It seems almost a lifetime ago that my cousins and brothers and I would gather in a darkened room in my grandmother’s house to tell each other scary stories, and yet I remember those days as some of the best of my life.

I hadn’t yet realized the complications that came with growing up.  Bills, politics, and social injustices were not yet on my radar.  I lived for books, stories, and movies, and those moments when I could lose myself in fantasy worlds filled with creatures that defied imagination.

It was on those fateful nights that I first heard stories like “Bloody Bones” told in hushed tones so as not to wake our grandparents from their sleeping.  How well I remember the giddy fear that filled us as each story finished and we let out a collective sigh of relief before the next story began.

As we began the trek toward Fall this year, it occurred to me that other people I know probably had similar experiences.  Sure, it might not have been in their grandmother’s sewing room.  For many, it was around the fires at summer camp or under the stars in their backyard while citronella candles gave off soft light and filled the air with their distinctive aroma.

I began asking around and sure enough not only did they remember telling scary stories, but some of those stories came with the same titles even though the details might be different than what I remember.

At the end of my journey, I understood two things intrinsically.

  1. The tradition of telling stories will never really die.  It has existed since before the time of written language and will endure and evolve for generations to come.
  2. The thrill of a good scary story is timeless and ageless.  It speaks to the young and to the old and can bridge that generational gap like few other mediums can.

And so with that in mind, I decided to to gather together 31 stories, one for each night in October like an Advent Calendar counting down to Halloween.  Some are from my own recollections; some from friends around the world, and a few that I wrote myself in hopes that you’ll share them with your family.

In fact, my greatest hope for this series is that each night from October 1st to Halloween night, you’ll gather together, dim the lights, and read these stories aloud.  Each entry will be marked simply with a date and the story’s title.

That first story will appear on October 1st, and maybe…just maybe…we can reclaim some of that giddy fear we felt as kids.