Scary Poems to Read in the Dark

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Melissa Baron

Staff Writer

Melissa is the author of TWICE IN A LIFETIME from Alcove Press and represented by Laura Cameron at Transatlantic Agency. She lives in Chicago and works as a technical writer to pay the bills. She is a former English major, and has never met a semicolon she didn’t accidentally abuse in some fashion. In her spare time, she explores Chicago, writes a lot, and hangs out with her fiancé and two cats. You can find her on Instagram and TikTok @melissabaronwrites.

Welcome, my ghosts and ghouls. Gather around the fire, close now; it keeps the chill of the night away. You came to this post because you wanted to see and hear things that will scare you. Things that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck and make you doubt your senses. You’ve come to the right place.

We have a collection of chilling, creepy, and eerie poems for both you and your little ones to enjoy while the moon is high and the night is dark. For the adults, let these poems transport you to empty, barren fields on a cold fall night; to seemingly deserted houses dying for you to enter; to a world where a hunger for brains has taken over everyone you love. For the children, have poems that will excite you for the day Halloween arrives, and remind you of the scary thrill in a howling wind and a rattling, empty house. We’ll frighten the adults first with their collection of scary poems, and then give the little ones their batch of ghoulish fun.

Let’s recite these chilling poems before the fire goes out. You wouldn’t want to be here when the light disappears.

Scary Poems for Adults

All Hallows by Louise Glück


Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:

Ava by Christina Sng


And so she turned—

I kept her grunting and lost
In the guest bathroom
And soon the melody
Of her movements matched
The cacophony of the others
Shifting around outside.

The City in the Sea, by Edgar Allan Poe

Windigo by Louise Erdrich


You knew I was coming for you, little one,
when the kettle jumped into the fire.
Towels flapped on the hooks,
and the dog crept off, groaning,
to the deepest part of the woods.

In the hackles of dry brush a thin laughter started up.
Mother scolded the food warm and smooth in the pot
and called you to eat.
But I spoke in the cold trees:
New one, I have come for you, child hide and lie still.

The Empty House by Walter de la Mare


See this house, how dark it is
Beneath its vast-boughed trees!
Not one trembling leaflet cries
To that Watcher in the skies—
‘Remove, remove thy searching gaze,
Innocent of heaven’s ways,
Brood not, Moon, so wildly bright,
On secrets hidden from sight.’

I Felt a Funeral, in my Brain by Emily Dickinson

Do Not Speak of the Dead by Cecilia Llompart


I was born among the bodies. I was hurried
forward, and sealed a thin life for myself.

I have shortened my name, and walk with
a limp. I place pebbles in milk and offer

them to my children when there is nothing
else. We can not live on cold blood alone.

In a dream, I am ungendered, and the moon
is just the moon having a thought of itself.

To Live in the Zombie Apocalypse by Burlee Vang


The moon will shine for God
knows how long.
As if it still matters. As if someone

is trying to recall a dream.
Believe the brain is a cage of light
& rage. When it shuts off,

something else switches on.
There’s no better reason than now
to lock the doors, the windows.

Antigonish by Hughes Mearns

Remember Me by Cynthia Pelayo


Into the forest and all the way through, I ask you to follow my voice

Across the stream and through the hills, you’ll find a copse of trees

Unknown to many, lost to time, and tucked behind a bare branch

A ball of twine, a cigarette butt, a crumpled polaroid, you hear a giggle

Not-As-Scary Poems for Kids

October by Bobbi Katz


October is
when night guzzles up
the orange sherbet sunset
and sends the day
to bed
before supper
October is when jack-o’-lanterns
grin in the darkness
            strange company crunches
across the rumple of dry leaves
to ring a doorbell.

Dusk in Autumn by Sara Teasdale

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.

Enter This Deserted House by Shel Silverstein

Cupid by Amber Flora Thomas


His wings rest at his feet.
His fists curl inside a brown paper bag.
The alert beak propped on his head

aims down the block into sidewalk pools
of streetlight. His red lips make plump
numbers. He has so much candy

the bottom bulges. A pumpkin arrives
on spindly orange legs, followed by
a skeleton crew of two with unkept

postures, baggy knees, and flaccid spines.
A ghost sidles up, his sheet belted,
a baseball cap holding sloppy eyeholes

This Living Hand by John Keats

The Night Wind by Eugene Field


Have you ever heard the wind go “Yooooo”?
’Tis a pitiful sound to hear!
It seems to chill you through and through
With a strange and speechless fear.
’Tis the voice of the night that broods outside
When folks should be asleep,
And many and many’s the time I’ve cried
To the darkness brooding far and wide
Over the land and the deep:
“Whom do you want, O lonely night,
That you wail the long hours through?”

You’ve made it to the end. Such brave souls! I hope these short tales have given you the fright you were looking for. If not, there’s more where that came from: