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Pale Green Pants

October 31, 2012

Here is a poem by Dr. Seuss that is not so scary if you don’t hear it out loud and see all the dark-background pictures at the same time. I think of it as a Halloween poem.

Well…I was walking in the night
And I saw nothing scary.
For I have never been afraid
Of anything. Not very.

Then I was deep within the woods
When, suddenly, I spied them.
I saw a pair of pale green pants
With nobody inside them!

I wasn’t scared. But, yet, I stopped
What could those pants be there for?
What could a pair of pants at night
Be standing in the air for?

And then they moved? Those empty pants!
They kind of started jumping.
And then my heart, I must admit,
It kind of started thumping.

So I got out. I got out fast
As fast as I could go, sir.
I wasn’t scared. But pants like that
I did not care for. No, sir.

After that a week went by.
Then one dark night in Grin-itch
(I had to do an errand there
And fetch some Grin-itch spinach)…

Well, I had fetched the spinach.
I was starting back through town
When those pants raced around a corner
And they almost knocked me down?

I lost my Grin-itch spinach
But I didn’t even care.
I ran for home! Believe me,
I had really had a scare!

Now, bicycles were never made
For pale green pants to ride ’em,
Especially spooky pale green pants
With nobody inside ’em!

And the NEXT night, I was fishing
For Doubt-trout on Roover River
When those pants came rowing toward me!
Well, I started in to shiver.

And by now I was SO frightened
That, I’ll tell you, but I hate to….
I screamed and rowed away and lost
my hook and line and bait, too!

I ran and found a Brickle bush
I hid myself away.
I got brickles in my britches
But I stayed there anyway.

I stayed all night. The next night, too
I’d be there still, no doubt,
But I had to do an errand
So, the next night, I went out.

I had to do an errand,
Had to pick a peck of Snide
In a dark and gloomy Snide-field
That was almost nine miles wide.

I said, “I do not fear those pants
With nobody inside them.”
I said, and said, and said those words.
I said them. But I lied them.

Then I reached inside a Snide bush
And the next thing that I knew,
I felt my hand touch someone!
And I’ll bet that you know who.

And there I was! Caught in the Snide!
And in that dreadful place
Those spooky, empty pants and I
were standing face to face!

I yelled for help. I screamed. I shrieked.
I howled. I yowled. I cried,

But then a strange thing happened.
Why, those pants began to cry!
Those pants began to tremble.
They were just as scared as I!

I never heard such whimpering
And I began to see
That I was just as strange to them
As they were strange to me!


I put my arm around their waist
And sat right down beside them.
I calmed them down.
Poor empty pants
With nobody inside them.

And now, we meet quite often,
Those empty pants and I,
And we never shake or tremble,
We both smile and we say…”Hi!”

19 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    October 31, 2012 8:31 am


    • October 31, 2012 11:25 am

      Had you never read that one before? We had it in a book with other stories.

      • freshhell permalink
        October 31, 2012 11:30 am


        • October 31, 2012 12:23 pm

          Then you must see it with the pictures! We have it in The Sneetches and Other Stories, but there’s a cool new glow-in-the-dark separate version of this, which is called “What Was I Scared Of?” I have sent it to you!

          • freshhell permalink
            November 1, 2012 10:33 am

            Oooh! Thanks!

          • freshhell permalink
            November 6, 2012 1:56 pm

            Book arrived! J loves it! Esp the glow-in-the-dark feature!

            • November 6, 2012 2:18 pm

              I am so glad. For every hundred times I want to send someone a book, I let myself send one. For kids of friends, it’s about every 75 times; kids need more books.

  2. October 31, 2012 8:35 am

    I love the ending 😀 Thank you for sharing and Happy Halloween!

    • October 31, 2012 11:25 am

      Yeah, the ending was always reassuring when we read that one at bedtime.

  3. October 31, 2012 8:57 am

    love this

    • October 31, 2012 11:27 am

      Your little one might be almost the right age for it. Although when my kids were that young, we had to read Winnie-the-Pooh at bedtime, because all the Halloween decorations were enough to give them nightmares.

      • November 1, 2012 5:35 am

        O goodness. I wish that were the worst of the problem. Wiggles has a daddy who likes to freak people out on Halloween and his costumes are enough to give her pause at least..and who knows maybe nightmares.

  4. October 31, 2012 11:01 am

    Ooh, creepy!

    • October 31, 2012 11:27 am

      Your little Eleanor is definitely the right age for this one.

  5. November 1, 2012 4:31 pm

    We have this in the Sneetches book and my son always loved it! I love how Dr. Suess makes something scary seem not so scary!

  6. November 1, 2012 5:14 pm

    And putting yourself in the other person’s pants instead of his shoes leavens the message with humor.

  7. November 1, 2012 7:56 pm

    You’re right, it’s the illustrations that make this! It’s completely silly but somehow it’s also quite frightening to see the pants wandering along the road all empty and creepy.

    • November 1, 2012 9:15 pm

      It really is. And what’s remarkable about how much I think the illustrations make this is that I don’t usually like illustrations.

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