Scary Halloween Poems

Witches and warlocks, ghosts and ghouls, monsters and vampires inhabit our collection of scary Halloween poems by contemporary English poets Paul Curtis and Max Scratchmann.

Scary Halloween Poems


Another year, another scrabble round to magic up some sinister and spooky poems for Halloween. And as with any magic trick, you won't know until the end whether we've succeeded in pulling the hat out of the rabbit!

Dark Monsters From The Pits Of Hell

Dark monsters from the pits of hell
Ghosts and ghouls from where they dwell
Witch or warlock cast a withering spell
All answering the ring of the Halloween bell

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For 2013, the section devoted to sinister and spectral Halloween poems has been given over entirely to Max Scratchmann and four of his wonderful new poems. Two are strange and unsettling, the other two are no less spooky, but certainly owe a great deal to the nonsense tradition.

Spider Mites

Spider Mites are seldom seen, on sunny days upon the green,
But when the clock strikes midnight hour, they creep and crawl on branch and bower.
They have no eyes, they have no hearts, their legs are made from iron parts,
They click and clack as they come near, they cannot see, they smell your fear.

So bolt the doors and board the gaps, they know you're there, they're here, perhaps,
The darkness breeds their clanky walk, they whisper-whisper, never talk,
And as you lie in chilly bed, you'll feel them walk close by your head,
Cold feet upon your pillow's silk, their opal flesh as pale as milk,
So close your eyes and lie quite dumb, they'll vanish with the morning sun.

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The Jibbernobb

Oh have you met the Jibbernobb, with his eyes so very bright?
Who sleeps all through the sunny day and stalks the streets by night?

He has a coat of grizzly fur, his claws are long and sharp,
His feet are like a dragon's paw, his eyes like ocean carp.

And when he treads the midnight streets, his breath is hot and fiery,
His claws sing on the paving stones, his gait is fast and wiry.

The owls call out upon the moon, he comes, he walks, he's here,
And bat and fox and night-wing bird do to the shadows clear.

The night policemen hear his tread, they lift their eyes up high,
Oh face the wall, my darlings, when the Jibbernobb comes by.

But the Jibbernobb's a cultured soul, he has his tender side,
He cries at old love stories and violence can't abide.

He likes to sing old operas, he paints, and plays trombone,
And hosts of creature artists are invited to his home.

So if you hear the Jibbernobb as he prowls the midnight streets,
Just sing a song of love and loss or throw him down some sweets,

Or paint a happy picture and hang it on your wall,
That way you won't be eaten, when the Jibbernobb comes to call.

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Shadow Creepers

They creep beneath your bedstead in the hours just after dark,
They flit between the sunset trees and the woodland and the park,
You cannot ever see them but you know that they are there,
For you hear their whispering voices and feel their shadows in the air.

They feed on dust and cobwebs and the occasional biscuit crumb,
And if they hear sad ballads they may sing along or hum,
It's said that they steal silver and take it to their nest,
But catching dreams and musings is the thing that they do best.

So, when at night you're sleeping and of candy canes you dream,
And suddenly it turns to dark and you hear the wolfbane scream,
You'll know they've passed your pillow and looked into your ear,
And taken all your pleasant thoughts and only left your fear.

So shut your casement windows and lock your bedroom door,
Hang sage up in your doorway and throw chervil on the floor,
Wear a golden chain about your neck, cast hemlock on your pillow,
And cut a wand from oak tree bark and temper it with willow .

For they will not cross a lightning rod or switch that's cut from bark,
And that's how you'll sleep freely of the Creepers in the Dark.

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The Umplejack

The Umplejack has got a scaly back, and he doesn't smell good when it rains,
And he plagued by gout and chronic self-doubt, and a million and one other pains,
But he's partial to tripe and he smokes a briar pipe, and he loves grape jelly and cream,
And he's a devil with the ladies, all those Dorises and Sadies, and they think he's a stunner and a dream,

And if husbands raise objections, about his base erections, he's been known to kill them fully dead,
For he stabs them with his claws, from beneath his scaly paws, or sometimes he just hits them on the head.
So lock up your pretty wife, if you value your dear life, when you hear the Umplejack loom near,
For you'll live for many years, by acknowledging your fears, and hiding when the Umplejack is here.

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Pagan traditions collide with modern horror themes at Halloween, to produce strange juxtapositions between demons, vampires, banshees and zombies. The new poems for 2012 continue to retill this hallowed horror ground, unearthing hidden treasure and the odd decomposing body part.

