Halloween is a fun holiday. There’s none of the awkward and forced family obligations that often come with Thanksgiving and Christmas. You don’t have to buy presents, or coordinate a multi-course meal. All Halloween requires is a costume, candy, and a willingness to enjoy a good scare.
In celebration of Halloween, here are some fund bits based on poetry and books that people have found frightening for generations.
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe (as performed by the Simpsons)
Edgar Allen Poe + James Earl Jones + Homer Simpson = Must Watch Awesomeness
The Adventure of the German Student by Washington Irving
Irving was one of America’s first acclaimed authors, and is best known for Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. He also wrote some pretty good ghost stories too.
“In a stormy night, in the tempestuous times of the French Revolution, a young German was returning to his lodgings, at a late hour, across the old part of Paris. The lightning gleamed, and the loud claps of thunder rattled through the lofty narrow streets—but I should first tell you something about this young German.
Gottfried Wolfgang was a young man of good family. He had studied for some time at Göttingen, but being of a visionary and enthusiastic character, he had wandered into those wild and speculative doctrines which have so often bewildered German students. His secluded life, his intense application, and the singular nature of his studies, had an effect on both mind and body. His health was impaired; his imagination diseased. He had been indulging in fanciful speculations on spiritual essences, until, like Swedenborg, he had an ideal world of his own around him. He took up a notion, I do not know from what cause, that there was an evil influence hanging over him; an evil genius or spirit seeking to ensnare him and ensure his perdition. Such an idea working on his melancholy temperament produced the most gloomy effects. He became haggard and desponding. His friends discovered the mental malady preying upon him, and determined that the best cure was a change of scene; he was sent, therefore, to finish his studies amidst the splendors and gayeties of Paris.”
Continue reading here. (It’s not very long, but too long to put the whole story here.)
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
For a special Halloween broadcast in 1938, the 1889 classic science fiction book was adapted for a radio broadcast. The first half of the broadcast consisted of fictional news bulletins describing the outbreak of an inter-planetary war. As listeners tuned in, many believed they were listening to actual reports. Panic ensued, with calls flooding into major news outlets. The uproar became a national headline.
Here, in all of it’s glory, is that 1938 radio broadcast.
Now go fill up on candy corn and pumpkin beer. Happy Halloween!