From Vincent Price films, young kids on the street corners…even The Grim Reaper…we’ve always been scared of the hood. There is something about a cowled figure that drags back long-forgotten fearful memories from our childhood (my own was the evil queen in Sleeping Beauty…I was only four at the time). Most kids in hoodies on street corners are just kids on a street corner…but there is something about the hood that generates fear. Here’s something for us oldies to think about…

(by the way the handsome looking couple in the featured image are Helen Mirren and her husband. film director Taylor Hackford)



When the fig leaf was oh so last year
In those carefree days before the Flood;
Adam and Eve gave us haute couture
And son Cain wore the very first hood.

Who expected the Inquisition
Or Torquemada’s hoods serving God?
Heretic or metaphysician?
We’ve always been scared of the hood.

As Robespierre condemns a dauphine
And another noble head goes thud;
A cowled man oils Madame Guillotine.
We’ve always been scared of the hood.

They’re offered before the hangman’s noose
Or when you’re facing the firing squad
For treason or just stealing a goose.
We’ve always been scared of the hood

The evil Queen in Sleeping Beauty;
Cinematic fears of my childhood;
Tears in a tub of Tutti-Frutti.
We’ve always been scared of the hood.

A red hood is loaded with menace;
Parents who’d turn back time if they could;
Grieving for their daughter in Venice.
We’ve always been scared of the hood.

Robin Hood fights those that are cruel;
Righting wrongs in and out of Sherwood.
He’s the exception that proves the rule.
We’ve always been scared of the hood.

Those perceptions of the hooded man
Which on the whole aren’t seen to be good;
From Penitents to the Ku Klux Klan;
We’ve always been scared of the hood.

And finally the Grim Reaper from
Whom avoidance there’s no likelihood.
He is probably the only one
Without any fear of the hood.

And so it goes on…the hood ascribes
Vincent Price in every feature…
The Abominable Dr Phibes
And other despicable creatures.

And Gothic Novels embraced the cowl;
Ambrosio…the hooded villain
Committed rape and murder most foul.
Felonious monk…face well hidden.

The Scream x 4, The Name of the Rose,
And the numerous Quasimodos.
The fear of the hood just grows and grows…
I can’t even trust Scottish Widows.


Yet the hood still holds us in its thrall;
We’ve all been in that situation
Approaching a young gang; hooded all,
As we near the shops or the station.

Become fashion-wise and enlightened
And withdraw from the fuddy-duddy.
Let’s embrace that of which we’re frightened.
It’s time for us to hug that hoodie.

If we give the fashion some regard;
It’ll keep our necks warm in the cold
And from a distance it will be hard
To make it out that we’re really old.

Present yourself as mysterious
And become non-gender specific.
Now you’re blinkered and oblivious –
Make that death-wish dash crossing traffic!

Of course there will have to be sacrifice;
We’ll have to be au fait with the brands.
Wearing the right name bumps up the price…
Adidas, Puma, Niké and Vans.

At first the kids will be so annoyed
That their cool look has been commandeered;
But be as sure as eggs are ovoid
Their hoodies will have all disappeared.

Young fashion will need an overhaul;
Their choice of clothing will change because
The one thing that THEY fear most of all,
Is to be looking the same as us.

© gray lightfoot