Halloween is the ultimate story time! There’s an abundance of fabulous spooky fare for all ages — from pop-ups for the very youngest (like Reading RoosterTM‘s pick from this week, which is Marcia Vaughn’s Five Pesky Pumpkins: A Counting Book with Flaps and Pop-Ups!), to Alvin Schwartz’ easy reader In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories to just about anything by Edgar Allan Poe (try Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe).
Also, there’s free Poe to be found at www.dailylit.com, delivered in neat, creepy installments to your e-mail inbox. It’s scarier than spam!)
But as great as a scary book or story can be, hearing a yarn spun by an accomplished storyteller, with the requisite sound effects, can considerably enliven the experience. And as you’ll see about The Shadow, it doesn’t get any better than returning to the days of radio theater to get jumpy jollies for the whole family. Consider the picks below to help perk up your family’s Halloween.
- The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything Book and CD (Share a Story) – This is a great follow-along story by Linda Williams, perfectly narrated for preschoolers. Teachers, this is great to share at school.
- Ghosthunters and the Muddy Monster of Doom!: Ghosthunters #4 (Ghosthunters) – Just one in Cornelia Funke’s extremely popular Ghosthunters series, and just right for the elementary school crowd. Unlike some spooky series, Funke’s books still seem original, humorous and not over-processed or objectionably scary or gory. And the narration by John Beach, “the voice of Nickelodeon,” will be funny and familiar to many kids.
- The Shadow (3-Hour Collectors’ Editions) (3-Hour Collectors’ Editions) – “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows…” Whether you’re of the age to recall these famous lines or not, you really must meet radio series suspense star Lamont Cranston, aka The Shadow. You can find different compilations, but this is a choice one: it features 18 of the original shows including The Tomb of Terror starring Orson Welles and Margot Stevenson, from 1938, and 1940’s The Oracle of Death. Definitely shivery fare but so much more fun while speeding down a dark two-lane highway than a flickering yellow Sponge Bob DVD, right?
And if your family really gets into the radio theater serials, you can try others like the many volumes of The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas: Collection 1 (Twilight Zone). (But you may want to screen them first — some episodes are pretty scary!)
I’d love to hear your personal or family favorites!