Halloween ABC - Eve Merriam

Genre: Horror / Poetry /  Halloween


Year Published: 1987


Year Read: 2009



“Halloween ABC” is an ABC book by Eve Merriam along with illustrations by Lane Smith and this book is about various symbols and creatures of Halloween being described through the letters of the alphabet.  “Halloween ABC” may be extremely controversial for its macabre content, but it is still a truly worthy book to read around Halloween time!


There are a total of twenty-six poems in this book, but since I will be here all day if I post all twenty-six poems, I will just recite two of my favorite poems in this book:


A pet to pat, a pal of a pet,
A pet the family won’t forget,
A pet that pants and drools and yaps
And leaves a little spot in laps,
A pet that’s not the least bit vicious,
Yet finds the neighbors quite nutritious.”

Viper, Viper,
Spiteful sniper,
Snake in the grass, lowdown, base,
Smiling, smiling to your face,
Virulent villain, venomous, vile,
Darting poison with a snaky smile.”


If you think that you have read a Halloween ABC book that is filled with creepy creatures, then you will definitely be shocked and surprised at what this book has in store for you!  Eve Merriam has definitely made this book one of the most intense and creepiest Halloween ABC books ever created as it is full of poems that is not only about skeletons and jack o-lanterns, but also has poems about demons, murderous icicles, crawlers and fiends!  Now you know you have definitely stumbled upon a Halloween ABC book that is like no other!  Eve Merriam’s poetic writing is truly effective and haunting at the same time as each letter of the alphabet describes a certain creature representing Halloween in an extremely creepy way.  Lane Smith’s illustrations are truly more haunting in this book than in his other books as there are many images of monsters looking at the audience in a way that makes you just tingle with fright.  One of the scariest images in this book is an image of a boy wearing a huge yellow scary looking mask underneath the “mask” poem where the mask seems to have devil horns on its head and is huge and intimidating.


Now let me tell you about why this book is one of the most banned books in the history of children’s history.  There are many reasons why this book was being continually banned in many schools and one of the reasons why this book was banned was because of one poem called “Icicle,” which I will now recite:


An icy stabbing so swiftly done,
The victim scarcely felt it.
The police are baffled:
“Where’s the weapon?”
The sun shines down to melt it.”


In other words, this poem is implying that an icicle can be used as a murder weapon.  Pretty intense for a children’s book, right?  Another reason why this book was banned was because of the fact that this book mentions devils; Satan and Lucifer in the poem “Demon” and that might offend some of the religious audience.


Overall, “Halloween ABC” is a terrific book about exploring Halloween, but it all depends if you enjoy Halloween or not.


If you do not like Halloween, mark A) for not worth reading or,
If you do like Halloween and you love reading about banned books, then mark B) for worth reading!


I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since there are many mature themes in this book that younger children might not understand. 


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog