Halloween, oh my, what a fright.
Who wants to fight with ghosts, goblin, ghouls and such?
Boo! Scared? Yes!
No place is safe from snakes, spiders and spooky stuff.
Right now a house seems safe enough.
Trap doors, trick rooms, old books and dead people!
The skeletons chuckle as their bones rattle.
Snakes in long halls and ghosts are coming through the walls.
Boo! I pinch myself; is this a dream?
I see a beam of light. I sprint, I dash! I burst through the door!
I’ve made it through another Halloween night!
– By Kaleb Jennings, age 14, Munford Middle SchoolCelebrity judge
This year’s Ghost Writers winners were picked by Alan Brown, a professor of history at the University of West Alabama. His many books on Southern ghosts include “Shadows and Cypress: Southern Ghost Stories”and “Ghosts Along the Mississippi River,” which was published last month.
Thanks to Quintard Mall, AmStar 12 movie theater, Anniston Museum of Natural History and Berman Museum of World History for donating prizes for our winners.
1st place: Madelynn Williams, 9, Saks Elementary
“Nightmare in Your House:” Remember when you were little and you were in bed and it was dark and you suddenly thought you saw something in the corner? “See that pile of clothes over there? It’s not really clothes.”
2nd place: Alex McFry, 16, White Plains High School
“Crash:” The high-school cross-country team is out training in the woods when their route takes them past the site of a 1943 plane crash. It’s said to be a haunted place. Maybe that’s why the relationship drama takes a sudden ugly turn.
3rd place: Sarah Abdul-Ghani, 10, The Donoho School
“Freaky Thursday:” Home alone. Friends show up at the door, but they don’t act quite right. “Is that a decoration for Halloween, or it that blood?” Wait, what was that noise downstairs?
The best of the rest...
Most ominous opening: "The clock strikes 10 and I am ready, ready to be 17 for the rest of my life.” – Jorge Martinez, 13, Oxford Middle School
Most poetic opening: “I’m sitting on my grave, watching the beautiful silver moon.” – Kimberly Brotherton, 12, Oxford Middle School
Creepiest opening: “I woke up and I was lying on a big pile of leaves. I looked all around me, and the first thing I saw was an enormous oak tree that had J H carved into the side of it. The strange thing was, those were my initials.” – Alanna Franks, 12, Oxford Middle School
Best haunted spot: "The Ladiga Bike Trail Ghost,” by Eden Bussey, 10, Coldwater Elementary
Spookiest line: “With the help of the light from a full Halloween moon, we saw a body rise up from an abandoned emergency room gurney and yell to us, ‘Stop where you are!’" – Patrick Foster, 10, Kitty Stone Elementary
Paging Alton Brown: In the story “Devil Worshiper Woods,” two boys fall into the clutches of six-armed devils, who fall to arguing over how to cook them. “So many choices … we could roll you in breadcrumbs and bake you, or marinate you and grill you.” A little voice from the crowd said, ‘I say we do both!’ So they got out two bags of breadcrumbs. They first put them in olive oil, then they rolled them in the breadcrumbs. Next, they marinated them. After that, they baked them in a giant pizza oven, and last they put them in another giant cooking thing. It looked like a grill, but it didn’t have the metal you put the steak on, it was replaced by sticks.” – Emma Norton, 10, Ranburne Elementary
Best title: “Bloody Mary and Candy Man Unite!” – Ameenah Stephens, 11, C.E. Hanna Elementary
Scariest animal: Six-headed wolf, in “Here We Go Again,” by Molly Gnagy, 13, The Donoho School.
Best reboot of a classic: "The Headless Horseman’s Daughter” (she’s a wizard horseman – not headless) – Caitlyn Caraway, 11, White Plains Middle School
Best character: Fred, a pumpkin who is afraid of Halloween. – Breanna Turner, 11, White Plains Middle School
Best sound effect: “I screamed like a girl.” – Gavin Burrage, 10, White Plains Middle School
Creepiest description: “The man looked like her father, but paler, but her father had already died.” – Kate Porteous, 9, The Donoho School
Best prop: A vase filled with jade flowers, where the white-haired Sebastian keeps the souls that he collects. – Wilnadia Murrell, 15, The Donoho School
Best setting: A haunted prison that’s later replaced by a mall. – Allen “A.J.” Long, 9, The Donoho School
Best revenge: When James Cobb robs a grave, he is haunted by a the phrase “La mort la haine muadit” – “it was French for cursed, hatred, death.” It shows up on signs, on his voice mail message, screaming from his cell phone … – Landon Hardy, 12, White Plains Middle School
Best happy ending: In “Shadow in the Window,” the creepy murderer stalking the two young girls is foiled when one of them clangs him over the head with a piece of cast-iron. “Justice was served with a good old-fashioned skillet.” – Savannah Goodwin, 13, homeschool
Best ending: “Me and my brother learned to never ever go trick-or-treating without a parent.” – Gracie Morgan, 8, White Plains Elementary
A blast from the past
Check our last year's spooky stories.