7 Stories for the Season

Hello, hello! How is everyone doing this lovely October day? It’s that scary time of year where people normally start decorating with spider webs and carved pumpkins in preparation to hand out candy to appease all of the little ghosts and goblins. Unfortunately, Covid is dampening this year’s Halloween spirit, but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate. You can always watch scary or corny movies. You can still decorate to your heart’s content as well. And now is as good a time as any to read (or reread) some scary stories. So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite short stories with you today.

1. “Strawberry Spring” by Stephen King. Of course King would be on my list, so I might as well start there. This particular story is in the collection Night Shift. What’s not to love about a serial killer story? But really, you can’t go wrong with any of King’s short stories.

2. “The Colour Out of Space” by H.P. Lovecraft. This is one of the few stories that kept me up at night and I have no idea why. It’s just one of those creepy stories that gets inside your head. It can be found in a number of Lovecraft collections or you can read it here. And yes, I acknowledge he was a racist. I don’t have to like a person or agree with them to enjoy their work.

3. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Because who doesn’t love a slow descent into madness? If you’ve taken any college level English courses, you’ve probably read this, but it’s always worth another look. It can be found in a bunch of collections or here on the Project Gutenberg website.

4. “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. This is another you’ve probably read if you did your English homework, but I still love it. The story of a creepy recluse is always intriguing. You can find it in loads of collections and if you Google it, the whole text usually pops up in at least one public lesson plan.

5. “Berenice” by Edgar Allan Poe. Pretty much any Poe story fits the season, but the one that creeps me out the most is this one. Why? Because teeth freak me out. Of all the things to be obsessed with, I just don’t understand why anyone would fixate on teeth. But I digress. If you have a collection of Poe, it’s probably in there. If not, you can read it here.

6. “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” by Neil Gaiman. This is a weird and cute story that’s pretty predictable, but still fun. It was published in the anthology Impossible Monsters (edited by Kasey Lansdale), but you can listen to Gaiman read it here if you have 10 minutes to spare.

7. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. It’s not scary like the usual horror story, but it’s terrifying because it’s not a particularly far-fetched idea. This could happen because people suck. It has happened in the past in various ways. It’s basically ritual sacrifice without the whole appeasing a god angle (at least from what I remember). Stuff like this happens and that’s terrifying. You can find this one in a bunch of anthologies and it’s usually around online if you Google it.

I could keep going, but I think I’ll save some for another time. What are some of your favorite scary or creepy short stories? How about corny Halloween short stories? As always, feel free to share your lists or comments or thoughts here or on my social media pages!

Halloween Movies

Howdy, howdy!  Since Halloween is only a week and a day away (wow!), I thought I would take the chance to share some of my favorite Halloween-ish movies with you.  I’m not really a movie person, so you’ll notice that they’re all super old (like 1995 or older) and none of them are scary.  Don’t get me wrong.  Scary movies are fine, but I’d rather be laughing at something meant to be stupid/funny than rolling my eyes at people who keep making stupid choices and dying.  If I’m going to spend time watching something, I want to be entertained.  Anyway, here are five movies/specials I enjoy around this time of year.  In no particular order.

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1. Hocus Pocus.  It’s funny and a good waste of an hour and a half.  Granted, I haven’t watched it in about ten years, but my tastes haven’t changed that much.  I’m just too lazy to record it when it’s on.  If it were on Netflix or Hulu, I’d rewatch it in a heartbeat.  Alas, if I want it commercial-free, I’d have to pay and I’m too cheap to do that for something I’ve already seen.  But it’s cute and a little creepy if you have your mind in the gutter.  If you haven’t seen it, find it.

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2. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  I know it’s only a TV special, but I’m still counting it.  Dad and I watch it every year and probably will until they decide to stop airing it or until we die.  Whichever comes first.  I mean, who doesn’t love Peanuts?  I don’t care what anyone says, the “I got a rock” bit is never not funny.  It’s a half hour out of your life.  Sit down and watch it.

