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  • NYS Writers Institute

Poetry Friday: Halloween edition



Hallowe'en

By Joel Benton (1832–1911)


Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite

All are on their rounds to-night,—

In the wan moon’s silver ray

Thrives their helter-skelter play.

Fond of cellar, barn, or stack

True unto the almanac,

They present to credulous eyes

Strange hobgoblin mysteries.

Cabbage-stumps—straws wet with dew—

Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,

And a mirror for some lass

Show what wonders come to pass.

Doors they move, and gates they hide

Mischiefs that on moonbeams ride

Are their deeds,—and, by their spells,

Love records its oracles.

Don’t we all, of long ago

By the ruddy fireplace glow,

In the kitchen and the hall,

Those queer, coof-like pranks recall?

Every shadows were they then—

But to-night they come again;

Were we once more but sixteen

Precious would be Hallowe’en.


"Hallowe'en" was published in The Book of Hallowe'en (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1919). This poem is in the public domain.


Joel Benton (1832–1911) was an American poet. He was born in 1832 in Amenia, Dutchess County, New York. As well as writing poetry, he also published Emerson As A Poet (1882), The Truth About Protection (1892), Greeley on Lincoln (1893), In the Poe Circle (1899) and A Unique Story of a Marvellous Career: Life of Hon. Phineas T. Barnum. He died in 1911 in Poughkeepsie.