A month of Halloween: Day 2

I love vintage Halloween things. I once thought that I wanted to collect them – until I saw the prices at the local antique shows. Vintage Halloween collectables are hard to come by and cost an arm and a leg. The most I have been able to afford is two postcards and a tiny bottle that says Poison on it (but oh how I would love a collection of poison bottles – I would put flowers in them of course. I wouldn’t like to have to dust them though.) Instead I have to satisfy myself with splurging on Halloween editions of Country Living and Home Companion and live vicariously through the antique collections of others. That second magazine is a guilty pleasure that I rarely allow myself to buy – it has roughly Zero real articles but the photos of artists homes are very inspiring.

The following poem was found in Ruth Edna Kelley’s 1919 The Book of Hallowe’en – a great source of information on the history of Halloween.

Bring forth the raisins and the nuts–
To-night All-Hallows’ Spectre struts
Along the moonlit way.
No time is this for tear or sob, link
Or other woes our joys to rob, pancreatitis
But time for Pippin and for Bob, hospital
And Jack-o’-lantern gay.

Come forth, ye lass and trousered kid,
From prisoned mischief raise the lid,
And lift it good and high.
Leave grave old Wisdom in the lurch,
Set Folly on a lofty perch,
Nor fear the awesome rod of birch
When dawn illumes the sky.

‘Tis night for revel, set apart
To reillume the darkened heart,
And rout the hosts of Dole.
‘Tis night when Goblin, Elf, and Fay,
Come dancing in their best array
To prank and royster on the way,
And ease the troubled soul.

The ghosts of all things, past parade,
Emerging from the mist and shade
That hid them from our gaze,
And full of song and ringing mirth,
In one glad moment of rebirth,
Again they walk the ways of earth,
As in the ancient days.

The beacon light shines on the hill,
The will-o’-wisps the forests fill
With flashes filched from noon;
And witches on their broomsticks spry
Speed here and yonder in the sky,
And lift their strident voices high
Unto the Hunter’s moon.

The air resounds with tuneful notes
From myriads of straining throats,
All hailing Folly Queen;
So join the swelling choral throng,
Forget your sorrow and your wrong,
In one glad hour of joyous song
To honor Hallowe’en.

J. K. BANGS in Harper’s Weekly, Nov. 5, 1910.

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