Part of the charm of the Halloween tale is the nostalgia, a traditional telling of a tale set in autumn. But tradition can border on boredom if we refuse to see it through new eyes and refresh the imagery. The dark and stormy night with the dilapidated old mansion in a heavily wooded middle-of-nowhere place doesn’t reflect our current day experience. What about that creepy foreclosure at the end of the street though? You know, the one that keeps changing hands—people move in, people move out—they’re gone before you can make an introduction.
What are some of the elements we usually use to build a frightening tale? We touched on a couple, abandoned houses and, of course, the fog. What are some other images that might be over used? What can we substitute for them?
A fun exercise is to take your favorite traditional tale and re-work it. What substitutions can you make to bring this tale into modern times? Can you change the elements around so that the story takes place in a different part of the country without loosing the fright factor?
As my mother once told me, “There is nothing there in the dark that wasn’t there when the lights were on.” Which leads me to my next question… what is that standing next to you?
photos and text by Robyn Chausse