2836: A Halloween Carol

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A Halloween Carol
[after a minute] "Okay, I think I've got it, thanks. Can I--" "oOOOooOOooo!"
Title text: [after a minute] "Okay, I think I've got it, thanks. Can I--" "oOOOooOOooo!"


In the classic and widely-adapted Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol, the protagonist of the tale is visited by various ghosts, first that of his old business partner and then (successively) the spirits of Christmases Past, Present and Yet To Come. Their purpose is to rehabilitate him from his anti-Christmas ways of apathy, indifference and general cruelty to the weak and poor. By their intervention they generally improve his humanity and spiritual future by showing him how he came to be this this way (Past), how he is seen right now (Present) and what his future would be if he continues down that road (Yet to Come), and thus rekindling his capability of love, humility, and kindness.

In this case, however, three Halloween-style ghosts arrive as a spoof of that tale. They represent similar phases of the actual festival of Halloween, but have turned up to pester Cueball in his bed all at the same time. And the 'lesson' they convey to him is far less transformative in nature. Since the ghosts say nothing more than minor variations of "oOOOOOOOOo," the lesson may be that Halloween has no "true meaning" other than what is obvious (compare 1108: Cautionary Ghost), or that the true meaning of Halloween consists merely of the kind of silly "scariness" represented by the sound "oOOOOOOOOo". Additionally, since Halloween is typically represented by ghosts, the ghosts only have to exist as themselves to spread the "true meaning of Halloween" (as opposed to the various Ghosts of Christmas, as Christmas is not so directly associated with ghosts).

Caroling, though these days almost exclusively associated with Christmas, had long been a term for festive songs and dances. Arguably, it is largely through Dickens's use as his story title that we associate it so strongly with this particular annual festival, which might be another additional joke on Randall's part.

A similar ghost saying "ooOOOOOOOOooo", along with much scarier things, appears in 1393: Timeghost.

In the title text, it would appear that the very simple message has been received and taken to heart, but the apparitions feel the need to continue their haunting regardless. This is something that might be further associated with Halloween, because annoyingness is a staple of Halloween (as it is of life in general).


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[Cueball is half sitting up in bed, his lower body underneath the blankets. He is looking at three ghosts flying above him.]
Middle ghost: ooOOOOOooOOOoo
[The "ooooo" of the ghosts is written in wavy letters of varying sizes]
Middle ghost: We are the ghosts of halloween past, present and future
[Just the middle ghost]
Ghost: Here to teach you the true meaning of halloween!
[Back to the full scene]
Left ghost: ooOOOOOOOooo
Middle ghost: ooOOOOOooo
[Again, the full scene]
Left ghost: ooooooOOOooOooo
Right ghost: ooOoooOOOoooo


  • This trivia section was created by a BOT
  • The standard size image was uploaded with a resolution/size larger than the supposed 2x version.
  • This may have been an error.

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The 'standard' and '2x' sized images had unexpected sizes, so a Trivia section has been automatically generated, and an imagesize paramter has been added (at half size) to render the image consistently with other comics on this website. --TheusafBOT (talk) 19:12, 2 October 2023 (UTC)

Oooohh... Nice. (Not a ghostly ooOOoooOOooo, just appreciation of the 'Bot now having the functionality to deal with the (now several times repeated) publishing errors at Randall's end.) Good Bot. Nice detection/stopgap behaviour! 20:13, 2 October 2023 (UTC)
the link it gave to the standard size image is actually a link to the 2x image, so maybe this functionality doesn't work right -- 01:26, 3 October 2023 (UTC)
Also, teach your bot how to spell "parameter". :) Otherwise, cool. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:21, 7 October 2023 (UTC)
Nice catch, thanks. —theusaf (talk) 06:20, 9 October 2023 (UTC)

should be noted that the tradition of Halloween costumes may have began as a way to scare off spirits, such as ghosts 06:19, 3 October 2023 (UTC)

I feel like that isn't "may", that it's firmly established fact, or rather that scary costumes were meant as a way to blend in and stay safe with the spooky spirits who cross over when the spiritual veil is thinnest, the night before it's (somehow?) strengthened on All Saints' Day, November 1st. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:29, 7 October 2023 (UTC)

Should I edit the “Created by a BOT” in the trivia section, or keep it a bit more serious? 13:07, 3 October 2023 (UTC)

I feel like the traditional location is sufficiently enough. :) I also feel like the "Created by a bot" is just a flag to review the results, then remove the message entirely. Without an established "It'll be deleted" policy, best leave it serious. IMHO. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:24, 7 October 2023 (UTC)

This one seems way off base to me... is it not common knowledge that Halloween (or "All Hallow's Eve") is an originally Christian/Catholic holiday? I mean, not as important on the calendar as the usual "we have forgotten the true meaning of" holidays, Easter and Christmas, but still... Mathmannix (talk)

That's a matter of definition. The Christian holiday evolved from the Celtic holiday/celebration/rituals of Samhain. A strong argument could be made that the traditions of Samhain are the "true meaning" of Hallowe'en. BunsenH (talk) 15:40, 3 October 2023 (UTC)
Christian missionaries who tried to take away people's holidays likely didn't survive their mission. ALL Christian holidays inherited a lot from the older celebrations around same time, even Eastern. Of course, the case of Christmas is strongest as there is exactly zero reason for putting it on that date except to override Saturnalia. -- Hkmaly (talk) 17:49, 3 October 2023 (UTC)
What's off base about the explanation? The comic is, factually, about taking the concept of Christmas Carol and applying it to Hallowe'en. At a quick glance I see no attempt to EXPLAIN the holiday, and I see no call to do so. Hallowe'en, so ghosts, they say "ooOOOoo" instead of any redemptive message, done. NiceGuy1 (talk) 06:36, 7 October 2023 (UTC)

Is one of them not talking because it's the ghost of halloween future? Umblatz (talk) 14:07, 4 October 2023 (UTC)

No - just because not speaking is even scarier... 08:15, 5 October 2023 (UTC)
(Serious answer, though...) Assuming that they are maintaining the same relative position, all of them do speak (or, at least, oooOOOooo) at some point. 08:17, 5 October 2023 (UTC)

I think maybe the joke in this comic is not so much that the meaning of Halloween is simple and unsubtle, but that it is perfectly illustrated by the presence of ghosts, so they don't need to explain anything (like they would for Christmas); they just need to assert their presence. 14:57, 4 October 2023 (UTC)

It's all come full circle. Long ago, Beartato and Reginald got in trouble for stealing XKCD's Jokes ([1], [2]). Now, XKCD should get in trouble for stealing Beartato and Reginald's jokes! [3] --Bc55 (talk) 14:29, 4 November 2023 (UTC)

Nothing in the explanation regarding which of Inky, Pinky, Blinky, or Clyde are represented (I’m guessing Clyde would be the one ignored) or why the Pac-Man ghosts were used at all. Is Pac-Man supposed to be extra funny because it’s such an old game, or is there something deeper? John (talk) 11:42, 12 December 2023 (UTC)