Tag Archives: horror

What’s Your Favorite Part of Halloween?

shutterstock_70173520Living in Southern California my entire life, I can say I’ve never experienced a true Fall Halloween. Most of my Halloween memories come on hot nights staying out late trick or treating. We would usually go with a few kids from the street and all make our way around the entire neighborhood, covering parts that we had never been to before and haven’t been since. Halloween night was that one magical time when you could be guided by your parents to the farthest reaches of the neighborhood. What lies around the next corner? How many porch lights are on on this street? The excitement that comes with roaming round your neighborhood, knocking on doors and getting free candy is a rush that is unmatched with anything else in life. It is the greatest sense of adventure any kid can have.

Now that I can no longer trick or treat myself, decorating is my favorite part of Halloween. I enjoy making a home as frighteningly fun as possible. It’s always great to add to a kids’ Halloween night adventure by providing a memorable, spooky setting in which to trick or treat.

As I said earlier, living in Southern California my entire life, I’ve always longed for the picturesque Halloween atmosphere: Brown trees, falling leaves, Halloween carnivals and pumpkin patches. This is why another one of my favorite parts of Halloween is watching as many Halloween related movies and TV shows as possible. There’s something special about Halloween episodes of TV shows or movies taking place on a chilly Halloween night. I find the atmosphere enthralling and inspiring, which is why I primarily like to write Halloween stories. I get to live in Halloween land all year long!

Now I ask you, fellow Halloween fan. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Trick or Treat: The History of Halloween!

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.

Interested in going deeper and learning more about Halloween? I strongly recommend this Book: Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton
http://www.amazon.com/Trick-Treat-A-History-Halloween/dp/1780230478

New Halloween Novelette Release

NEW RELEASE: The Haunted House of John Price
Buy it now for your Kindle for only .99!

*WARNING: Not for kids!*

Don’t have a Kindle? Download the FREE Kindle app for your PC, iPad, iPhone or Android phone and read right from your device!

Please review after you have read!!

http://www.amazon.com/Haunted-House-John-Price-ebook/dp/B009S2GW7Q/ref=la_B009SE8U8I_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350519491&sr=1-1

Fantastic Adventure #9: Goosebumps

The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine premiered twenty years ago. After an initial run of 62 books in the 1990s, the series has seen many revivals and is still in print, the latest series being named Goosebumps Hall of Horrors. No matter which series you choose, the thrills and chills are timeless. Perhaps the best part of the series is that each book is completely different. One may have a zombie theme, another may be centered around Egyptian mummies, or you may have a story about ghosts and monsters. This is very helpful in that your kid can decide which stories he likes to read. He may not enjoy ghost stories, but monsters and mummies are cool. Or perhaps Joey likes talking ventriloquist dummies, but Sarah likes ancient Egypt. No problem! There is definitely a story to please everyone.

Why it is a fantastic adventure: To start off, the first thing your child will notice is the cover. When I was a kid, I chose which Goosebumps books to read just by the cover. The artwork is fantastically creepy in a kid-friendly way, and will draw your child into the story by immediately giving him or her a visual reference for the book. This is important as it is a good way to get your kids to start appreciating drawings, and to use those drawings as a springboard to visualize the rest of the book.
All of these books are based off one simple premise: fear of the unknown. Most stories are in the POV of the kids, and the evil entity is usually shrouded in mystery until the last few pages. This sense of mystery and excitement is crucial to developing the imagination of your children. When there is an unknown, a child’s mind will immediately start deducing what or who the unknown could be (which also builds logic), and the mind starts creating those solutions. All of this brain activity helps to foster your child’s creativity and develop it in a safe environment.
The stories in these books are a little basic for adults, but still interesting enough that you will enjoy reading them to your kids (if they let you). The thrill of finding out what they twist is going to be at the end will keep your kid flipping the pages until the book is over. With over 100 old and current Goosebumps books out there to choose from, your kids will always have something else to read. Once you discover what type of stories your kid likes, it is a good idea to buy several in advance that are similar in tone, because sometimes it only takes a few hours to finish one of these books, especially if your kid is using his or her creative brain power.
These books will be more fun and scary for your kids then any other book in its genre. Your kids will not get enough, and it will encourage them to read.
R.L. Stine has created a world where scaring children is fun and acceptable. Any of his Goosebumps are perfectly safe. In a world where what is acceptable for kids is quickly eroding, it is nice to have such a large collection of spooky stories to fall back on.

Check out www.scholastic.com/goosebumps for recent releases and fun games for your kids!
www.rlstine.com for a complete list of all of his spooky works for kids.