I have been (and will be) using Click-Clack the Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman with students (years 7,8 and 9) that have Library lessons this week as part of my Halloween and Spooky Stories discussion.
Four classes visited the library today – two year 8 & 9 classes, with each we have discussed Halloween, where the customs of the festival originated, the importance of masks and why people enjoy being terrified with stories. I then turn out the light, make sure everyone is sitting comfortably and push play. It is a very short story, slightly over 10 minutes but the effect has been the same – dead silence during the performance and afterwards the entire class is still and thoughtful, it has taken a few minutes to get discussion going about the story and what they thought about it.
This is a great tale, and the effect it has on the audience is almost palpable; it starts out light and gets progressively spookier and darker as the the story progresses. Neil’s voice is almost hypnotic, drawing the listener in to the story and lulls you into a false sense of security and by the time you actually start figuring out what is happening it is too late and the warm languorous feeling that his voice has engendered within you dooms you to the horror of hearing the dark ending and leaves you feeling disturbed and spooked.
All in all a perfect tale for a Halloween evening spent terrifying your friends and family!