The Book that Scared Me as a Kid

When I was a young reader, say age eight or nine, I preferred books starring animals. Horses, kittens, dogs, pigs. Charlotte’s Web was probably my all-time favorite. Animal books were my thing. Scary books, not so much.

To say I was a reluctant reader when it came to scary books is an understatement. When Mom took me to the book mobile (The book mobile! *swoon*), I saw those scary Tales to Read in the Dark covers and passed them over for Where the Red Fern Grows and The Year of Living Dangerously.

Except when it came to one “scary” book.

As a kid, I loved The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Loved with a capital L.

What was the draw? The quirky description of Ichabod Crane? The strut of Brom Bones? I enjoyed those details, but what I really loved were the creepy woods, the midnight chase across the bridge, the smashed pumpkin found the next morning.

I loved the not knowing for sure. The hint of the truth. The wink of it all. I must have read that book a hundred times each Halloween.

Now I’m an adult, an avid reader and a writer with a penchant for the weird. Guess what’s on my shelf? That’s right: an illustrated edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The thrill of it still gets me all these years later*,as tame as the stories seems in today’s age of shock and gore.

I still love the woods, the chase, the wink at the end.

Wishing you and your a fun and safe Halloween!

*Note: I met a writer a couple of years ago, a vicar, who lives in Sleepy Hollow! I must have asked him a million questions, poor guy. Seeing Sleepy Hollow in person is on my To Do list.

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