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13 Days Of Darkness Part 4 – A Halloween Song My Mom Wrote

witch-1Update: It turns out that my mom didn’t write this song, I just thought she did.  She made up a lot of other verses, based on our costumes, but apparently the original–as displayed below–has been around for longer than I thought.  She’s still a great mom and it’s still a fun song.  What can I say?  Once I thought I came up with the concept for 30 Days of Night.  The movie came out about two weeks later…

Good mothers are like magicians.  Or maybe like lady sorcerers?  Is there a word besides witch that works?

My mom is a wonderful, selfless person who spent many, many hours making Halloween costumes for me.  One year I was an alien with two paper machier heads mounted on football pads.

One of the heads had a mullet. 

Another year I was a black widow.  I had eight arms that all moved at the same time if I pulled a string.  It wasn’t until years later that I realized that only the females have the red hourglass symbol on their stomachs.  But it didn’t matter because I wore a black knit cap that had giant googly eyes on it.  And did I mention that I had eight arms that all moved at the same time?

Like Magic

We grew up singing songs.  When we would get tired of the songs we knew, my mom would invent new ones.  Making a song out of nothing was like casting a spell to me.  One of the best songs she wrote was about Halloween.   It went like this:

Once there was an old witch, believe if it you can

She tapped at the windows and she ran, ran, ran

She ran helter-skelter with her toes in the air

Cornstalks flying from the old witch’s hair

Swish goes the broomtick

Meow goes the cat

Plop goes the hop toad, sitting on her hat

Wee-cackle-eye what fun what fun

Halloween night when the witches run

There were several verses which we updated each year depending on what my siblings and I were dressed up as.  I haven’t heard that song for many years, but I obviously won’t forget it any time soon.

If anything in this world is priceless to me, it is memories like this.


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  • Shane October 22, 2009, 8:08 am

    I can tell your mother loves the written word. The words just dance off the page and the cadence is spot on. Good for her.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 22, 2009, 9:54 am

      Shane, it certainly made us all more creative, because singing and writing and making things up wasn’t made out to be something special. It was just something that was fun and natural.

  • Megan Horton October 22, 2009, 1:19 pm

    I LOVE that song! I always loved the Halloween songs that mom used to sing with us. I used to sing that song to Sydnee too, so you need to start singing it to Max ASAP and keep the tradition going!

    Mom could publish that little book of songs I think. She still has it. It’s in this little notebook. Anyway that’s one of my fun memories too. Oh and your costumes were always awesome! Do you remember the year you went as a dork and I went as a punk rocker?

  • Jessica Marie October 22, 2009, 1:28 pm

    I can’t believe you didn’t record it for us. Any chance we could hear your mom sing it?

  • Keith October 22, 2009, 5:27 pm

    Great song.

    A good little book with tricky words is The 13 clocks by
    James Thurber. Check it out.

    • Josh Hanagarne October 22, 2009, 5:28 pm

      Keith, I love James Thurber but I haven’t read that one. thanks for the recommendation.

  • Patty - Why Not Start Now? October 22, 2009, 6:31 pm

    What a great mom! It also took me back to the days when I used to make costumes for my cousin. Our favorite was a yellow fleecy duck, with a bill and everything. And yes, I think you should record that song.

  • Amy Nisbet October 22, 2009, 8:30 pm

    Love you mom….my dad would make up songs too but none so memorable as the sad tale of “Johnny the Lawnmower.” You should ask him to sing it sometime!

    • Amy Nisbet October 22, 2009, 8:30 pm

      woops….Josh, I know you aren’t my mom. Hope all readers know I simply erred and left out the “r”…..is it Friday yet?

  • Linda Hanagarne October 23, 2009, 6:49 am

    Aw shucks. What do you want to be this year? Mom

    • Liz October 23, 2009, 8:50 am

      Linda, we all want to hear the tune. Any chance you’d record it for Josh so he could post it to his site?

      With great admiration,

  • Liz October 23, 2009, 8:52 am

    I just made up my own tune and I am loving this song. I used to make up songs all the time and clearly need to get back to it! (I’m always so busy singing songs OTHER people wrote.)

  • Lisa October 30, 2009, 9:04 pm

    This song was in my gradeschool music book, which was mostly American folk songs. We sang it in school in the 60’s. Your mom did not write it. Sorry.


    • Josh Hanagarne October 30, 2009, 9:27 pm

      Wow, Lisa, I had no idea. In fairness, I don’t know if she told us she wrote it. Maybe that was just the impression I got. Or a screwy memory. She did make up a bunch of verses that had to do with our costumes, so I guess she just piggybacked on the original. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Rob November 2, 2010, 10:04 pm

    This song was on a Halloween record that teachers used to play for us in elementary school. Circa mid 70s. Lots of synthesized “spooky noises” between verses.

    I believe it was
    ” ‘whee’, chuckled I. What fun, what fun”

  • Wendy October 31, 2011, 1:25 pm

    My great-grandma used to sing me this song. Couldn’t believe I found it on here. Thank you for sharing it.