Halloween Frights

Josie Leavitt - September 28, 2010

Halloween is actually sooner than we think and this year my goal is to prepared for our spooky story hour.
Last year, we had a great spooky stories for Halloween that we planned exactly one day before the event. I found myself scouring the Halloween bins looking for “scary things.” It’s amazing what I could do with discounted six-inch plastic spiders and some fishing wire. Our event space has several metal rods that support the building and are great places to loop massive spiders on fishing wire. During the readings, I was poised in the loft space above the listeners slowly moving the massive spiders up and down. It’s a simple effect, but to this day, kids still talk about the spiders that moved up and down according to the story.
I had a can of silly string and a scary-voiced disembodied head that was too frightening to have out, but worked well from above. My role for this was to strategically scare the kids with as many unseen effects I could find. It was fun, and it was planned in about a day. This year, I’m planning now. A full month ahead for the me is like six months to other people. I am planning to go to the party supply store over the weekend and I imagine a bonanza of seasonally appropriate items. No 75% off skulls that made noise when hit the right way, but actual scary things that make noise when you press the button. I can’t wait to stock up on really scary things that work.
It’s funny — generally, I hate Halloween. I don’t like dressing up in costume, but I do like scaring people, especially little kids who still believe in magic. We’ve got some scary stories lined up, although last year the ones that worked the best were people’s real ghost stories. I must say, there’s nothingĀ  as satisfying as scaring kids who think they’re too old or too cool to be scared. There’s nothing more fun than making the a room full of kids squeal in fright with a well-placed ghost voice booing from above.
I need to not be TOO scary though; one boy got so freaked out by last year’s giant spiders that we haven’t seen him since.

4 thoughts on “Halloween Frights

  1. Elizabeth Bluemle

    Every year during our Halloween story times, I read John Ciardi’s poem, “What Night Would It Be?” from his marvelous book, YOU READ TO ME, I’LL READ TO YOU (still in print! 0064460606). I remember helping my mother scare a group of children with that poem at the Scottsdale Public Library when I was about eight years old, hiding under a black cloth and popping out at the last line, shouting “BOO!” It was great. We loved that book, by the way, and What Night is the only Halloween poem in it. Edward Gorey did the illustrations. As the New York Times review said of it, back when it was published, “Every single poem and drawing is superior. A perfect book for every parent and child.”–“The New York Times”

  2. Karen

    Dry ice and a crockpot can be used to create a terrific foggy atmosphere if you can place it out of reach of inquisitive kids. Phillip Pullman has written some truly terrifiying stuff for a slightly older crowd – Clockwork gave me the creeps!

  3. Pingback: Spooky Story Hour Recap « ShelfTalker

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