October is the perfect month to settle down with a spooky tale or two. One of my favorite creepy stories is The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste. Corinne La Mer isn't afraid of the jumbies; she doesn't even believe in them. On All Hallow's Eve she chases an agouti into the woods, exactly where she was told not to go. She feels something watching her as she walks back home. It couldn't be a jumbie, could it?
The next day a beautiful new woman, Severine, is seen in the market talking with the town witch. Corinne has a bad feeling about this woman, especially when Severine starts spending time around Corinne's father. Corinne needs to find a way to protect her father, her friends, and her village from this unknown woman.
I love stories with a fairytale or folktale influence, and The Jumbies introduced me to a whole new area of folklore that I knew nothing about. This book is edge-of-your-seat creepy, so be sure to read it with the lights on.
Looking for a great spine tingling read? This book has it! It is told through the eyes of Diana, a girl that lives in a creepy old mansion with her brother Georgie. A new caretaker moves in with his daughter and Diana is thrilled to see another girl about her own age. Mary Downing Hahn is a wonderful writer who is amazing at setting the scene for a creepy good read. This book is filled with plot twists and great characters. This is definitely NOT a book to read before going to bed unless you want to sleep with the lights on!
Winifred Schnitzel is not afraid of monsters. In fact, she loves ghouls, werewolves, and everything else that is scary. When all the neighborhood monsters show up around her bed at night, she doesn’t mind because they are cute. The problem with the monsters is they will not let Winifred sleep. She constructs all sorts of different traps to keep them away, but nothing works. One night in her sleep, she accidentally gives a monster a kiss. It turns out the one thing monsters hate more than anything else is kissing!
I love this time of year…when the dry leaves skitter across the road, pumpkins glow orange, and the evenings come quickly. It’s a perfect time for storytelling, especially scary storytelling. If someone comes into the Youth Services Department looking for short, spooky, and funny stories to tell young children, I suggest the perfect book: Scared Witless: Thirteen Eerie Tales to Tell. Scared Witless has thirteen wonderful, short, and scary stories to share. In fact, after each story, the book’s authors give tips on how to tell the tales (use of props, voices, emphasis etc.).
My personal favorite is the retelling of “The Red Satin Ribbon.” In this story, a young couple falls in love and marries. The wife always wears a red satin ribbon around her neck, and whenever the young man asks about it, she answers coyly, “Oh, I’ll tell you later.” Year after year, he asks about his wife removing the red satin ribbon. She puts him off. Finally, after 80 years of marriage, the husband demands that he MUST know why his wife wears the ribbon and why she won’t remove it. The husband finally gets the answer to his question. I won’t tell what it is, but it is spooky and fun. Other great stories in this collection include: “The Hairy Toe,” “The Coffin that Wouldn’t Stop” and “The Girl Who Scared Herself.” This collection is highly recommended for light chills and thrills. It is perfect for sharing with children who are elementary-middle school aged.