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Just in Time for Halloween!

by Miriam Downey 31. October 2012 17:38


Last week I spent a few days visiting a friend in Tarrytown, New York, a beautiful little town on the Hudson River. Tarrytown is neighbor to another beautiful little town, Sleepy Hollow. Between the two towns, they have a monopoly on festivities connected with Halloween and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow  by Washington Irving, their most famous resident.

Washingon Irving lived from 1783 to 1859 on a beautiful farm in the Sleepy Hollow area. His home, Sunnyside, is open to the public. He was America's first best-selling author and is known for his short stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

While in Tarrytown, I went to the Old Dutch Church one dark October evening to hear a storyteller retell The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The church had an old reed organ and was lit by candlelight. The organ played eerie music as the story teller set the mood by telling some of the legends that had formed the basis for the story of Ichabod Crane and the headless horseman, and then he brilliantly told The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was an incredible experience.

It made me think about the classic American short stories that are appropriate for dark October nights when people are inclined to think about scary things. These stories, appropriate for high school students, form the basis of much of American literature, and luckily for us, most all of them are available to download or read on the Internet.

So, for our scary approval, here is a list of classic American scary stories. Just a reminder: these are appropriate for teenagers.


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. (Actually all of his stories are scary.)

The Ghost Story by Mark Twain

For added enjoyment, here are a few British scary stories.

The Bottle Imp by Robert Lewis Stevenson

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Door in the Wall by H.G. Wells

Have a great scary time!

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