On Neff Road: Boo!


Ghosts say “boo.” My grandchildren and earlier my children loved to scare me and say “boo.” We play peek-a-boo with babies and kiss their boo-boos. And … sadly enough, many “boo” at ballgames. Over the last 71 years of my life, I probably have said “boo” at least once each year. Now that adds up to a lot of booing over time. Especially, when combined with your “boos.”

According to Britain’s Daily Mail, linguistics professionals revealed that the word probably comes from Scotland. It was first recorded in a document displayed in the Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence. Boo is defined as a word to frighten crying children. (Well, that would bring you right out of crying!) That was back in 1738.

There are as many definitions of “boo” as there are people to say the word. And, this time of the year, it will be one of the favorites used by all of us. Probably the next most popular will indeed be “trick or treat.”

I found this little bit of information and found it applicable for today. During the celebration of Samhaim in the Middle Ages, the Celtic visitors dressed in costumes made of animal skins to drive away phantom visitors. Banquet tables were laid out with offerings to placate these spirits. In later ventures, people dressed as ghosts and other malevolent creatures. They performed antics in exchange for food and drink. The custom was called mumming. Certainly an early form of trick or treat. I rather think that maybe they didn’t say “boo.” And, perhaps this is why today many of the homeless and poor perform for coin.

I love that old and young dress up for Halloween. The twins will both be dressed as SWAT policemen. James and Lisa are going as burglars. Loren and I are going as plainclothesmen. “Boos” will ring out throughout the neighborhood.

I wonder on these dark Halloween nights if perhaps the spirits are following us from house to house. Listen. Perhaps you will hear a whisper. Perhaps a ghostly “BOO.”


By Pamela Loxley Drake

On Neff Road

Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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