ghosts boo

photo: peasap (flickr)

I rarely watch horror films, because they either scare me or bore me. Still, I thought I would take one for the team this week and watch both Blue Velvet and Carrie…after all, Halloween is coming up this weekend. Besides, I like both Isabella Rossellini and Sissy Spacek. But, in the end, I couldn’t watch either of them to the end. I saw about 44 minutes of Blue Velvet and about 6 minutes of Carrie. Dennis Hopper’s entrance in Blue Velvet (opening) completely did me in and the bullying in Carrie (trailer) was more than I could bear. Okay… so I’m a wuss and I freely admit it.

After failing at watching horror films, I decided to look for some spooky poems and stories, instead. I found some poems here at Poets.org and at Classic Horror, I found both poems and short stories. And Elliott sent me this link to Poetry Foundation via email, where you will find a collection of more modern poems suited to this weekend.

As for stories that I know… Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is a pretty grim tale, but beautifully written. Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw is also pretty unforgettable. I seem to recall that we put on the play of James’ story when I was in high school. And, let’s not forget Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, his unusual tale about a headless horseman.

And there’s always Edgar Allan Poe, who during his life was better known for his literary criticism, but who almost single-handedly invented what we call detective fiction or the murder mystery, along with his many other contributions to the horror genre. Poe invented a non-professional detective named C. August Dupin, who first appeared in Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and appears again in The Mystery of Marie Rogêt and in The Purloined Letter. Poe also wrote a number of horror stories, including The Tell-Tale Heart, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Gold Bug and Ligeia. If you want something in the horror genre to read to your children or your spouse or partner, you cannot go wrong with Poe, whether you read his stories or his poems… The Raven, comes to mind. And I love the sonorous sounds in his poem, The Bells.

Trick-or-treaters will be out on Sunday evening, ringing our doorbells and asking for goodies. We usually have a pumpkin on our walkway, one with a sensor that laughs uproariously when it senses that someone is near by. Sometimes, it scares the very small children. Still, the lure of candy will often bring them to our door anyway. And we hang up some of that webby stuff that looks like spider webs, as well as a skeleton in the entryway, and a few bats, too. I don’t get dressed up any more, though. Not enough time.

On Halloween, do you dress up and try to scare the little ones? Or, do you restrain yourself and just give them candy? Do you have any favorite Halloween poems or short stories or movies that you that you think we should know about?