Fun For Hallowe'en by Col. Stoopnagle

            October 31st every year is perhaps best known to some people as the day before everyone says: "Hey, who swiped my fence?"  To others, it is simply known as All Saints Day, or All Hallows, or Hallowe'en, or even Halloeven.  Some call it Independence Day, but they are wrong.  However, it is celebrated in most civilized countries, and even Eskimos have what they laughingly call Tallowe'en on October 31st.  They don't have Tallowe'en every year, like we do, because sometimes the nights are so doggoned long they get tired of Bobbing for Blubber and Pinning the Kayak on the Igloo.  But we in America have Hallowe'en, and most of us grown-ups have to take it and like it.

            The only real complaint most folks of older vintage have about Hallowe'en, as far as I can find out, aside from the inconvenience of having horses and carriages placed on their roofs, is that the games played on that day are getting stale.  Goodness sakes, I've bobbed for apples and had my poor head shoved into a basin of ice water every year since I was three.  It's about time some spirited individual, such as myself, got up enough spunk to come right out with a new list of games.  Only this morning, between deep bites into my caviar sandwich, I concocted some new games and tricks and stuff which will make Hallowe'en more like -- well, more like Hallowe'en. 

Into the Rain Barrel With Cousin Jed. 

            This is simply scads of fun, and while Cousin Jed may drown a little, still the others at the party will not, and, in addition, may derive considerable repulsive pleasure from it.  Everyone lines up, and at a given signal, such as "Whee" or "Goodie for us" or "Goosie, Goosie Gander," Cousin Jed is corralled and bound hand and foot with a nearby piece of hemp, dipped in hot tar.  After he stops his infernal struggling, adhesive tape (the three-inch widths are nice for this) is placed firmly over his mouth, eyes and ears, and he is placed outside in the cowshed until just before everybody is ready to call it a night.

            Meanwhile, other games are played and a good time is had by all.  (Except, of course, Cousin Jed, who is a good sport, even though a trifle unconscious.)  And just when the party gets too boresome, the leader suddenly shouts: "Hey!  What's about Cousin Jed?"  Some wag yells back: "The hemp's about Cousin Jed!"  but no one pays any attention.  And then everyone runs helter skelter to the cowshed, where they find Cousin Jed, just as they left him five hours before.  He is picked up by the scruff of the neck and hurtled into the water barrel head first.  After a count of exactly five minutes, he is lifted from the barrel, the bandages are removed, and there is Cousin Jed, pretty as a picture (of Frankenstein) and just as sound as though he had been thoroughly bandaged, left in the cowshed and then dumped into a barrel of rain water for five minutes.  This may be repeated with Uncle Herman, but by this time, Uncle Herman has gone home and is hiding in the cellar under a crate of eggplants. 

Tap the Electric Refrigerator 

            Here is a game which may or may not be enjoyed by young and old.  The guests are arranged in a vicious circle, and the host starts to count off, thus: "All around the sugar bowl; one salt, two salt, six salt, san; bobtail vin-e-gar, tickle and tan; harum, scarum, bootchem, barum; aw, saw, taw, BUCK! You're it!"  The lady or gent who gets the "buck" is therefore "it," and must bend over.  (He mustn't have had too much to drink, or he'll fall right flat on his face, believe me!)  When the guest is properly bent, he faces away from the others and they all gather around and sort of bandy among one another as to which one is to kick him.  Finally some hapless guest is chosen, and the bender-over is roundly kicked.  He turns sharply about, mad as a wet heron, and endeavors to guess who it was, if, indeed, it was really anyone at all.  Let's suppose he guesses J. Barnsford Blormff.  Blormff, who wasn't the one who kicked him (honestly!) immediately assumes a supercilious attitude and tries to look as guilty as possible, perhaps guiltier.  He says, rather shame-facedly: "How far do you want me to go?"  The guy who is "it" thinks Blormff did the job, and so he replies, with confidence: "Go run around Robin Hood's barn!"  So Blormff changes his whole mien and says: "Go yourself, Stupid; it was So-and-so who kicked you."  As Stupid leaves, the rest of the guests run and hide in various places, and when Stupid returns, he can't find a soul, so he thinks the party is over and goes home in a huff. 

Substituting Father for the Pumpkin

Here, again, is the old question of what to do with father during the Hallowe'en festivities.  But I have what I think is a neat suggestion.  Why not let father take the place of the lighted pumpkin of yore?  Now the first thing to do in a case like this is to not buy a pumpkin.  This is easily accomplished by saying to your grocery clerk: "I do not want a pumpkin."  Any alert grocery clerk will catch your meaning at once and will dutifully fail to include a pumpkin when having your other groceries delivered.  Next, you tell father that, in these times, it is better to sit on the porch doing or being something than just to sit on the porch.  Finally, father acquiesces and sits on the porch with his mouth wide open.  In this great cavity you place a candle, first melting enough wax to hold it firmly on the tongue.  Then you light the candle, and each time the heat becomes too unbearable to the roof of father's mouth, he blinks.  Some people passing by the house will be dumbfounded at your dexterity in chiseling out such a funny pumpkin-face; others will simply pass right by, while still others will wonder how in the world you ever grew a pumpkin with a part in its hair and pants on.  A man I know named Abercrombie tried this with his father, with almost disastrous results.  He went one step farther, though, and tried to cut a round hole in the top of his father's head to let the smoke out.  His father, who had apparently been an old Indian fighter, thought he was being scalped and complained quite bitterly.  The whole thing almost ended in fisticuffs, and if the neighbors hadn't suddenly stepped in, Abercrombie might not have been able to scalp his father. 

[From Promenade(?), October 1939]

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Page created November 14, 2006.  Copyright 1998-2006 by Richard D. Squires.