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Scary Halloween Poems for Little Goblins

Yvonne, a retired teacher/librarian, has written many multi-skilled thematic units and book recommendations for elementary school children.

Black Star stares as if to cast a spell.

Black Star stares as if to cast a spell.

Spooky Poetry Books for Read Alouds

One of the most thrilling parts of Halloween is to sit in a darkened room lit by candlelight or a jack-o-lantern and listen to ghost stories and scary poems. I've always been partial to the spooky poem books.

My favorite poetry books of scary poems for older children (fourth grade and tweens) are Jack Prelutsky's, Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep and The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight: More Poems to Trouble Your Sleep.

A good one for children, third grade and older is Halloween Poems, selected by Myra Cohn Livingston. Another old favorite, that is no longer readily available in new condition, is Witch Poems, edited by Daisy Wallace and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. But there are many used copies around and there's always the public library.

For the wee ones, I recommend Who Said Boo? Halloween Poems for the Very Young written by Nancy White Carlstrom. This darling book is a very UNscary collection of poems for small children.

There's nothing like a spooky poem to get the blood flowing and make a Halloween night even spookier. The following books are guaranteed to entertain tween audiences with tales, written in verse, of monsters and other fantastic creatures.

I picked out some of my favorite poems and added some Youtube recordings of select poems to give you a hint of what's in these spooky books.

Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep by Jack Prelutsky

Jack Prelutsky's poetry books for children are classics. Just the thing for spooky read alouds by candlelight. These also might inspire young poets to create some spooky rhymes of their own and could be the jumping off point for a creative writing thematic unit.

Around Halloween, I read Prelutsky's Nightmares and the Headless Horsemen books to the fourth and fifth graders when I was a school librarian. I usually dressed as a witch, lit the Jack-o-lantern and turned the lights down low to set the scene.

The Vampire

from Nightmares

"The night is still and somber,

and in the murky gloom,

arisen from his slumber,

the vampire leaves his tomb..."

The Werewolf

from Nightmares

"The full moon glows, foreboding

and I quake from head to feet

for this night I know, in the town below,

the werewolf prowls the street..."

Scroll to Continue

Night's Creatures

Vampire and werewolves on the night of the full moon.

Vampire and werewolves on the night of the full moon.

The Wizard

from Nightmares

"The wizard, watchful, waits alone

within his tower of cold gray stone

and ponders in his wicked way

what evil deeds he'll do this day..."

Wizard in Black

Headless Horseman Rides Tonight: More Poems to Trouble Your Sleep - Jack Prelutsky

The More book is also good for those scary read aloud sessions.

The Mummy

from Headless Horsman Rides Tonight

"In the darkness of a sepulcher

beneath the shifting sands,

the mummy stirs within its sheath

of rotten linen bands...."

The Zombie

from Headless Horsman Rides Tonight

"Upon your bed you sleep in pain

for nightmares whirl within you brain.

You waken with a fearful start

as horror grips your heart.

You sense a presence standing there,

then all at once it meets your stare.

A zombie waits within your room

and with it dwells your doom..."

The Sorceress

from Headless Horsman Rides Tonight

"In flowing dress

the sorceress

begins her evil toil.

She stirs her vat

of filth and fat

and sees it seethe and boil..."

Headless Horseman

from Headless Horsman Rides Tonight

"The headless horseman rides tonight

through stark and starless skies.

Shattering the silence

with his otherworldly cries,

he races through the darkness

on his alabaster steed.

The headless horseman rides tonight

wherever the fates would lead..."

Scary Stories and Poems

Halloween Poems - Selected by Myra Cohn Livingston

This is a delightful collection of slightly scary, sort of funny little poems by many different authors. Middle elementary children would enjoy writing some patterned after the ones in this collection. It might also inspire them to read other works by the poets featured here.

Skeleton (From Halloween Poems)

by Lee Bartlett

Tink, plonk, konkle;



Clinking, clanking, dancing

To the

Tonkle, plink, konk

Of its






Witch Poems - Selected by Daisy Wallace

This wonderful, very slightly scary collection of poems about witches is illustrated by the renowned, artist Trina Schart Hyman. One of my favorite poems is In the Witches Kitchens.

These would be fun for the children to copy and illustrate to be displayed on a thematic bulletin board or in a class booklet.

Witch Poems - List of Poems

Witches' Spells: Miss Trust's Incantation by Lyman Frank Baum

Witches' Spells: Mounting Their Broomsticks by Lyman Frank Baum

Witches' Spells: To Make Their Enchanted Horses Fly ... by Lyman Frank Baum

Witches' Spells: To Raise A Wind by Lyman Frank Baum

Chanson Innocente: 2, Fr. Tulips by Edward Estlin Cummings

The Witch! The Witch! by Eleanor Farjeon

Poison Ivy! by Katherine Gallagher

Curses! First Witch by Michael Patrick Hearn

Curses! Second Witch by Michael Patrick Hearn

Wicked Witch's Kitchen by X. J. Kennedy

Witch Baseball by Steven Kroll

The Witches' Ride by Karla Kuskin

Witch Goes Shopping by Lilian Moore

Witches' Menus by Sonja Nikolay

The Wee Woolly Witchie Of Whistlewood Way by Jack Prelutsky

Wild Witches' Ball by Jack Prelutsky

A Short Litany by Anonymous

Wicked Witch's Kitchen

by X.J. Kennedy

from Witch Poems

"You're in the mood for freaky food?

You feel your taste buds itchin'

For nice fresh poison ivy greens?

Try Wicked Witch's kitchen!..."

Witches' Menu

Sonja Nickolay

from Witch Poems

"Live lizard, dead lizard

Marinated, fried.

Poached lizard, pickled lizard

Salty lizard hide..."


Who Said Boo? Halloween Poems for the Very Young

Very UNscary Poems

Who Said Boo is a colorful book that is a perfect read aloud for the little ones on Halloween. Nothing scary here, just nice little rhymes that wouldn't scare a fly. Many of these little poems lend themselves to role playing and acting out.

On Halloween Night

by Nancy White Carlstrom

"This is the way the cat walks

pit pat, pit pat

This is the way the cat walks

On Halloween night..."

© 2010 Yvonne L B

Tell us a spooky tale or just say BOO!

anonymous on November 05, 2012:

@magentaxbanana: your no the onlyone

RaintreeAnnie from UK on October 31, 2012:

Spooky!! Love these Halloween poems.

MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose from Washington State on October 25, 2012:

great boo stories, love em, thanks

magentaxbanana on October 10, 2012:

I love these. (:

LucyMac LM on September 30, 2012:

I liked some of the poems here.

anonymous on September 26, 2012:

im scared

Joan Haines on October 08, 2011:


emmaklarkins on October 02, 2011:

Perfectly spooky! Blessed :)

anonymous on September 28, 2011:

WOW! You spelled scary e-x-q-u-i-s-i-t-e. I like this lens.

Beepopalula on June 26, 2011:

I like the headless horseman. Cool lens !

SeaSerpent on October 27, 2010:


WorldVisionary on October 10, 2010:

Loved this lens - the photos are great!

bdkz on August 13, 2010:

Congratulations! You've been SquidBoo Blasted. Happy Halloween!

Robin S from USA on August 13, 2010:

Excellent choices!

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