I don’t like Halloween. It’s my least-favorite non-fabricated holiday. I don’t like what Halloween is about: tricks and treats. It sends an inappropriate message to children. (And I’m a humbug about dressing up in costumes.)

Kris and I won’t even be home tonight to hand out candy little ghosts and goblins tonight. We’re going to see Spirited Away (trailer), which is Halloweeny in its own sort of way.

There is at least one aspect of Halloween I do enjoy: ghost stories. Here’s one of the first I can remember hearing…

The Velvet Ribbon
by Ann McGovern

Once there was a man who fell in love with a beautiful girl. And before the next full moon rose in the sky, they were wed.

To please her husband, the young wife wore a different gown each night. Sometimes she was dressed in yellow; other nights she wore red or blue or white. And she always wore a black velvet ribbon around her slender neck.

Day and night she wore that ribbon, and it was not long before her husband’s curiosity got the better of him.

“Why do you always wear that ribbon?” he asked.

She smiled a strange smile and said not a word.

At last her husband got angry. And one night he shouted at his bride. “Take that ribbon off! I’m tired of looking at it.”

You will be sorry if I do,” she replied, “so I won’t.”

Every morning at breakfast, the husband ordered his wife to remove the black velvet ribbon from around her neck. Every night at dinner he told her the same thing.

But every morning at breakfast and every night at dinner, all his wife would say was, “You’ll be sorry if I do. So I won’t.”

A week passed. The husband no longer looked into his wife’s eyes. He could only stare at that black velvet ribbon around her neck.

One night as his wife lay sleeping, he tiptoed to her sewing basket. He took out a pair of scissors.

Quickly and quietly, careful not to awaken her, he bent over his wife’s bed and


went the scissors, and the velvet ribbon fell to the floor. And


off came her head.

It rolled over the floor in the moonlight, wailing tearfully: “I…told…you…you’d…be…s-o-r-r-y!”

My sister, Shelley, had this story on a 45 when I was in the third grade. It scared the hell out of me, but I listened to the story over and over and over again.

The Better Business Buerau just called me here at Custom Box Service. They gave me a highly polished, though gentle, sales pitch which was little different from the telemarketing calls I receive every day.

To whom does one report the Better Business Bureau if one is unhappy with their business practices?


On 31 October 2002 (01:38 PM),
Dana said:

I did not know you had a sister.

I can’t remember you EVER mentioning a sister.

On 01 November 2002 (11:04 AM),
Dana said:

Does this mean you like Halloween less than you like Christmas? I thought Christmas was at the bottom of the heap with you, holiday-wise…

On 01 November 2002 (11:07 AM),
J.D. said:

Ah. Good point. I hate Christmas so much that I had blocked it from my mind…

On 13 October 2004 (08:52 AM),
Kathy said:

I, too, had the 45 of “The Black Velvet Ribbon.” I would love to find an audio copy of it. I’ve been researching online but haven’t found one. any ideas?

On 30 October 2004 (12:31 PM),
Deb said:

I’ve got an mp3 for The Velvet Ribbon!

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