People who celebrate and enjoy Halloween tend to be one of two types, sometimes a little of both: The Frighteners, and The Frightened.
I've always been one of the frightened. Happily frightened. Scary costumes, great on other people but never my choice. I like to dress up as the cute, non-threatening characters, most often a tiny forest animal most likely to scamper away at first sign of trouble. In childhood, I was usually a bunny. I never wanted to scare anyone. I wanted to be scared! Vampires, are you out there? Werewolves, ghosts, zombies? Yikes! There's something so wonderfully fun about being frightened. Your heart races, your knees get weak, and there's that genuine moment of "Oh no! What's going to happen?" It's the one day a year I can really let go and feel out of control.
Frighteners, on the other hand, enjoy driving the action. My sisters were always witches on Halloween (so fitting). Frighteners enjoy watching others react to their temporary villainy. They're emboldened by the change, and why not? It's fun to imagine being something different and new, dressing up, behaving out of character.
Halloween is the one holiday that is pretty much the same for children and for adults. We're all looking to scare or be scared. And of course, there's candy. What's not to love?
Perhaps my love of Halloween has something to do with why I write, and what I write, and my reading choices. Ghouls can wreak havoc on the page all year round, and the drama always runs high. Grave Expectations (Gallery Books 2011) and Jane Slayre (Gallery Books, 2010) feature vampires, werewolves, and zombies (oh my!). Are you a fan of Halloween? Do you like to be a Frightener or do you prefer to be one of the Frightened?
Sherri Browning Erwin's Top Five Halloween Reads:
1) Dracula by Bram Stoker. The classic that introduced Count Dracula, and set the standard in vampire lore.
2) Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. A classic tale of good vs. evil, with a spooky carnival and witchery for good measure.
3) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. One of my favorite books (the first one, part of a series, but the sequels haven't lived up to the original). Touching, funny, sad, with a creep factor that makes Halloween the perfect time to read.
4) Salem's Lot by Stephen King. King is a master at chills and thrills, and the vampires of Salem's Lot raise the bar from Stoker's Dracula.
5) The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. A study in good old-fashioned psychological terror.
Sherri is the author of several books.:
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