In another life, I was an elementary school teacher, which meant nearly every holiday was a par-tay. Valentine’s Day parties were the most stressful, because, as a teacher, you really had to sit on the “who likes whom” bit and keep it all nice and friendly. Christmas was nice, but the overabundance of cookies was a little much. The party that hit the perfect spot (besides the end of school party) was Halloween.
Between the Halloween-themed worksheets, coloring sheets, Halloween parade and Charlie Brown, the whole day was a whirlwind of costumes and candy. The best part for me, and I hope the class, was when I read from Scary Stories to Read in the Dark. First of all, take a look at this cover. It’s the stuff of nightmares, sorry. I’d keep the book face down on the desk if I had a softcover, and remove the dustjacket if I were using a hardcover that year.
Note. Yes, I do write about zombies, but only before 2 pm. I’ll tell you a little story – when I was editing Loving Among the Dead, my first zombie book, I stayed up late at night, making sure everything was super scary and ended up giving myself nightmares! So now, yeah, early afternoon is as far as I”ll go with working, watching or reading scary stuff!
Back to the the main story. There is a story in the book called “The Big Toe” and it ends with a jump scare. The story goes like this: A boy digs in the garden and finds a big toe. He takes it to his father and the father cuts the toe up into three pieces so the family can have something to eat. Later in the evening, a voice comes ’round saying “Who’s got my toooooooe? Who’s got my tooooooooe?”
I would walk around the classroom repeating Who’s got my toooooooe? in a spooky voice until I jumped at one child and yell: “YOU’VE GOT IT!” The resounding screams, well, now I know a little of how satisfied Alfred Hitchcock felt when audience screamed during the shower scene in Psycho.
So, pick up the book. There are three of them, but the first one has the best stories and weirdest drawings. Like this one: