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Toby Ord, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Another Haibun Monday arrives, poets! I am Frank Tassone, your host, and today, let’s celebrate the scary. Let’s talk Halloween!

After all, October 31st arrives this Saturday. While many of us grew up trick-or-treating in costumes, trembling to ghost stories, and the like, what is this spooky holiday about?

Well, according to Wikipedia:

Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of Hallows’ Even or Hallows’ Evening),[5] also known as Allhalloween,[6] All Hallows’ Eve,[7] or All Saints’ Eve,[8] is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the observance of Allhallowtide,[9] the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.[10][11]

One theory holds that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain, which may have had pagan roots and that Samhain itself was Christianized as Halloween by the early Church.[12][13][14][15][16] Other scholars believe, however, that Halloween began solely as a Christian holiday, separate from ancient festivals like Samhain.[17][18][19][20][21][22]

Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising and souling), attending Halloween costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfiresapple bobbingdivination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories, as well as watching horror films.[23] In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular,[24][25][26] although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration.[27][28][29] Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain vegetarian foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes, and soul cakes.[30][31][32][33]

The end of October is the right time in the Northern Hemisphere for a fright fest. The harvest is in. The leaves have dropped, along with the daylight. There is something unique about this time of the year, too. The Celts believed that the veil between the living and the dead was thinnest on Samhain. Thus, they set up feasts for the dead, and disguised themselves as the departed to avoid the horrors the deceased would inflict.

Whatever its origin and circumstances, Halloween has certainly inspired some poetry:


Joel Benton

Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite

All are on their rounds to-night,—

   In the wan moon’s silver ray

   Thrives their helter-skelter play.

Fond of cellar, barn, or stack

True unto the almanac,

   They present to credulous eyes

   Strange hobgoblin mysteries.

Cabbage-stumps—straws wet with dew—

Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,

   And a mirror for some lass

   Show what wonders come to pass.

Doors they move, and gates they hide

Mischiefs that on moonbeams ride

   Are their deeds,—and, by their spells,

   Love records its oracles.

Don’t we all, of long ago

By the ruddy fireplace glow,

   In the kitchen and the hall,

   Those queer, coof-like pranks recall?

Every shadows were they then—

But to-night they come again;

   Were we once more but sixteen

   Precious would be Hallowe’en.

“Hallowe’en” was published in The Book of Hallowe’en (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1919). This poem is in the public domain.

Dusk in Autumn

Sara Teasdale – 1884-1933

The moon is like a scimitar,

A little silver scimitar,

A-drifting down the sky.

And near beside it is a star,

A timid twinkling golden star,

That watches likes an eye.

And thro’ the nursery window-pane

The witches have a fire again,

Just like the ones we make,—

And now I know they’re having tea,

I wish they’d give a cup to me,

With witches’ currant cake.

This poem is in the public domain.

To top it all, this Halloween marks the appearance of a Blue Moon, the second full moon of October. Appropriately enough, it is the Hunter’s Moon!

Feeling the goosebumps of this spooky season? Channel your inner paranormal, and write your blend of prose poetry and haiku, with allusion to Halloween. If inspiration arises, you may even write a fictional prose to get in the mood!

New to dVerse? Here’s what you do:

  • Write a haibun that alludes to Halloween.
  • Post it on your personal site/blog
  • Include a link back to dVerse in your post.
  • Copy your link onto the Mr. Linky
  • Remember to click the small checkbox about data protection.
  • Read and comment on some of your fellow poets’ work.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • Have fun!