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3. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure.  I haven’t seen this one since I was a kid because they decided to stop airing it.  I don’t know why.  It’s one of the few TV specials that I still think about every year, but I haven’t been able to find it (crap quality bootleg versions don’t count).  Although, Google says Amazon Prime has it.  I don’t have have that particular service, nor do I want it, but if you do, go check it out.  It’s a half hour of giggles.

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4. Casper.  I know, I know.  It’s a dorky choice, but I enjoy it.  Yes, I realize it’s a childhood nostalgia trap where the movie might actually suck, but I don’t care.  I’d still watch it again if I could find it.  It’s been a while (10+ years) since I’ve seen it all the way through.  And since it appears Starz currently has it, I won’t be catching it any time soon.  But it’s a fun waste of two hours.  Especially if you’re into ’90s teen dramedies.

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5. The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Or pretty much any Tim Burton film.  Beetlejuice, The Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands.  The list goes on and on.  But if you grew up in the ’90s, The Nightmare Before Christmas is probably the one you have a soft spot for.  After all, we liked it before it was cool.

What about you?  What are some of your favorite Halloween movies?  Do you prefer old or new?  Funny or scary?  Feel free to share your list here or on my social media pages!

Growing Up Cripple: Halloween Edition

Hi all!  I had no idea what to talk about today, so I was chatting with a friend when she asked what my first Halloween costume was.  Honestly, I have no idea what my first one was, but I have had some pretty cool ones since then!  Thus, since it’s October, today I will ramble a little about costumes/Halloween and how the whole crippleness thing plays into that (or doesn’t).

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How about both?

Personally, I love the idea of dressing up as someone you’re not and getting to be a superhero or a ghoul or whatever for a little while.  I always have.  It’s fun.  And it’s probably the reason why I like cosplayers so much.  What’s not to love?  Plus, on Halloween, free candy is involved!

Some people might wonder how Halloween is different for people in wheelchairs.  Does the chair affect the costume choice?  Does it inhibit where you do your trick or treating?  What about haunted houses?  For me, the general reply is that it doesn’t make much of a difference to me.  Depending on what I wanted to be any particular year, I chose whether or not to include the chair in the costume.  Yeah, I couldn’t get up some driveways, but that’s what siblings and friends are for (someone to lug your bag of loot up to the door and point you out so you get candy regardless).  I’ve never been a fan of haunted houses, but you can usually find accessible ones if you look hard enough.  It’s all about what the cripple person is willing to try.

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Sister, Mom, and I.

My favorite part of Halloween was always the costumes (though the candy was a definite close second).  When I was really little (like five and under), I could walk holding onto things and I could be carried, so for the first few years, a chair didn’t play too much of a role in choosing what to dress up as.  In fact, even once I was wheelchair bound, it took me a while to realize the chair could be part of the costume!  I honestly don’t recall many of the non-chair outfits aside from the tiger above (I was freakin’ adorable once upon a time) and being the pink Power Ranger (yes, I was one of those children).

Once I started wanting to include the chair in my costumes, things got a little weird.  I remember being a zombie truck driver one year (before zombies were cool) and having the cab of an eighteen wheeler built around my chair.  I don’t have any pictures of that one.  Another year, I was a hippie in a VW Bug (seen below).  I’m sure I was a lot of other great stuff, but I can’t remember what.

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Hippie, not hipster.

Anyway, being cripple doesn’t have to make something like Halloween difficult.  Especially if you’re surrounded by creative people, which both of my parents were.  Mom was the artist and Dad is the craftsman.  Hell, even to this day, I plot out costumes and different things the chair could be!  The only reason I don’t pester Dad with the technical parts is because I don’t know any seamstresses to help me with the outfit parts.  I’m sorry, a steampunk chair needs a matching outfit or there’s no point to it.

So, what are you doing for Halloween?