[Note: This entry was previously no bears out tonight.]
ain’t no bears out tonight n Also no bears out tonight; for addit varr see quots scattered, but esp NC, VA Also called ain’t no boogers out tonight n
A children’s game, usu played at night, in which typically one person hides and then leaps out and chases the others; see quots.
[1904 Boston Sun. Globe (MA) 26 June mag sec 10/8 NC, He tried to reassure himself by singing under his breath: “Ain’t no bears out tonight!” But . . he was afraid to look behind him; he was sure the bears were creeping close.] 1927 Jrl. Amer. Folkl. 40.42 swOH (as of 1908), Musical chairs, marbles, . . “There’s No Bears Out Tonight,” “Pillows,” “Cops Cross-tag” and bean-bag, are defended with eloquence and earnestness. 1941 Salt Lake Tribune (UT) 31 Aug sec C 6/4, “No Bears Out Tonight” may be a simple child’s game to most folks, but it’s a matter of precaution to Private Ray Sanders. 1950 WELS (Games in which one captain hides his team and the other team tries to find it) 1 Inf, swWI, No bears tonight. 1968–70 DARE (Qu. EE33, . . Outdoor games . . that children play) Inf UT7, Beary ain’t out today—one was the bear, everyone else was the children; VA69, No bears out tonight—make a ring; several children would be in it. Those outside would sing, “No bears out tonight.” Those in the ring would then break loose and try to catch those outside. 1973 NC Folkl. Jrl. 21.29 cNC, I also played a game called ain’t no bears out tonight. In this game, one player is the “bear.” He hides, and the other players go looking for him. As they go, they chant, “Ain’t no bears out tonight. Daddy killed them all last night.” The “bear” waits until a player gets close enough for him to catch and then jumps out and tries to catch him. 2012 in 2016 DARE File—Internet nwOR, We used to go down and have our hot dogs and then we played “No Bears out tonight”. 2014 Ibid cNC, One summer night we were playing ‘Ain’t No Bears Out Tonight.’ It was almost dark. 2015 Richmond Times–Dispatch (VA) 14 Sept (Internet) (as of 1960s), Friday nights were a treat. We were allowed to play a hide and seek game called “Ain’t no bears out tonight” while the parents had cocktails on the porches and chatted.