Tag Archives: Halloween

Nine Frightfully Impressive Words for Your Halloween Vocabulary

I read the dictionary so you don’t have to. The selection below could, in my opinion, be well employed in horror stories and casual Halloween party conversation:
“You look positively sepulchral.”
“Why, thank you!”somebody

Eldritch: Weird, ghostly, unnatural, frightful, hideous. (Of obscure origin. Potentially something to do with elves.)

Gloaming: An Old English word for twilight. (Useful now the latter has become synonymous with sparkly vampires.)

Imbrue: To stain, especially with blood.

Lambent: Of a flame (fire, light): Playing lightly upon or gliding over a surface without burning it, like a ‘tongue of fire’.

Lycanthropy: The transformation into werewolf form.

Mizzle: 1. Misty rain (modern). 2. A sudden or surreptitious departure or disappearance (rare/archaic).

Rutilant: To shine with a reddish glow.

Sepulchral: 1. Pertaining to the tomb or interment. 2. gloomy; dismal. (From the Latin Sepultra: to bury.)

Susurration: Malicious whispering.

Definitions were checked in the OED. Those are just a few words I’ve come across lately and enjoyed. Please add your favourites – leave a comment!

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Unconventional Literary Halloween Costumes

Many classic Halloween costumes are inspired by books – Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula – but literature has so much more to offer! I have trawled the Internet and found some rather remarkable Halloween costumes for book lovers.

This guy is fifty shades of creepy. Yet still not creepier than the book he’s dressed as.

50

Tinted Sunglasses+Cigarette=Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S Thompson

Be the coolest person in the room – come as a dictionary!
dictionary-costume

Thinking about a Lord of the Rings costume? Not another Frodo/elf/dwarf, I hope. Go as Barad Dur!
Barad Dur

Click here for a range of books people have turned up as. This is my personal favourite.
twilight-book-costume

Dress up your toddler like Edgar Allan Poe. Their friends are going to be so envious (or oblivious)! The likeness is uncanny.

Poe

If you’re thinking of an Alice in Wonderland costume, forgo Alice and the Mad Hatter – go straight for Cheshire Cat and Tree.

Cheshire-Cat-in-a-Tree-Costume

Or if you do go for Alice, be trapped inside a house.
In the houseGo meta and go to a fancy dress party as Oscar Wilde at a fancy dress party. Here he is looking magnificent in traditional Greek clothing.
oscar-wilde-in-greek-national-dress

Tired of getting out that same Hogwarts uniform every year? Try being Buckbeak instead.
buckbeak2 Hedwig

I just love this girl’s face. She is very much in character.
Angry CruellaThis woman is Super Librarian. She is my hero.
Super LibrarianWhat do you think of these? Have you worn a book inspired costume? Leave me a comment below!
Please do like and share.

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My Favourite Spooky Novels for Halloween

Here are my favourite novels that feel Halloween-appropriate. They may not all contain the classic supernatural monsters that provide the inspiration for the creepiest costumes. However to me, horror is much more than monsters: it is an oppressive atmosphere; chilling imagery; a twisting, startling plot; and good dose of foggy Victorian nights where villains lurk down dank alleys and in nervous imaginations.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’ This famous first line transports the reader with the nameless narrator back into a tale of tension and drama. It may not be a literal ghost story, but the protagonist is psychologically haunted by her new husband’s first wife, the eponymous Rebecca. The creepy housekeeper is devoted to her dead mistress and bullies the new Mrs de Winter into feeling that she will never be good enough. She begins to doubt herself and her husband’s love. If you haven’t read it, do, if only for the dramatic twists. It’s about power and fear. The imagery is taken directly from the horror genre:  ‘The road to Manderley lay ahead. There was no moon. The sky above our heads was inky black. But the sky on the horizon was not dark at all. It was shot with crimson, like a splash of blood. And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.’

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Teaching the perils of vanity, this beautifully written allegorical triumph is the perfect horror story. It has everything: crime, murder, sex, drugs and some startlingly gruesome surprises. Dorian Gray is young and beautiful. He falls in with a hedonistic crowd and has his portrait painted by Basil Hallward. He realises the transience of good looks and declares that he would sell his soul if the portrait would age instead of him. This Faustian pact becomes more real than he could have imagined as his sins are drawn on the picture, making it horrifically disfigured. This is Oscar Wilde’s only novel and caused moral outrage when it was published: usually the sign of an interesting book!  

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley It’s a Gothic horror classic. The original mad scientist, Victor Frankenstein brings forth new life in his lab, but is appalled by the monster he has created. Eight feet tall with translucent skin and yellow eyes, it craves human contact, yet terrifies everyone it meets.  This self-aware creature is one of the most fascinating characters in literature and is far more articulate in the text than it is allowed to be in most green-faced film adaptations: “I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.” With a frame narrative, this novel is structurally intelligent as well as impressively dark and complex.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte So the ghost story element has rather had power taken out of it by that Kate Bush song, but that aside, the novel remains atmospheric, deeply creepy (implied nechrophilia) and involves some of the best pathetic fallacy I’ve ever seen. The central piece of the book is the all-consuming, destructive monomania that Cathy and Heathcliff feel for each other. In my favourite passage from the book, Heathcliff says: ‘Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry; and wring out my kisses and tears: they’ll blight you—they’ll damn you… Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine… Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you—oh, God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave?’ The themes of heaven and hell, of souls and damnation pervade each generation’s stories.

What would you add to this list?

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