poem index

Halloween Poems

"Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still."

—From "Spirits of the Dead" by Edgar Allan Poe

Find tricks and treats this Halloween with the following selection of poems featuring haunted houses, goblins, vampires, ghosts, and ghouls, along with a Halloween-inspired lesson plan and essays on poets’ graves, poets' last words, and more.

Halloween Poems

Dirge” by Thomas Lovell Beddoes
We do lie beneath the grass …

Low Barometer” by Robert Bridges
The south-wind strengthens to a gale ...

Halloween” by Robert Burns
Upon that night, when fairies light …

The Giaour [Unquenched, unquenchable]” by George Gordon Byron
… Unquenched, unquenchable …

All Souls’ Night, 1917” by Hortense King Flexner
You heap the logs and try to fill ...

Hallowe’en Charm” by Arthur Guiterman
Fern seed, hemp seed, water of the well …

Sonnet 100” by Lord Brooke Fulke Greville
In night when colors all to black are cast …

Incantation” by George Parsons Lathrop
When the leaves, by thousands thinned

Hallow-E’en, 1914” by Winifred M. Letts
“Why do you wait at your door, woman …

Haunted Houses” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
All houses wherein men have lived and died …

Mr. Macklin’s Jack O’Lantern” by David McCord
Mr. Macklin takes his knife ...

Halloween” by Arthur Peterson
Out I went into the meadow

The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary …

All Hallows Night” by Lizette Woodworth Reese
Two things I did on Hallows Night:—

Bats” by Paisley Rekdal
unveil themselves in dark …

Black Cat” by Rainer Maria Rilke
A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place ...

Song of the Deathless Voice” by Abram Joseph Ryan
‘Twas the dusky Hallowe’en—

Theme in Yellow” by Carl Sandburg
I spot the hills …

Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I [Round about the cauldron go]” by William Shakespeare
Round about the cauldron go …

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Vampire Poems

The Vampire” by Conrad Aiken
She rose among us where we lay …

The Vampire” by Madison Julius Cawein
A lily in a twilight place?

"Christabel [Beneath the lamp]" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Beneath the lamp the lady bowed...

"Lamia [Left to herself]" by John Keats
Left to herself, the serpent now began...

The Vampyre” by John Stagg
“Why looks my lord so deadly pale?

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Ghost Poems

"Unbidden" by Rae Armantrout
The ghosts swarm...

The Apparition” by John Donne
When by thy scorn, O murd’ress, I am dead …

Ghosts and Fashion” by Elaine Equi
Although it no longer has a body …

Shadwell Stair” by Wilfred Owen
I am the ghost of Shadwell Stair …

"Lenore" by Edgar Allan Poe
Ah broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever...

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Poems about the Underworld

The Pomegranate” by Eavan Boland
The only legend I have ever loved is …

The Bistro Styx” by Rita Dove
She was thinner, with a mannered gauntness …

The Philosophy of Pitchforks” by Sue Owen
In the dark pit of hell …

I Am a Cowboy in the Boat of Ra” by Ishmael Reed
I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra …

A Season in Hell” by Arthur Rimbaud
A while back, if I remember right, my life was one long party …

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More on Halloween and Poetry

Famous Last Words

Read about the somber, strange, and funny last words of historic poets like Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Edgar Allan Poe, and more.
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Death Not Be Proud: The Graves of Poets

Scour American cemeteries for your favorite poets by reading “Death Be Not Proud,” a roundup of where the bards of the past are buried.
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James Merrill and the Other World

Read this essay about James Merrill and his use of the Ouija board in writing poetry.
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Sylvia Plath’s Spirit Guide

Read about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes’s interactions with the spirit world with the help of their Ouija board and a spirit guide named Pan.
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Poet Costumes

Whether you’re heading to a party with a literary theme or trying to impress your English teacher this Halloween, here are a few inexpensive costume ideas worth trying on.
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John Berryman and Robert Lowell at the Guggenheim Museum, Halloween 1963.

From the Archive: John Berryman’s Halloween Reading

Read about this historic 1963 reading featuring Berryman and his two famous characters: Henry Pussycat and Mr. Bones.
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Lesson Plan: Ghosts and Spirits

In this lesson plan, students will discuss “Haunted Houses” by William Wadsworth Longfellow and “Unbidden” by Rae Armantrout.
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On Teaching Poetry: The Poetry of Superstition and Supposition

Poet and educator Aimee Nezhukumatathil provides points of discussion and writing prompts in this essay on superstition.
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