Halloween Poems to Read by Candlelight

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Halloween is a time of year we love to get scared by ghosts, witches, monsters and other spooky things that go bump of the night. Here is a collection of new and old poetry that has been inspired by the darkness. So light your candles, turn off the light and read these creepy Halloween poems and try not to get too spooked!

We’ll be adding new poems throughout the month of October! Contact us if you’ve got a British or Irish themed ghost, creepy or Halloween poems for our collection!

Halloween Poems

Here are some new Halloween poems

Halloween by Petula Mitchell

The Jack o’Lantern shows his crooked smile
At windows all around the town.

The smiling children, guided door to door,
With watchful mothers, gather autumns treats.

A little witch, a tiny demon, the monster Frankenstein,
Each costume made to beat the neighbours.

The teeth of a razor frost, bites bare flesh.

Is the shivering because of the cold, or the name of the day?

The church above the houses sits in moonlight.

The silhouette of centuries, clear, heavy, holy.

Squat stone holds up the soaring steeple,
Appealing to heaven for salvation

And the dawning of All Saints day. 

The church yard glowing in the paleness, deep shadowed,
Rustles as the wind creeps round the stones.

The air, as cold as death itself, invites them
Through the thinning veil.

Tonight, my love, tonight, if you can hear!

About how I still hold you in my dreams.

I walk the yard to find a remnant of that soul.

A black cat runs for home, the owl screams.

The Alleyway by John H. Shelton

The Alleyway
Where does it go?
Where does it lead?
All I see is a trail of leaves

Nobody comes
Nobody goes
Nobody must come here

It’s a trail
A way of Life
Nobody must take this stride
This stride of life or death
Nobody is walking
Past half-past ten

The Alleyway
Where does it go?
Where does it lead?
All I see is a trail of leaves

Nobody comes
Nobody goes
Nobody must come here
It’s a trail

A way of life
Nobody must take this stride
This stride of life or death
Nobody is walking
Past half-past ten

The Alleyway,
which leads to nowhere
May one day
Lead to somebody to someone… else!

The Lady in White by Andi Brooks 

Beware benighted traveler  
‘pon the road from Donadea 
For there awaits a ghostly sight 
to fill your soul with fear. 

Betwixt the mill of Baltracy 
and the crossroads of Borheen, 
Dressed in a gown of flowing white, 
the apparition can be seen. 

Out of the dark and o’er the fence, 
she’ll suddenly appear 
To walk awhile by your side 
‘til the crossroads draw near. 

And there upon a grassy spot 
she’ll commence her lonely wait 
To see her child come home again, 
ignorant of his fate. 

For to a house of horrors 
known as the Hungry Hall 
The lad, like many others, 
was lured to his downfall. 

Butchered by a foul old witch 
and boiled up in a pot 
To be consumed with grisly glee 
until the fiend was caught. 

Brought up before the magistrate, 
her guilt so clear to see, 
She was condemned to be hung 
from a branch of her own tree. 

And so, benighted traveler, 
fear not the lady in white. 
Instead have pity for her 
on this and every night. 

On Halloween by A.J. Austerberry

The nights draw in
The veil is thin
The Dead walk in
On this Hallowed Eve

The mists roll in
Death creeps in
Devils may sin
On All Hallows Eve

Black cats cross paths
Witches cackle, their laughs
Echo around Pendle Hill

All Souls will creep
And Angels may weep
Over vales,
So silent, and still

Bumps in the night
Hounds howling with fright
Twilight hours filled with dread

Tricks or Treats
Effegies line streets
The Dawning of the Day
Of the Dead

Stone circles at Dusk
Moonlight, ashes and dust
This Gateway to the
Fires of Hell

Pumpkins and bats
And pointy black hats
Mystical, magic
And spells

Men hang from the Gallows
On the Eve of All Hallows
Witches will drown,
Or they burn

A way through the woods
Ends in no good
If by chance you should take
The Wrong turn

Twisted tales of the Dead
Tortured souls in the head
They walk amongst us
Those, the Unseen

Let us honour their day
For All Saints, let us pray
For their peace
On each Halloween

The Witch of Woodplumpton by Chris Newton

Deep beneath a boulder lay
A Fylde witch
called Margery

Who ran in fields
In guise of hare
To feast upon the harvest

Her stolen pail
She enchanted
To waddle as a goose

And walk beside her
Up the lane
That none might know the truth

The farmer paid no heed
as milk
Trickled from its bill

Meg took it home
To Cuckoo Hall
And there she drank her fill

But the farmer was a wily fox
who caught her in his barn one night
He counted six great sacks of grain
Where once there had been five

He took his pitchfork –
Gave a poke –
The witch she was revealed!

