Hide and Seek - What Did the "It" call to end the round?

And calling everyone oxen is, well, kind of insulting…

Come out, come out, wherever you are. Massachusetts, 80s.

We always used " olly, olly ,oxen free, free free. So cal 1950’s.

“Olly olly oxen free”. Wilmington, DE, 60s

San Diego, 1950’s: “Olly Olly In Free” shouted once. Never heard it any other way.

First time I learned there was another call was mid 60’s in a Peanuts compilation.
Second panel from the top, labelled Oct 1955


Playing in the neighborhood, I don’t think we had this part. We just played until we found everyone. It was only a 2 or 3 kids. “Come out, come out, wherever you are” was just something said as you were looking. A lot of the game was to try and get people to talk or move.

A version we played at school had an extra element that also eliminated this part. While “It” was looking for someone else, you would try to sneak by and get to base. If you got there without “It” seeing you, you were safe. So you were constantly looking to see if you could make it in.

I seem to remember that, sometimes, “it” had to actually catch you and tag you. I think that was more towards the end, though, when “It” would give up and start guarding the base. Of course, people would say things during all of this, but no specific phrase that I remember.

Another NE Ohio, mid-50s.

Ollie, Ollie, in free.

These were the San Diego rules too. IT had to locate and tag a hider, who upon being tagged became IT. Any lowlife who tried to steal HOME also had to be intercepted and tagged by IT." When IT resorted to guarding HOME, that round of the game was pretty much over, and “The Call” would be issued.

And I just remembered a wrinkle: Once IT leaned against HOME (the telephone pole in front of Nicky’s house) , eyes covered, and started the countdown, a Hider was expressly forbidden from creeping back and silently standing right next to IT, waiting until the words “Ready or not, here I come!” had been uttered, and immediately tapping the pole. Safe!!
This smartass technicality was nullified by savvier ITs who would finish the countdown and then proclaim “Ready or not, here I come! Anybody within 20 feet of HOME is automatically it!
The brilliance of this tactic still impresses me.

I can’t believe you’ve got me thinking and talking about this.

Oh, wait! I change my answer. This is what we said in my Chicago neighborhood. I knew of “Ollie ollie oxen free!” but “come out, come out, wherever you are!” was the phrase we all used when playing.

We played until everyone was found. We also had the tag/home base thing mixed in.

The first one, Southwest US 1960s. We would have accepted the second one, sounded familiar at the time.

It reminds me of something else, which I’m not sure I’ll get to bring up any other time. It had to do with how I played tag.

Everyone else always ran around, trying to get away from “It” I would just casually walk around, as if nothing to do with it. People would forget I was playing, thinking I was just a kid wondering around, so I wouldn’t get tagged.

When I did become it, I would also be casual so I could sneak up on people. (No take-backs kept that from being very dangerous.)

All Ye, All Ye oughts in free!

Ditto in south-eastern Pennsylvania, same decade.

I was a dick and just kind of snuck off and let them all sit there forever until they figured out I wasn’t looking for them anymore.

This somewhere along the way we switched the phrase. This was Los Angeles in the 50’s and alomost all of our parents came from other states influencing how the kids played. The more popular or dominant kids would usually get it their way.

Come out, come out where ever you are was common and ollie ollie oxen free was for those looking to showboat it.
Wisconsin, 1970’s.

It is interesting that I don’t really remember playing Tag much as a kid, but we played Kick the Can a lot, and that was when we used the awl-leigh-awl-leigh-auchs-en-phree phrase. It seems like when we played Tag the It person had to find all the hiders, and as others mentioned, part of the game was trying to trick hiders into revealing themselves. A good way to do that was to call out “Hey everybody I have to go home now.”

Hey! That was ours too! Northern CA 70’s.

Whoa, I came into this thread expecting to find lots of “Ready or not here I come!” shouts reported. Instead I only find it mentioned once. Never once heard the other stuff mentioned in this thread. In my 20s, in Arizona.