Horrors Of Hell

Horrors of hell
Those cast down
Rise on Halloween
To walk about town
Bloody demons
In bloody gown
Horrors of hell
Will cut you down

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Story for Edward Gorey

Rattlebones lives in a Jacaranda tree,
Dreaming forty skellingtons across the midnight sea,
Black tom cats are yowling loud, mothers close their eyes,
To four and twenty murdered kids upon the Bridge of Sighs.

Sombre men in Stovepipe hats do pass the time of day,
While children throw out carrion flesh to feed the birds of prey,
But Rattlebones he sings his song and plays the mandolin,
Of places dark and grizzly bears and bleak original sin.

The gypsy princess bats her eye, the fires burn quite bright,
And Rattlebones he dances long into the flaming night.
But dawn creeps o'er the tombstone walls, the crypts are bathed with sun,
And nightwing birds do fly to roost, the skellingtons all done,
And Rattlebones he shuts his eyes, on all that he has seen,
And sleeps the year long day away until next Halloween.

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A Halloween Horror

A Halloween horror
Threatens my faith
A demon of my own making
The haunting of a wraith

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Tango de los Muertos

Deep in the forest at the dead of night,
Oliver is dancing in the campfire light,
Oliver is ten years old, out there with his tent,
In a small suburban house they say, where did he went?

Mum looks in the kitchen, Dad looks in the shed,
But Oliver is gone, clear gone, he isn’t in his bed,
He’s out upon the woodland night, dancing the quadrille,
He’s dancing with the squirrel lords, dressed in orange peel.

Goblin folk are singing songs, owls eat mice on toast,
Oliver can dance all night, he has been heard to boast,
A ghost, a wraith, a thing of dark, flitting past the moon,
Morning light will break the spell, it hints it’s coming soon.

Red sun-fingers stroke the sky, dawn scents clover air,
All the midnight dancing folk begin to have a care,
One by one they flit away, back to sleepy lair,
Till Oliver must dance alone, lonely last one there.

Morning mists caress his cheek, leave it cold as stone,
A statue in his graveyard plot, that stands aloof, alone.

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At The Witching Hour

At the Witching hour
The Zombies walk
The Banshees scream
And the Ravens squawk
The Witches’ fly
The familiar’s talk
The Vampires bite
And the Demons stalk

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More spooky, sinister and distinctly scary poems for Halloween 2011 from the hands of usual suspects, Paul Curtis and Max Scratchmann. When it comes to Halloween poems, Paul is firmly in the pagan corner and Max in the mysterious, impenetrable and borderline nonsense corner. Let battle commence.

Demons Walk The Earth

Demons walk the earth
On All Hallows Eve
And will snatch away
Your soul at their ease

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When The Wiccans Wail

It is All Hallows Eve
The night of all souls
Samhain Day
When the wiccans wail

At the witching hour
When the Demons walk
Souls will be taken
In the black of night

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Pumpkin Men

The pumpkin man strode through the night,
His eyes were fire, he looked a fright,
His ragged legs of inky black,
His scarecrow hat, his smile so slack,

His crooked grin, his flaming eyes,
His tattered coat and striding thighs.
And as wan moon began to shine,
Dead things began to creep and dine,

And witches’ cats and leaping lizards,
Sucked fireflies down their grizzled gizzards,
And graves yawned forth, spewed up their dead,
Some missing flesh, some missing heads,

And goblins gathered on garden walls,
While ghosts were seen in moonlit halls,
And children huddled in their beds,
With blankets clutched above their heads,

While pumpkin men patrolled the night,
And drew a veil ‘twixt dark and light,
And babes slept soundly till the dawn,
With a pumpkin man on their front lawn.

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It Happens On The Night Of Halloween

It happens on the night
Of Halloween
When the spirits of creatures
Can pass between
And some spooky spooks
Might well be seen.
Some ghouls are good
And others are mean
Some ghosts have substance
And visibly preen
While others glow
Luminescently green
But watch out for witches
That arrive on the scene
For in the blink of an eye
They’ll whip out your spleen

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In The Blackness Of The Night

In the blackness of the night
Performing their satanic rite
Satan’s followers incite
To every Demons delight

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Oh gather round my children, beware the cloak of night,
And quiver while I tell to you, an awful tale of fright,
For they gather in the gutters, they assemble on the stairs,
The Boondocks they are coming, and they always hunt in pairs.

