It was a dark and stormy night…

Halloween is almost here and it’s one of my favorite holidays. I love this time of year when the leaves are changing and the nights are cooler. My husband and I just got back from a weekend of scare! We took four friends to the most frightening haunted house we’ve ever been to in Abington, Massachusetts. The house is a real house and the challenge is finding your way out of each room around the monsters and body parts.

On the ride up, I recommended scary movies and books to them. Here are just a few of my favorites for this time of year:

Alvin Schwartz’s children’s book series, Scary Stories, has a great variety of spooky stories that appeal to all ages. I remember reading these books when I was a kid. These short tales are perfect to share with young scouts before a campfire. They are all American folktales and include a variety of stories about vampires, werewolves, witches and ghosts.

Robert San Souci’s short story collections are also enjoyable for all ages. San Souci’s stories are more worldly and include a variety of folklore from Russia, Ireland, Canada, China, England, and the U.S. These stories are a bit longer and will appeal more to the 9-12 year old age bracket.

The Encyclopedia of Superstitions is a fun book to browse through. There’s an interesting entry about colds. There are three ways to prevent colds: standing under an oak tree in the fall and catching a leaf will prevent a cold for the next twelve months, eating cooked mice will heal a cold, and plunging a hickory stick into the ground, taking it out and blowing into the ground seven times every day for twelve days will transfer the cold into the ground. I tried the oak tree one, and am still sniffling.

New England Legends and Folklore features stories from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. These short tales are from the colonial days and date back from the Salem witchcraft days and feature black-and-white photographs to accompany the stories.

There’s a superstition section in Legendary Connecticut. Did you know there is a headless horseman from Canton? Neither did I until I read this book! In 1777, a lone Frenchman was on a mission to deliver payroll. He stopped in Canton at the Horsford Tavern for a few drinks. He slept under the stairs where the sleeping quarters were and was never seen again. On Canton’s rural roads there have been car accidents where drivers swerve into ditches to avoid the headless horseman. Have you ever seen him?

The Warner finishing their production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I give this film a viewing every October. I’m usually not a musical person, but I can’t resist Tim Curry’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter! The costumes, the music and the B-movie feel make me laugh every time.

My new favorite sci-fi television series is the BBC version of Being Human. A ghost, a vampire and a werewolf (no this is not the beginning of a joke) share an apartment together and try to get on with the world while fighting their demons. The trio of actors has great chemistry, and the storylines are believable (even if it is sci-fi).

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who will dress up as a blue Lego for Halloween.

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