When we think of hair-raising quotes, horror movies are often the first thing that come to mind. There’s no denying the spine-tingling effect that lines like “Now I want to play with yoooouuuu” still have after all these years. But horror movies don’t have a monopoly on creepy. Literature has quite a few chill-inducing quotes to offer. Here are 13 for you to enjoy this Halloween.
One night when the ballerina was in kindergarten, we were sitting in the living room after dinner, TV off, everyone reading or playing quietly. Then she started to sing something softly to herself as she colored with her crayons. My husband and I both looked at her.
“What’s that she’s singing?” he asked uneasily.
I don’t actually remember now what she was singing. Something they’d learned at school that day. What I do remember is that it was to the tune of “One, two, Freddie’s coming for you . . . ”
The creepiest lines (and tunes) stick with us long after the rest of the story is forgotten. Sometimes they pop into your head at 3 a.m. when you suddenly wake up for no reason. Or is that just me?
Just in case you’ve been sleeping too well lately, here are some of literature’s spookiest quotes:
(and don’t forget to scroll all the way to the bottom for some free literary Halloween printables!)
Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are born.
Every Morn and every Night
Some are born to Sweet Delight.
Some are born to Sweet Delight,
Some are born to Endless Night.
― William Blake, Songs of Experience
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there!
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away!
And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
— Revelation 6:8
Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!
Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world; now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.
The whole forest was peopled with frightful sounds–the creaking of the trees, the howling of wild beasts, and the yell of Indians; while sometimes the wind tolled like a distant church bell, and sometimes gave a broad roar around the traveler, as if all Nature were laughing him to scorn. But he was himself the chief horror of the scene, and shrank not from its other horrors.
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown
Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
. . . but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply . . .
― Edna St. Vincent Millay, What Lips My Lips Have Kissed and Where and Why
We ask only to be reassured
About the noises in the cellar
And the window that should not have been open.
It was true that the ghastly sounds I had heard through the fog had greatly upset me but far worse was what emanated from and surrounded these things and arose to unsteady me, an atmosphere, a force – I do not exactly know what to call it – of evil and uncleanness, of terror and suffering, of malevolence and bitter anger.
― Susan Hill, The Woman in Black
Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!
— Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven
Free Halloween Printables!
And to get you into the Halloween spirit, here are some free printables of my two favorite Halloween quotes from the list.
What are your favorite creepy quotes from literature
and movies? Are there any that keep you up at night?