The Mark Blog

Boo! Mark: The PEN Staff Picks Their Favorite Scary Lit

Oh, the horror! The PEN staff picks the stories and poems that have kept them up all night. Click on the pictures of PEN staff members in their best Halloween getups and get ready to be terrified. Happy Halloween!

Libby "Loathsome" Flores
"Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" by Joyce Carol Oates
“ARNOLD FRIEND! This is a nightmare scenario. Like the “Misfit,” Friend is one of the most memorable fictional predators I have ever read. Note: Never read this in an empty house.”

Grant “The Ghoul” Hutchins
"Game" by Donald Barthelme
“I chose this story for its claustrophobic sense of doom. Barthelme explores the circumstances and contingencies that undergird human violence.”

Daniel “Demonic” Lisi
"The Call of C’Thulhu" by H.P. Lovecraft
“I don’t typically get scared by horror stories. H.P. Lovecraft uses enough detail for your brain to fill in the gaps.”

Michelle “Malevolent” Meyering
"Batty" by Shel Silverstein
"What's scarier than the dark? The light!"


Lilliam “Lucifer” Rivera
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
"Missing limbs and a hideous smell. That’s all I need to be completely freaked out by this particular scene in the book."

Adam “Afraid” Somers
Christine by Stephen King
“If you are into cars—this is scary.” *Note on picture: “When I was eighteen. I wanted to go as a car, but it didn't quite work out.”

Stacy “Stone-Cold” Valis
"The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe
“This story has continuously scared me since eighth grade.”