I love Halloween. Not for the candy, not even for the costumes unless they're original, but for the stories.
All last week and all this week, I've been telling scary stories, ranging from the funny-scary Ghost with the one black eye to Mary Culhane and the dead man. I tell these all year, but they're even more welcome in the fall.
I'm careful about what I tell--I'll do the funny-scary stories for all ages, but the really scary ones are only for older kids and adults, unless I've given plenty of disclaimers. Last weekend I performed at the annual scary story concert in Salina, KS (outdoors, brrr!). I like the way this is set up: gentle stories for the younger kids, then a break so the tinies can go home. The last set of creepy stories are only for the brave. I don't want to give small children nightmares. The older kids demand to be scared.
Now for the confession: I get scared easily. I don't like to listen to scary stories, but I like to tell them. When I'm telling them, I'm in charge and I know how the story ends. I've come to love looking for scary stories, anticipating how the listeners will react.
Off to Jefferson Elementary in Iola, where I start with fourth graders (9-year-olds). I think I'll try a moderately scary one with them.