Every year, reading through the hundreds of entries in the Star’s annual “Ghostwriters” scary story contest for kids, there are details that make me laugh, or make me shudder (I’m looking at you, three kids who wrote about being buried alive).
Here then, is my list of alternative awards:
Best plot twist: In “Trick or Freak” by Braxton Goodwin of Ohatchee Elementary School, a mom puts a boy’s Spider-Man suit into the laundry, and when it comes out of the dryer, it has turned into a black Venom suit!
Best line: From “Broken Insecurities” by Gracie Sheppard of The Donoho School: “She opened a desk drawer, one filled with mistakes and insanities.”
Best ghostbusting: In “The Ghost of O’Leary Avenue” by Janie Sills of Donoho, a house is haunted by a little old lady who died in a fire that started after she left the kettle on. All the ghost needed to move on was a proper cup of tea.
Most creative monster: In “Fear of Flight” by Samantha Schmink of Donoho, a girl who is afraid of flying is snatched up by La Gargola, a monster based on a real-life Puerto Rican myth.
Most responsible ghost: In “The Ghost of Halloween” by Will Thomas of Piedmont Elementary, a little boy is too excited to go to sleep on Halloween Eve. His mother warns him that if he doesn’t go to sleep, he’ll be haunted. Sure enough, when he goes trick-or-treating, a ghost taps him on the shoulder and whispers, “Next time listen to your mother.”
Creepiest monster placement: In “Monster Up Above” by Isabelle Seenath of C.E. Hanna Elementary School, THERE ARE 30 MONSTERS ON THE CEILING OVER THE BED.
Creepiest prop: In “Cup of Blood” by Sadie Holt of Donoho, a mysterious cup can be filled only with blood.
Most charming ghost: In “The Legend of the Lonely Cat” by Sarah Sloughfy of Kitty Stone Elementary, a little black cat named Octavian dies during the fall of Rome and must spend his remaining lives haunting the streets until someone adopts him.
Best celebrity cameos: In “Evil Presidents” by Jack Thomas of Donoho, an orphan boy and an old lady are attacked by the ghosts of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, William Taft (who enters, floating) and George W. Bush — “who drank some gasoline.”
Best haunted object: In “That Weird Piece of Candy” by Kate Ryan of Ohatchee Elementary, a little boy gets a piece of Halloween candy that grins at him. Then it bites him.
Bravest, most honest heroine: In a story by Mackenzie Spradlin of Coosa Valley Elementary, a girl is chased by a headless horseman but finds a sword and cuts him in half. “It was scary but I was brave,” she writes. “P.S. I’m still scared. It was not fun.”
Chillest hero: In “The Fright at the Movie Theater” by Braeden Bialasik of Coosa Valley Elementary, a boy buying a movie ticket is captured by two mysterious figures and taken through a portal to a dark world. When he finally escapes, he buys some popcorn and goes to watch his movie.
Most original villain: From a story by Riley Ginn of Coosa Valley Elementary, meet The Abductor, “a tall man with a bag on his head and the bag had chains on it.”
Most intriguing title: “The Mystery Book of Mice” by Breunna Dates of Sycamore Elementary School.
Best savior: In “The Scary School” by Annie Jones of Cleburne County Elementary School, two girls are accidentally locked in a school with a creepy clown. So they do the sensible thing: They call their mom, and she comes and kills the clown.
Best (worst) setting: In “Clown in the Dark” by Addisyn Hammonds of Weaver Elementary, a group of kids are terrorized by an evil clown … during an overnight lock-in at church.
Best ending: From “Scary Story” by Zachary Fields of Cleburne County Elementary: “I saw another zombie and this time it ate me.”
Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or email@example.com.