Halloween’s coming! Where better to celebrate it than at the Scottish Poetry Library? Poetry and Halloween have a long and dishonourable history; why, our national bard Robert Burns even wrote a poem called ‘Halloween’ – ‘Some merry, friendly, country-folks, / Together did convene, / To burn their nits, and pou their stocks, / And haud their Halloween’ – while ‘Tam O’Shanter’ has a good claim to being the most famous poem about spooks:
There sat auld Nick, in shape o’ beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.—
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw’d the dead in their last dresses.
‘The Listeners’, ‘Goblin Market’, ‘The Raven’ – I could go on. Who knows? Perhaps one of you reading this blog will read a classic Halloween poem at our party on – when else? – Wednesday, 31 October. Yes, as part of our celebrations of the most wonderful(ly ghoulish) night of the year, we’ll be holding an open mic, where you, drear reader, can read a vintage chiller or a poem of your own that is in keeping with the season.
And there’s more! Our Halloween party, which we’re calling Fright Night, will feature other cruel and unusual delights. We’ll be playing games so brush up on your dooking skills now – those apples won’t eat themselves. There’ll also be doughnuts hanging from strings for you to make a fool of yourselves trying to eat. Watch out for crystal ball readings. And, film fans, we shall have a carefully curated series of clips playing in our grotto, sure to make you choke (with laughter) and scream (with delight). Some of the clips might even have a poetry connection!
Between 7.30pm and 8pm, in an optional part of the evening, poet Alice Tarbuck will assemble a coven of partygoers for a spooky poetry workshop. Writing poems in blood is frowned upon. Those taking part can read their poems at the open mic held later in the evening.
There’ll also be Halloween music played throughout the evening and blood-red wine to get you in the mood for our dreadful rites. Fancy dress is also optional; obviously we’d love to see you decked out as your favourite monster (or dead poet? There’s an idea) but it’s not mandatory.
One final piece of good news – tickets are free. That’s right – it will cost you not a penny to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve with us. So what are you waiting for? Here’s the link to the page where you can reserve yourself a ticket. Unlike other devilish entertainments, a ticket won’t cost you your soul.