Friday, September 28, 2012


That's a line from a poem one of my older sisters learned when she was a child and can quote to this day at age 86.  The poem is "Little Orphant Annie" written by James Whitcomb Riley in the late 1800's.  In the 1920's Harold Gray introduced Little Orphan Annie in his long running comic strip. 

Here's the last verse of Little Orphant Annie, the poem.

                          When the night is dark and scary,
                          and the moon is full and creatures are a flying and
                          the wind goes Whoooooooooo,
                          you better mind your parents and your teachers fond and dear,
                          and cherish them that loves ya, and dry the orphans tears
                          and help the poor and needy ones that cluster all about,
                          or the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!!!

I always think of the poem as Halloween approaches.  I'm not sure goblins is a widely used word in connection with the holiday anymore.  I started to look for some old Halloween decorations to share here but settled, instead, on postcards.  There's another thing gone with the wind.  Too bad, I think.  Before one could call on the phone, little messages were exchanged on post cards.  They cost 1 cent and about that much to mail and they were usually real works of art.   There are some famous names that have become very collectible.  Raphael Tuck was probably the most prominent.  We didn't find one to freely copy here but has an incredible selection of his cards including Halloween. 

So, in the Victorian era and for many years after, a good way to send a Halloween wish was a postcard.   Pumpkins, witches, owls and black cats all seem to fall into the goblin category.   This witch and pumpkin look innocuous enough but that owl is scary.  That's a whooooooo for me.

Another message of witchcraft?  "If in the mirror your lover is seen you'll surely be happy on Halloween".   I'm pretty sure there's a Victorian idea that didn't make it to my generation.  It's a pretty card.  The artwork on postcards of that era is what makes them worth collecting. 
Oh, now, I like this one.  A promise I can appreciate.  "Softly cross your fingers at the witching hour; Over fates and fortunes the moon will give you power".  I will have to find out exactly which is the witching hour.  Midnight, I suppose.  Isn't that when the goblins abound? 
All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween, is the night before All Saints Day which is a celebrated part of the Catholic and Anglican church's liturgy but the celebrations surrounding Halloween have been largely based on pagan practices.  If you're interested in more about how it connects to the church there is some interesting history and speculation at this link.
I was surprised when I looked at eBay and Etsy to see what these cards are bringing these days.  Quite a bit.  I don't think I will start collecting now although I was thinking a little tray of them on the counter or coffee table might be fun this time of the year.   Perhaps you know of a place where the prices are reasonable.  Of course there are sites with reproductions. 
With all the witches and goblins and fearsomeness of it all, one is surprised to see a card that says Happy Halloween. 
 To you, my friends!!





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