I. Love. Halloween.
It’s no secret—I love putting together costumes, I love dressing up, and I like going out. So of course I would enjoy any activity that allows me to do all three, and even encourages me to take candy from complete strangers! Plus, by the end of October the hellscape of Phoenix has finally cooled down enough to allow me to wander around outside in heavy costumes for more than a few minutes without dying of exposure (something Phoenix Comicon, unfortunately, doesn’t allow for as it occurs in the middle of the summer).
Besides going out in costume and buying copious amount of candy (that I’m totally going to hand out to Trick-or-Treaters, no really), one of my favorite Halloween activities is reading scary stories. As an adult, I typically lurk the annals of r/nosleep and r/creepypasta. I’ll also haunt Cracked’s October spook articles about true urban legends. I’ll watch horror movies on Netflix—the good and the bad. I’ll watch gamers play through scary games like Silent Hill and Fatal Frame on Twitch.
However, I didn’t have access to these as a child. Twitch, Cracked, Netflix, Reddit—none of these existed yet. Besides an original Game Boy, I had no way of playing spooky games at home. I doubt my mom would have let me play them anyway, since I wasn’t even allowed to see anything rated “PG-13” and above. So how was creepy, awkward, eight-year-old me supposed to get her horror fix?
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Other folks raised in the '90s will recognize this title, and the series it spawned: More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones. Like Goosebumps and Bunnicula, Scary Stories was one of the few places children could get creeped out with parental permission. But unlike Goosebumps and Bunnicula, Scary Stories was legitimately frightening.
But not necessarily because of the content... No, Scary Stories had something the other scary children’s books didn’t have: truly horrific art.
Those eyes... Why?
I don't... I can't even... That doesn't have anything to do with the story "Oh Susanna!"
I don’t know who approved these pictures to go into a book approved for children, but I loved every page of them. Some of them even gave me nightmares.
It’s been a while since I’ve gone through the pages of these delightful books (and yes, I still own all three), so I think it’s about time I tried reading them again. It’ll probably take me an afternoon (or an evening) to hash out all three. Maybe I'll do it in the dark of my room, using a flashlight like in the old days.
Until next time...