Children all over are conjuring up ghoulish thoughts and putting them down on paper in ghost stories, poems, journals and other writing projects.
Creative writing students at Washington's Fillmore Arts Center, 35th and S Sts. NW., an arts complex for five other D.C. public schools -- Hardy Middle, Mann, Stoddert, Hyde and Key schools -- came up with a collection, "School Ghouls: Rated H for Halloween (Children's Discretion Advised)," with some prompting from teacher Laurie Stroblas.
Their views of Halloween are wide-ranging, from an eighth grader's frolicking ode to a Snickers bar to a sixth grader's sobering meditation on the specter of poisoned candy, and apples stuck with pins and needles.
Two samples of their works, printed as they were written, with the students' own spellings and punctuation: SIX WAYS OF LOOKING AT A PUMPKIN
(After Wallace Stevens' poem, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird")
1. The orange pumpkin sat in the window sill
with the eerie night's wind
blowing through its stem,
like a baby waiting to be born.
2. The orange pumpkin sits on the floor,
and contemplates its fate.
The orange pumpkin sees the knife
The knife of life and death.
3. There is blackness in the mountain cabin,
inside the realm of the pumpkin.
The blade goes in and stifles a scream
A scream of great beginning.
4. The boy was in the living room,
staring blank into the Jack-o'-Lantern's eyes
The Jack-o'-Lantern mocked the boy,
Mocked him with its total omniscience.
5. Oh carvers of gut and seed --
do you not see the light?
The light of the everlasting darkness
That belongs to the eye of the pumpkin.
6. The Jack-o'-Lantern flickers knowingly in the night
It knows this is its final stand.
For all the power,
and all the knowledge,
Will not rekindle the ancient flame,
that burned within its inners.
-- Daniel Ragussis
7th grade, Hardy Middle School HALLWEEN NIGHT
H Howl said the Owl.
A A scare said the bear.
L Leen said the bean.
L Light said the night.
W We like it said all the pumpkins.
E E fool said the gool.
E En sight said the light.
N Neen said the bean.
N New said the gew.
I Its a fright said the light.
G Gee said the bee.
H Ha said pa.
T Tee time said the bee pine.
-- Meredith Cooley
3rd Grade, Mann School