Spooky stories to give the proper Halloween creeps

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 30, 2016

By Marissa Creamer

Rowan Public Library

‘Tis the season of ghosts and ghouls and things that go bump in the night. It’s the perfect time to enjoy a good scary story.

“Ghostly: a Collection of Ghost Stories,” is an anthology of some of the best ghost stories of all time. This collection was edited and illustrated by Audrey Niffenegger, the bestselling author of “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” who also includes a new story of her own.

Niffenegger traces the evolution of the ghost story genre with tales ranging from the 18th century to modern day, including tales from such authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Wharton, Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman and many more.

A spine-tingling tale for young readers comes from the traditions of Native American stories —“Skeleton Man,” by Joseph Bruchac. When Molly’s parents vanish, she is taken to live with a sinister old man claiming to be her great-uncle. Why does he never eat, and why does he lock her in her room at night? Why does he appear in her dreams as the “skeleton monster” from her father’s Mohawk stories? Molly must decipher her dreams to solve the mystery of her parents’ disappearance.

From centuries-old legends to modern bestsellers, the vampire has captured the reader’s imagination like no other fictional character. “The Silver Kiss,’ by Annette Curtis Klause, tells the story of 17-year-old Zoe, who is grieving for her dying mother. In a deserted moonlit park, she meets the enigmatic Simon, a vampire who has spent centuries trying to avenge his mother’s death, and agrees to participate in a dangerous scheme to trap his mother’s supernatural killer.

“I will be brave,” thinks Coraline. “No, I am brave.” In Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” the title character, lonely and bored, ventures through a mysterious door into a parallel reality. In this new world, Coraline enjoys doting parents, wonderful food and interesting toys.

But this world may not be as perfect as it seems. Why are her new parents, with their shiny, black button eyes, so keen to keep her on “their” side of the door? What has happened to her real parents? Coraline strikes a risky bargain to save them in this delightfully creepy fantasy.

In “The Game of Sunken Places,” by M.T. Anderson, two boys are caught up in an enchanted board game. When they visit the isolated gas-lit mansion of Gregory’s eccentric Uncle Max, Gregory warns Brian that his uncle is not just strange, but “probably insane. He lives in a different world from the rest of us. You know? The kind of world where electricity is a lot of invisible spiders. The kind of world where there’s organ music that gets louder when he eats refined sugar.” Soon, the boys are drawn into a real-life high-stakes quest, facing axe-wielding trolls and fleeing bloodthirsty ogres in this humorous, action-packed suspense novel.

Look for these and other chilling tales at Rowan Public Library.


Lego free play:  Legos have been cited for developing creativity, imagination, systematic reasoning and problem solving. The library’s collection will be available for free play or bring your own. 10 a.m-1 p.m., Nov. 5 and Nov. 26, East Branch; Nov. 12, South Rowan Regional.

2016 Bookmark Contest for children: For children 4-11 years old. Entries will be accepted at any library location now through Nov. 5. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place winners in each age group of 4-6, 7-9, and 10-11 years old. See official entry form for more details or contact the Children’s Room at 704-216-8234.

P.O.L.L. Program: Voting opens 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1 and ends Tuesday, Nov. 8 at close of each library branch. P.O.L.L. stands for President of Our Local Library and offers children in kindergarten through fifth grade an opportunity to practice their civic responsibilities. RPL staff nominated three favorite book characters: Amelia Bedelia, Cat in the Hat and Pete Cat. Voters can also write-in their presidential choice. Each branch has candidate information that voters can review before casting their ballots. The president-elect will be announced Nov. 9. All library locations are participating.

Evening o’ Fun & Treats: Monday, Oct. 31, 5:30 p.m. East branch, Rockwell. Enjoy a seasonal film showing and popcorn and lemonade. Costumes welcome but not required. Trick-or-treaters are welcome to stop by the upstairs reference desk for treats – no tricks allowed. All ages are welcome; this event is free and open to the public.

Cards for a Cause: Nov. 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Create holiday cards that will be delivered to service members in the United States Armed Forces. For more information, call Laurie at 704-216-7841. Stations to make cards at all three library locations, and available during the week.

Explorer Club: Nov. 5, 11 a.m.-noon, headquarters. Investigate different genres through fun activities based on books from our collection. Programs are more suitable for children in second through fifth grades.

Meet Gale! Introductory Course: Nov. 1, 7-8 p.m., headquarters. In this class, a librarian will review information about Gale’s online, free course offerings and discuss the technology requirements and usage. Participants will also have the opportunity to register for their chosen classes and receive help as needed.

Money Mondays: Dealing with Debt for Adults, Nov. 7, 7-8 p.m., headquarters. Learn practical tips to manage debt, avoid quick fixes and plan to resolve financial trouble.

Weekly events for teens are on hiatus after Nov. 22, unless otherwise noted.

Anime Club: Teens and college-aged individuals 21 and under are invited to watch anime and engage in Japanese-themed crafts and games. Nov. 1, 4:30 p.m., headquarters.

Teen Advisory Board: Teens who join this board provide input on the library’s teen programming and selection, as well as discuss current events and issues. Meets once a month at each library location at 4:30 p.m. TAB members can count their hours of participation towards school community service requirements. Nov. 10, South Rowan Regional; Nov. 14, East branch; Nov. 22, headquarters.

Dr. Who’s Days: Come with us as we travel through time and space with screenings of the classic BBC program “Dr. Who.” Families are invited to attend. Nov. 8, 4:30 p.m., headquarters.

Teen Monthly Program: Teens play games, make crafts and do various activities related to a specific theme. November is Back to Hogwarts. 4;30 p.m. Nov. 13, headquarters; Nov. 17, South Rowan Regional; Nov. 21, East branch.

Book Bites Book Club: South (China Grove), Nov. 29, 6-7 p.m. Free, open to the public. We discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme.”Bel Canto,” by Ann Patchett. Need a copy? Call 704-216-7731.

Displays: Headquarters, International Game Day and Lee Street theatre; East, photos of Rockwell, Glenda Hunsucker; South, artwork/paintings, Kay Azzara.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second  language.

Unless otherwise noted, weekly children’s event are on hiatus after Nov. 21.

Baby Time: A loosely interactive program of simple stories and songs for infants up to 23 months with parent or guardian. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Char’s Little Stars, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Tiny Sprouts, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South, Miss Pat’s Tiny Tots, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.

Toddler Time: Sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills for children 18-35 months with parent or caregiver. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Reading Rumpus, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Tammie’s Tot Time, Mondays at 11; South, Miss Pat’s Wee Readers, Tuesdays, 10:30.

Preschool Time: Encourages the exploration of books and builds reading readiness skills for children 3- to 5-years-old with parent or caregiver. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Noodle Head Story Times: Children of all ages can listen to silly books and tales together. 30 minutes. Headquarters, Thursdays at 4 p.m.; South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

Art programs: Activities and instruction based on various themes and media vary by branch. Pre-kindergarten through fifth grade; 30-45 minutes. Headquarters, Art in the Afternoon, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, Bethany’s Brushes, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Emma’s Easel, Wednesdays, 4:30.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: Children 7-9 can practice their reading skills in a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere. Reading therapy dogs registered through Therapy Dogs International are available for beginning and struggling readers to read aloud to them. Reservations recommended, not required. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m.; East, selected Mondays, 3:30 p.m.,  Nov. 7 and 21; South, selected Tuesdays, 6 p.m., Nov. 1, 8 and 15.

Chapter Chats Book Club: A weekly club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, but all are welcome. Meets at East branch meeting room, Tuesdays, 5 p.m., Nov. 1, 8, 15, 29 and Dec. 6, 13, 20.