And walked thereafter
With a limp
Her fork-wound never healed

The farmer’s fate was worse –
Much worse!
That harvest was his last

His cows were dry
His crops all died
His chickens not one egg they laid

He died alone in poverty
And cursed the hag
Unto his grave

But mortal men
Have not the power
To work their will with words

And there are things
That foolish men
Oft fail to observe

There is magic
in the changing season
Magic in the earth

A cunning witch,
She walks betwixt
The power of these worlds

So when the trees are ripe with fruit,

And when the wheat grows tall
Be mindful that you thank the witch
That lives in Cuckoo Hall
And when you bring your harvest in

Take heed and have a care,
’Tis wise to let the local witch
Take her rightful share.

Read more about the Witch of Woodplumpton

The Dullahan by Ann Massey

Crom Dubh looked on with malice
On the pagan souls of old
Who were no longer fearing sacrifice
Christianity instead, took hold. 

The god would not go quietly 
His Church was still the night
He called upon Unseelie Fae
Creatures not of light.

“Join your magic with me
In darkness we shall reign”
And thus a monster he conjured
To wreak terror in his name.

And so Gan Ceann was created
It means ‘without a head’
To prey on those who are dying
To steal souls from their beds.

Others know him as Dullahan
An unholy beast so vile
Luminescent skull, a beacon 
To hunt across the miles. 

Eyes of black infinity
A contorted, rictus grin
Candles lodged within his skull
To aid him see your sin.

Decaying flesh hangs loosely
Mottled skin so foul
Barely clinging to his skull
Just hanging from his jowl.

He rides the night unchallenged
His steed with eyes of blood
No earthly means will stop him
No storm, no gale, no flood.

The Dullahan is relentless 
Cracks his whip of human spine
Seeks the dying without mercy
His only adversary, time.

Should you find yourself in his way
A crimson spray will bind you
Cast from the demonic hand of death
A mark to be sure he will find you.

The rattle of wheels made out of bone
Thundering hooves across the ground
Terror shrouds the icy night
Yet Dullahan makes no sound.

Except to utter just one word
His prey’s name is revealed
Once past his mottled, hellish lips
Your fate is all but sealed.

Your Candle is extinguished
Silence soaks the chilling air 
Weakened breath still whispers
The Dullahan knows you are there.

The chimes of death are striking 
No more can you survive
As spirit floats from body 
The Dullahan has arrived. 

Gold did not protect you
Nor iron, prayer or spell
The Dullahan has swallowed up your soul 
Your corpse a hollow shell.

Once more he rides into the night
No woman, child or man
Once marked can escape the horrific fate
Of the dreaded Dullahan.

When Night Falls by Barry McCann

For Living

When night falls
Air breaths silently
Gravitating cold

When night falls
The knocking begins
Dowsing for fear

When night falls
It takes my name
And whispers it back

Sometimes she appears
Then fades away
Like breath on a mirror

For Passed

When night falls
I walk alone
Seeking consort

When night falls
I send words
That cannot reach him

When night falls
My fingers seek his
But never connect

Oh, to touch
The radiance of flesh
A rhythm of pulse

… When night falls

Woodhenge by Chris Newton

In the witchwood, there is a woodhenge.
They say it aligns with the stars
They say it is older than the town

In the witchwood, there is a woodhenge. 
Amidst the rowans and the beeches 
Beneath the leaf mould and the twigs 

A ring of mossy stumps, already ancient when they were felled
To bind some eldritch energy
To weave a wicker spell.

Here it is in the clearing
Here it is atop the hill
Rotting apples pave a path
Where the birds are croaking still.

There are songs sung in the dead of night
Of sorrow and revenge
The flames they are a-crackling still
In the witchwood, there is a woodhenge. 

Familiar by Kevin Patrick McCann

In her cottage, wattle and daub
Not gingerbread, the black cat,
Goldeneyes, is swallowing this scene:
A witch peels willow stalks, 
Bruises aromatic leaves,
Half-chewed fragments
Of Latin and Greek 
Spilling from her lips.

The scene is familiar
But the cat is not hers.

It’s exactly the other way round.

Ghost Story by Kevin Patrick McCann

Nothing is seen,
Someone said,
Just heard:
Rustle of crinoline,
Small hours weeping,
Footsteps on the stairs.

Awake suddenly,
His eyes rake through shadows,
Breath staining the air
As a weight, unseen,
Lifts off a creaking chair
Sheets and blankets roll back,
An Arctic chill pools the pillow,
Nuzzles his sweat matted hair.

Emily (Who Wanders Amberley Castle) by Petula Mitchell

There’s a castle here, deep in Sussex
Where Emily walks the halls.
She roams the rooms after midnight
When the night creatures hunt and call.