They are stropping up their razors and sharpening their knives,
They’ve already killed their children and they’re going to kill their wives,
They will spot your open window and sniff-out your unlocked door,
And they’ll fillet you with their carving knives, it really will be sore.

You’ll be lying in your bed at night, when suddenly you’ll hear sighs,
And in the velvet blackness, you’ll see their beady eyes,
They live amongst the Cajuns, in the creepy, sleepy swamp,
For Boondocks cannot function, if they have not dark and damp.

They just hate bright sunny colours, and skies distinctly blue,
They live for night and thunder, when they can come for you.
So take care to court the sunshine, pursue the light of day,
And Boondocks will not get you, oh no, not never, nay!

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A Vampire's Tale

When the sun has long set
At dead of night
I rise from my bed
And go out for a bite

Soon I am flying
On my vampire quest
Its fresh young necks
That I like the best

Though I am in no way
A connoisseur
And I would not turn down
Something more mature

Soon I find a subject
Ripe for the picking
And when I’ve supped
My lips I’m licking

Then I return fulfilled
To my dark domain
And sleep the clock around
Until I can sup again

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The Ballad of Mr Schlepington Face Whiskers

He lives in that old mansion on the corner of the street,
In the darkest of the shadows and his name we dare not speak,
His windows are all curtained in the blackest black of crepe,
And they that all his suits are cut from undertaker’s drape.

He is never seen in sunlight and only seldom by the moon,
He has shuttered up his windows and he hates the nights of June,
He a modern day Rip Van Winkle, a somnambulant Fred Astair,
And he sleeps on ostrich pillows in the blackness of his lair.

No children dare to play there and the birds don’t even sing,
He has shot the Jolly Postman and of sleepers he is king,
He is seen on stormy midnights on the rooftops with his kites,
And he sleeps the hours of daylight to facilitate his nights.

So do not wake the sleeper, walk by on tippy-toes,
For if he finds you he will kill you, no matter where you goes.

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The Little Bewitcher

She is a little bewitcher
The little servant of Wicca
Who has ensnared my heart
Which I opposed from the start
I was happy being single
But she has made my senses tingle
And she used her Wiccan ways
Against all resistance raised
It is not some fanciful notion
To blame an exotic potion
Or the casting of a spell
To bewitch me quite so well
Now she bends me too her will
And gently holds me still
Then this little Wiccan miss
Captures my soul with her kiss

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2010 marks the first appearance on Peculiar Poetry of scary Halloween poems, including some gruesome and ghoulish poems by Paul Curtis and a funny-scary hybrid poem our new guest poet, Max Scratchmann.

Jack O’Lantern

Jack O’Lantern’s light
Gazing out into the night
In the window there
Staring out a scary stare
With your unsympathetic grin
And glowing orange skin
Are you there to keep the spirits out?
With your jagged leering mouth
Or is your gnarled and toothless grin
There to invite the evil in?

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Tis on the Night of Halloween

Tis on the night of Halloween
When ghosts and ghouls and things obscene
Arrive when our worlds come together unseen
And the souls and demons can pass between

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Monsters' Ball

Get your tickets for the monsters ball,
Come in your hundreds, come one, come all,
Join the Frankenstein Monster and the Man in the Moon,
And that awful creature from the Black Lagoon.

There’s Dracula’s daughter with her bloated tummy,
The son of Kong, and, of course, his mummy,
The Invisible Man and the Deadly Creature,
And Robbie the Robot in his own B-feature

The curséd Werewolf and the angry Godzilla,
But not the Phantom, he’s retired to a villa,
With Doctor Cyclops and the Shrinking Man,
Who’re sleeping rough in a caravan.

So buy your ticket and book your place,
Don’t wash your body or shave your face,
When the world stands still and world’s collide,
Come to the party with Frankenstein’s bride.

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Season of Witch

When the werewolf’s howl
And vampires take to the wing
When the witches start to brew
And you hear the banshees sing
When the ghouls are on the move
And the ghosts can all be seen
Then that’s the time you know
That it’s the night of Halloween

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Beautiful Lamia
Queen of Libya
Lover of Zeus
Rival of Hera

Beautiful Lamia
Became a mother
Loved by Zeus
Despised by Hera

Wife of Zeus
The jealous Hera
Murdered the children
Of Beautiful Lamia

Driven insane by grief
Beautiful Lamia
Became an ugly
Child devourer

Hera became
A vengeful bitch
Lamia became
A blood sucking witch

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