Some consider the night before Halloween to be “Devil’s Night,” when mischief and mayhem often occur. My Halloween take on Clement Clarke Moore’s classic Christmas poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (commonly known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”) takes the Devil’s Night moniker rather literally.
‘Twas the night before Halloween when I and my spouse
Were putting some spooky decor ‘round our house.
The cobwebs were hung by the skeletons with care
In hopes trick-or-treaters soon we would scare.
We had graves in the garden and a grim severed head,
Ghosts, witches, goblins, and, of course, the undead.
I carefully draped every creepy cloth flap,
But I had to admit that our scenes looked like crap.
Then out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I screamed, and I ran to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
With thoughts that some vandals were starting to smash.
My fear and anxiety started to grow
As I tried to make out what lurked in the shadow.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear?
I scarce dare to tell you; it brought me such fear.
Demons of all sizes–tall, short, thin, and thick–
Led by a horned figure I knew must be Old Nick.
He was huge, red, and ugly with an aura of flame,
And he cursed as he called on his minions by name:
“Now, Samael! Now, Yama! Now, Mara and his vixens!
Come Ifrits and Samhanach, all creatures of malediction.
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away, all!”
I fled from the window as they rose to the sky
I held my wife close for I feared we’d soon die.
Up to the housetop the devils they flew
I started to pray not knowing what else to do.
And then, in an instant, I heard on the roof
The clawing and pawing each cloven hoof.
We decided to hide and were turning around,
but they entered so fast that we quickly were found.
Their leader came reeking of sulfur and soot.
I wanted to run, but my dread kept me put.
A skull was the first thing he pulled from his sack.
Just a realistic prop? I was taken aback.
As he pulled out more items I certainly was wary,
But his wink let me know I should not find him scary.
He and his brood quickly started to go
and decorated our house with skill I’ll never know.
They hung witches above and dug tombs underneath.
On our front door they hung a macabre holiday wreath.
In our window a monster straight from Mary Shelley.
Fake blood pools glistened like strawberry jelly.
A hissing black cat peered down from a high shelf.
Our house looked quite awesome, if I say so myself,
Ghosts hung from the ceiling by invisible thread.
Severed arms seemed to grow out of our flower bed.
When the devils appeared to have finished their work
I knew I should thank them to not be a jerk,
But when I walked up to their leader I froze.
He nodded. He understands fear, I suppose.
Then to his demons he gave a dismissal.
The wind as they flew made the sound of whistle.
Then I heard him exclaim as he faded into the night,
“Happy Halloween to all, and to all a good fright!”