Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Frights!

by Swagger Writers

It's Halloween week! Time to frighten ourselves silly. Add your favorites to our mix.

Rich Wallace...

My favorite scary story is definitely The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Perfect mix of humor and real fright.
The TV show Sleepy Hollow features lots of sinister Headless Horseman.

When I was little I loved to stay up really late and watch old Boris Karloff movies on TV with my oldest brother, Bobby. Dracula and Frankenstein were the best.

My favorite scary place is the Wyman Tavern right up the block from where we live in Keene, NH. It was built before the Revolutionary War and functioned as a tavern for several decades, then was in the hands of only two or three families for about 200 years. The Cheshire County Historical Society took it over and brought back all the original charms. We go to talks and other events there all the time, and a while back a staff member let us roam the basement and the attic. I set one of the creepy stories in Wicked Cruel in there. I don't know if the place is really haunted, but it should be.
The Wyman Tavern, Keene, NH
Wyman Tavern in Keen, NH

Graziella Pacini Buonanno...

[Who happens to live in Sleepy Hollow, NY.] I would have to say The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is my favorite scary story. I can see the bridge where the Headless Horseman lobbed a pumpkin at Ichabod Crane from my house. Every year Sleepy Hollow celebrates Halloween in style with festivals, parades, and horse-drawn hayrides through the cemetery. It's a marvelous time. 
The bridge doesn't look like this anymore, and this bridge is older, but the bridge where Washington Irving's Headless Horseman liked to frequent probably looked very similar to this.

Kathy Cannon Wiechman...

I'm not a fan of slasher movies or the gory movies that pass for horror movies. I like a good scary, suspense thriller like some of the old B&W (and well before my time) flicks like GASLIGHT. What I find the scariest are the ones that are close enough to reality for the this-could-happen-to-you factor to kick in.

But I love a good ghost story. My favorite in Rich Wallace's WICKED CRUEL book was the one about Chase Tavern and Charity's ghost. A favorite from a few decades back is STONE WORDS by Pam Conrad. It's a ghost story with time travel thrown in (two of my favorite genres together).

Spookiest place from my childhood was our basement after dark. Dad had a workshop off the main room at the foot of the stairs. He had put up a grillwork wall and gate to keep the kids out, and that made it resemble a jail or...a cage. Gave me all sorts of images of wild animals or monsters I might encounter there. You had to go into the dark, spooky workshop at least five or six feet to reach the pull-string light. If you went through the workshop to the room behind it (a former coal room under the front porch), you'd find the "fruit cellar," where Mom stored canned goods until needed. So if Mom said, "Hey, Kathy, run down to the fruit cellar and get me a can of peaches," I had to screw up a whole lot of courage to complete that task. And don't even make me recall the night the light in the workshop burned out.
Kathy's childhood basement scared the snot out of her.

Scariest music is still the music from JAWS.

 Melissa Kline...

Books: I just read World War Z, which was a great book! My favorite spooky books as a kid was the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series by Alvin Schwartz, which my son currently loves! He also enjoys the Goosebumps series for kids. 

TV/Movies: The Walking Dead is my most recently watched scary TV show. I also liked the movie World War Z, although I didn't think it was half as good as the book, (isn't that the way it usually goes?) :)

Places: When I was a teenager, I was brave enough to explore an old shut down insane asylum - I'd say that was one of the scariest places I've ever been to. Alcatraz is another place that left me spooked.

Music: The eerie sounds of Trent Reznor's instrumental music always has a spooky vibe that I love. I especially enjoy listening to The Social Network soundtrack and the Ghosts I-IV album when I am writing post-apocalyptic stories. It always gets me in the perfect mood for dark writing!

Kim Van Sickler...

I will never forget how horrified I was as a sophomore in high school at the turn of events in Lord of the Flies. That book kept me up nights. In honor of Halloween this year, I read two books: Rich Wallace's Wicked Cruel and Maureen Johnson's The Madness Underneath. I love the way Rich wove urban legends into the fabric of the ordinary lives of his middle-grade characters. He made the mystical and magical seem real. And Maureen has such a gift for creating characters with attitude. Even her ghosts.

The scariest Halloween music for me, by far, is the theme music for Halloween. I know it is what makes the movie Halloween I (forget those others, number one rules) so suspenseful. Every time I watch this movie, I'm STILL on the edge of my seat.
Jamie Lee Curtis fighting for her life again and again in Halloween I.
Favorite spooky show right now is American Horror Story. Honestly, this show is so scary and graphic, I can't believe it's on television.

A week ago, a bunch of older Girl Scouts went on a late night ghost hunt at The Willoughby Coal Company, erected on the site of an old tavern, and said by ghost hunters to be the most haunted spot in Willoughby. Our ghost hunter guides put on a good show with equipment that "picked up" disembodied human voices and flashlights that turned on and off. The old building oozed history, and I loved sitting on the third-floor listening to the wind rattling the windows, and seeing how transfixed the audience was. It was good, old-fashioned fun.
A popular haunted spot in Willoughby, OH.

What are some of your favorite spooky things?