things that roam.
Stirring from the deepest sleep,
I heard a soft unearthly creep.
Half awake, half in a dream,
My blood froze; I tried to scream.
I yanked open the closet door,
Expecting evil and bloody gore.
There sat my cat...
Stephen Swinburne writes poems about all sorts of things.
The playful poems in his Ocean Soup introduce readers to ten salty tide-pool creatures--from a self-satisfied anemone that brags about its home to barnacles that perform a rap about their feeding technique. If you would like to hear more about Stephen's books, click here to visit his website.
Steve is a member of iNK's Authors on Call and is available for classroom programs through Field Trip Zoom, a terrific technology that requires only a computer, wifi, and a webcam. Click here to find out more.
Halloween will soon be over, but some yucky things will still go on. David Schwartz will clue you in tomorrow.