Her visage is battered and bloody,
Her body broken and sore.
Her cries are those of a tortured soul
As she wanders from floor to floor.

A young woman wronged by the Bishop
A very long time in the past.
She gave him her heart and her virtue
But her happiness did not last.

When she found she was having his baby,
He rejected her out of hand.
She threw herself off the tower,
Her blood staining forever the land.

So if you hear her cries in the kitchen,
Or find her at the foot of your bed,
Fear not this poor wretched creature,
Who has come from the realm of the dead.

Her poor tender heart it was broken
By a man who was selfish and cruel.
She is destined to wander forever,
As a bloodied, pitiful ghoul.

‘The Hat’ by Chris Newton

The hat was perfect for the play
Black satin, velvet lined and decorated with a band of lace.
I asked her where she got it, she said she didn’t know
Some dusty old antique shop down some old and dusty road?

The props department sent it back, all polished and renewed
Genuine. Dickensian. A perfect fit for Scrooge. 
We arranged the stage and angled the lights
Everything was set for the opening night. 

Hurrying home from Aldgate station
I was sure I heard footsteps following behind. 
I glanced over my shoulder and saw nothing but darkness
Just feverish imaginings of an overworked mind. 

In bed, I had nightmares I cannot recall 
Of screaming and bleeding and words upon walls
When I woke in the morning I found, with a fright,
A red rash round my neck from my left ear to right

My throat was so hoarse I could scarce talk out loud
My head it was pounding, and as for my bowels… 
My stomach was churning in the grip of some bug
But the show must go on, so I ran for my bus.

The matinée was mayhem, the evening was worse
And Marley opined the production was cursed 
I sat for some time in Tiny Tim’s dressing room
Nursing a whiskey alone in the gloom

I pondered our failures, the prompts and the props
And dreaded the reviews when news spread of our flop.
I gazed at the wardrobe, consoled knowing that
None could criticise the cloaks and the hats

My eyes fell on the old top hat, resplendent on its stand
And I wondered once more how it came into our hands 
I took it down with care, quite careful not to stain
And searched the lining of the rim for some monogram or name

And there, within the fold, lay something faded and aged
A letter from a name? A logo for a maker? 
I gave up trying to fathom it, its secret lost to time 
And removed a single silver hair from within its velvet lining. 

The following day my malady worsened, by the time I awoke it was almost midday
I called up the theatre and croaked my apologies, rasping the words ‘I’m running quite late.’
My face was a sight, my skin drawn and pale. Red marks on my cheeks. I looked older and frail.
The rash on my neck so red and so vast, I resorted to covering it with a scarlet cravat. 

I trudged to the theatre, though thoroughly unfit
To find the backdrop collapsed with Bob Cratchit beneath it 
His leg badly broken, concussed from the blow
We were left with no choice but to cancel the show 

Tearing down posters and cursing misfortune, I wondered how it had all come to this
Was Marley correct in thinking us hexed? Was this why all was amiss? 
We started so well, so slick and professional
What was it that changed? Made our luck so abysmal?

My mind conjured a theory, too absurd not to laugh at
But everything was perfect till we found that old top hat
I staggered backstage – still fighting my fever –  
And tore it from its stand to destroy it forever.

I glanced at the faded inscription inside 
An O, an R, and…  could that be an I? 
Resolving to seek a second opinion,
I stumbled immediately to Aldgate East station 

To the home of the props girl who’d found it somewhere 
In the hope she’d remember, and take me straight there
To an antique outfitter who just might understand 
The meaning of old letters and logos and brands

When I arrived at her house the lights were all out
The door was ajar, but no soul was about.  
I called out her name, and received no reply
Just the sinister echo of my own fearful cry

I knew I should leave, but some dreadful foreboding 
Told her abode held answers within 
Stumbling, quite weak, into the dark of the hall
I peered through the blackness to see stains on the wall

It was as if some foulness had been covered by paint
But beneath the emulsion had still left a trace
I paid it no mind and called out once more
As I felt for the handle of the living room door. 

I heard not a pin drop, saw no speck of light 
But the stench of decay was the source of my fright
What I saw as my eyes grew accustomed to the darkness
Had once been a person, but now was a carcass 

No flesh remained on its skeletal face, its entrails covered the floor
I spluttered and wretched and struggled to walk as I blindly groped for the door
And there, in the hall, the words on the wall not faded but bleeding through
A message scrawled by devilish hands in a deadly crimson hue. 

‘My deepest thanks for finding, and sprucing up my hat
But the time has come for you to die and me to take it back.
You came so close to catching me, and naming me at that
But I shan’t stop ripping them till I do get exorcised. 

Yours sincerely, 

From Hell,


Classic Halloween Poetry

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