This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated for purchased made through those links at no additional cost to you. All views expressed are my own. Thank you for your support!
Question: Do you like being scared? Maybe not in an actual scary situation but the thrill of a scary movie or a ghost story around the campfire. If you answered "Yes!" then I have the book for you.
It's not a new book, but a classic children's books with stories scary enough to get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up, but still have a peaceful sleep afterwards. Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz is the book you need. Not only are the stories spine-tingling but the illustrations add to the creepy sensation. Stephen Gammell's illustrations in the original editions are perfect. How else can I describe them? The fact that they're only in black and white and are realistic but also dreamlike nature to them, adds so fully to the readers experience. This is a book you have to physically read and enjoy for that reason.
In the forward, Mr Schwartz encourages the readers to use these stories as campfire stories and that's what I do. There are actually 3 different volumes of Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark, (though my edition is a brand new one with all 3 included in one book and all the original illustrations), but my go-to campfire story from these books is the first story in the first volume. The Big Toe is a story of a boy who finds a big toe out in his garden, with great effort he plucks it from the ground and his mother puts it in a stew that his family eats for dinner. All is well until the boy hears some one in the distance looking for their stolen toe...! I choose this for the campfire because I usually have little children at campfires with me and it's scary enough to cause a jump scare but also absurd and silly enough to not frighten them to the point of tears. And really my little synopsis above doesn't do it justice. You must read the story to find out what happens!
There are scarier stories included in the volumes as well, but since it is a book for children (8-12), it's pretty mild. And if these illustrations are a bit too scary for you, there are newer editions out with new illustrations by Brett Helquist that aren't quite as chilling as Gammell's.
And if you are wanting to share "scary" stories with younger kids, may I suggest another compilation by Alvin Schwartz (and an Easy Reader) In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories. This book has silly, scary poems and the ever popular story of the Girl with The Green Ribbon. I won't tell you the story here, you have to read it. It's a tragic love tale filled with mystery and intrigue, but also appropriate for your kindergartener.
You may have heard of this book recently because there is a movie coming out based on the first volume! We are so excited and you know we'll be doing a podcast episode on it this fall. So you for sure want to read the book so you can be caught up when the episode comes out. If you'd like to stay up to date on all our podcast news (yes it was on hiatus while I recovered from a back injury but not it's coming back) sign up for our Newsletter below! You will not regret it!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!