Witch Ghoul’s For You?

vintage illustration of witch riding a pumpking drawn by bats Image courtesy of the New York Public Library under Creative Commons

I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle around me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o’-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.
Theme In Yellow by Carl Sandburg

Halloween is upon us, and whatever your creepy traditions (carving pumpkins, going all out on costumes, scary-movie marathons or telling ghost stories at haunted houses), the UGL is here to help set the mood. The UGL graduate assistants put together a list of a few books and films that would fit into anyone’s Halloween traditions. What are some of your favorite scary flicks and reads? Let us know in the comments!

DVD cover: a ghoulish family poses together

The Addams Family
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christina Ricci
This is a classic for Halloween. Based on a cartoon, the film has retained popularity since its 1991 release due in no small part to its playfully macabre characters. Did you know there was even a musical made in 2010 based on this quirky family? Currently, it’s touring in Brazil.




DVD cover: Cary Grant carries a surprised person over his shoulder

Arsenic and Old Lace
Directed by Frank Capra; starring Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane

If horror isn’t your thing, watch this classic film. On Halloween, Mortimer Brewster gets married, discovers a terrible but strangely humorous secret about his beloved aunties, attempts to deal with a cousin who believes he’s Teddy Roosevelt, and tries to force another cousin with a criminal record out of the house. Hilarity ensues.




DVD cover: a spooky house with figures peering out from windowsClue
Directed by Jonathan Lynn, starring Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd
We’ve all seen bad movie adaptations of board games and video games, but Clue is everything it should be: costumes + murder + hilarious dialogue you’ll be quoting for years. Will it be Colonel Mustard with the lead pipe? Mrs. Peacock with the knife? How high will the body count go?




book cover: an empty staircase in shadow.Ghosts Among Us: True Stories of Spirit Encounters
By Leslie Rule
Despite the huge number of horror films and novels available, nothing’s scarier than a real-life ghost story. In Ghosts Among Us, Rule researches reported encounters with the supernatural, which are bolstered with black and white photos of haunted locations. If you’re into more serious research on all things spooky, check out the University’s Mandeville Collection. It’s got info on everything from UFOs to witchcraft and magic. To search for items in the catalog, type “Mandeville Collection” and the choose “Subject” from the drop-down menu. Proceed at your own risk…..


DVD cover: demonic figure with gunHellboy
Directed by Guillermo del Toro; starring Ron Perlman and Selma Blair
Maybe it’s not directly related to Halloween, but Hellboy has got plenty of demons, monsters, and spooks to keep you entertained. If you watch the movie and want still more, why not check out some of the comics as well?




DVD cover: three witches shoot lightning into a full moonHocus Pocus
Directed by Kenny Ortega; starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimi
Clearly the best Halloween movie of all time. Enough said.






book cover: a haunted house with many spooky secrets.I Spy Spooky Night: A Book of Picture Riddles
Photos by Walter Wick, riddles by Jean Marzollo
This fun picture book is part of a series of “find-it” riddles for kids, but the photography is unbelievable! Walter Wick creates a series of eery pictures from miniatures that really makes you feel like you’re roaming through a haunted house. And what better way to take a break from school and gear up for Halloween than playing a kid’s game?




book cover: image of ghostly disintegrating figureScary Stories to Tell in the Dark
By Alvin Schwartz
This is a collection of short stories that have been adapted from folklore and stands out among my best memories of reading as a kid. It is a great book to share during Halloween season. Even today, the original artwork is pretty creepy and beautiful. It’s noted by the American Library Association as the most consistently challenged books in the 1990s, so you know it has to be good!



book cover: Horse with eerily-lit skeleton headSomething Wicked This Way Comes
By Ray Bradbury
The story is about two boys–one born just before midnight on Halloween, the other born just after midnight. The circus has come to town, and there’s something that is just not quite right. The story investigates what it means to be young, to be scared, and it will scare your boots right off. Ray Bradbury presents realistic characters with real wants and needs, and mixes in the horror of a circus gone wrong with a dying summer and the need to escape in the just right way.

Need some more spooktacular recommendations?


Check out the UGL’s Pinterest board Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) for more haunting suggestions!

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