I made the mistake of readings these books as a kid. I stayed awake hoping no monsters would pop out of the dark corners of my bedroom. I buried myself under my bed covers every time I heard any suspicious noises. I would think of the worst when it’s only the creaky house foundation. All of this panic thanks to Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories collection. As I grew older, I came to love those stories even though they still gave me the chills.
The creepiest stories for me were:
1. The Hook
A young couple hanging out at Lovers’ Lane learns a mental patient armed with a hook has escaped from the local insane asylum. Worried about the crazy escapee, the couple returned to town safely but they discover a bloody hook attached to their car door.
2. Scarecrow (or Harold)
Two mischievous boys, Josh and Harold, steal an old farmer’s prized pumpkin-headed scarecrow. Later on, the boys throw the scarecrow in the trash, smashing the pumpkin head in the process. The scarecrow attack the boys in the middle of the night. It chases Josh down a road wearing Harold’s head. The old farmer doesn’t bother to help.
3. The Babysitter
A babysitter receives strange calls from a man reminding her to check on the kids. She calls the police and they warn her the caller is calling from the house. The babysitter barely escapes the house with the man after her. The police arrive, the children are found safe hidden in a closet, and an ax is found by the upstairs telephone.
4. The Bride
A newly wedded couple play hide and seek during their wedding reception. The groom finds everybody except for the bride. Thinking the bride caught a case of cold feet, the groom moved on with his life without her. Years later, the bride was found dead in a trunk. She had accidentally locked herself inside.
Got the chills yet? Simply typing this down feels like an ice demon blowing cold wind down my spine. You can go to scaryforkids if you want to read more scary stories from Schwartz online. The stories on the site come from his collections:
- Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark (Amazon) (Goodreads)
- More Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark (Amazon) (Goodreads)
- Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones (Amazon) (Goodreads)
Did you know parents had these books were banned at one part of time due to its creep factor and freaky illustrations? One couple believed it glorified satanism and cannibalism (yikes!). More details about the ban in this Chicago Tribune article.
Alvin Schwartz’s stories were scary but scary good! If you have nothing else to do on Halloween besides stuffing your face with trick-or-treat candy, read these stories. They will certainly heighten your Halloween night. Actually, they’re great to read any time of the year! From my own personal experience, I have to warn you: be prepared. I wouldn’t recommend reading these books in the dark.