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PSA: Grant Park Goblins at Halloween Lantern Parade

Dear Grant Park Friends,

If you have lived in Grant Park for awhile, you likely know about the Grant Park goblins. If you are new and no one has told you, you need to know that there are goblins in Grant Park. We don’t talk about the goblins because we don’t want to feel crazy or we don’t want to scare the kids or we just do not want to believe that they are real.

But they are real and we do need to talk about them because there is bound to be a lot more goblin activity given the construction of the underground parking deck, the tree removals, and the subsequent change of the Halloween Lantern Parade route. The park is a mess and the goblins have company coming in for Lantern Parade. Like many Grant Park residents, the goblins are irritated. Irritated goblins are a public safety hazard.

To be fair, the goblins were here first. I gather they are native. I can tell you I have heard them boast about stealing the brass buttons off of General Walkers coat during the Battle of Atlanta. The goblins are here and they are not going anywhere. We must coexist with these ancient and obnoxious mystical creatures who call Grant Park home. It is important to share goblin information to better understand them and stay safe.

My goblin information comes from talking with three goblins over the thirteen years that I lived in Grant Park. I lived on the south side when it was still wild and rent was cheap. I met the goblins after they smashed my car window and stole the change but left the pennies. Goblins steal. They fancy themselves big time thieves, so the pennies were beneath them. I cursed the thieves in a way that made the goblins reckon with me.

I said, “Thieves! I curse you! You will never have nice things. Your future will be marked by regret and weight gain.” It turns out that goblins are very sensitive about their weight. They would very much like me to lift my curse. I will lift my curse when they apologize for breaking my truck window for fifty-cents. We go around and around about that, and many other things. They have gotten fatter over the years.

Goblins lie. They steal and they lie, that is just what they do. I have no idea if their stories are true. They may indeed have a Grand Goblin Palace underneath Grant Park full of all the marvelous things they have stolen from the Park and beyond. I have never been down there. They say they have the two bronze lions and the four brass cannons that went missing from Fort Walker. They say they have the pink marble staircase, the 11’ bronze stag statue, and the original bronze sundial. They say they stole the angel that blessed the water of Bethesda Spring and then they stole Bethesda Spring. They say they have the boathouse, all eleven boats, and half of Lake Abana down there. They also claim to have six tons of stolen car keys and a block long mosaic made from cell phones lost by children. It is hard to know what is true.

I’ve tried to be objective in my observations about the Grant Park goblins, but keep in mind that it is challenging to make accurate observations of a trickster archetype. I share this information so you may better know what you are dealing with.

Goblins are about the size of a seven year-old child when they are relaxed. When they get mad or all full of themselves they can appear much larger. They can also shrink themselves to the size of a rat. In this state, they can fit through a Tiny Door, which is very disconcerting. Fat goblins can only shrink to the size of poodle.

I suspect goblins are part dark matter, as they can almost vanish and pass through certain things. They are like Cheshire Cats that way. Their eyes and their teeth stay visible. Look for their eyes up in the trees or in the back of your closet.

Goblins do not fly but they levitate. They can get up to about twenty-five feet. They spend a lot of time in trees and on rooftops. Levitating is strenuous for them and they can’t do it too long. Fat goblins struggle with this.

Goblins like shiny things and atmospheres of enchantment. They like silver, gold, mirrors, crystal, sequins, mardi gras beads, cell phones, and colored lights. They love the lantern parade, though it confounds them that they cannot possess it.

Goblins mess with people like it is their job. It is their job. They like to make us look stupid while they steal our things, then they go home and brag about it. Storytelling about the ridiculousness of humans is their pastime. Their pranks play on our forgetfulness. I am certain they somehow aid in our forgetting. If you are wandering around your house looking for your keys there’s a good chance that a goblin is in your house. The goblin has likely snatched your keys and is enjoying watching your befuddlement, while his partner pries the hood ornament off of your car.

When the words, “Do not lose this!” are spoken, goblin ears prick up for miles around and consider it a call to action. Goblins have extraordinary hearing abilities.

Goblins are gluttonous opportunivores. They prefer to eat the easiest thing at hand. They’ll eat a chipmunk or the burger you left on the grill. They help us forget to take to-go boxes home from restaurants and swarm Popeyes at closing time. Goblins are also heavy drinkers. They are pros. Be very careful about drinking with goblins.

Goblins do not like us for all the reasons that we are not likable. But they like our stuff. We are the hand that feeds. We are the source of their entertainment and work life. They like our art and music, our goods and services. I suspect they are on the internet as Nextdoor Trolls. I am certain they read my email because they knew I would be in Grant Park last Monday walking the new lantern parade route at dusk.

Donnie Ace popped up at Constitution Springs. That is what goblins do, they pop up. They aren’t there and then they are. Donnie Ace is the hard ball gangster goblin, loaded up with gold skull necklaces and earrings. He waxes his ear hair. He rose to his inflated height and then demanded assurance that the goblins would be represented in the lantern parade, forever more. Like they are presenting sponsors or something.

I decided to feature goblins in the lantern parade hoping that the goblins would be flattered. Maybe if they liked us better they’d lighten up on hitting the cars and such. Do I get a thank you? No. Goblins are jerks.

“So you liked the goblin lanterns in the parade?”, I said. “I was hoping they would make you happy. Did they make you happy when you saw them? It is an honor to be represented in a procession.”

He stared at me suspiciously. “Yeah. The Queen declared it her personal holiday and has invited the family down and now we have these butt-ugly fences everywhere and trees coming down.” Then he went on a rant about how they gave us the underground parking deck though it was displacing goblin housing and has caused the Sticky Fingers Pub to close and rebuild. He added mischievously that they did get a unique kick back from the deal.

Has anyone actually seen the Cyclorama in Buckhead?

Then Donnie Ace vanished his body. With just his yellow eyes and pointy teeth hovering in the dark, he said, “The family is coming in for lantern parade. It better be good.” Then he was gone.

Grant Park Friends, we expect high goblin attendance at Lantern Parade. Please don’t wear any expensive jewelry, keep an eye on your keys and your phone. Don’t tell anyone not to lose anything because they will lose that thing for sure.

I do not know if trying to be nice to the goblins is a good idea, but that is my inclination. If trying to be nice to the goblins is your inclination, and you decide to make a goblin lantern, please walk in the front of the parade with me and the Queen! If you have an old key to give the goblins, I know they would like it. Leave old keys on the ledge of Milledge Fountain.


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