. . .they eat the jelly between your toes.
If you don't recognize the above reference, I sincerely feel for your childhood. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was a staple for my sister and I, so you can imagine the excitement when my partner presented me with this book as a "just because" gift the other day. To my own amazement, I still remember almost all of the words to "The Hearse Song." Ah, the fond memories of trying to scare my parents while reading from that book, and sitting up late in the dark, reading with a flashlight. It was technically my sister's book, but I remember owning it by means of sneaking into her room and lifting it from her bookshelf, while also sneaking a peek of her Jackie Collins books (admit it, Josie, you read those).
What may come as a surprise to some is that it wasn't just me sneaking around reading that book; In the 90s, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, along with the other two books in the series, More Scary Stories to tell in the Dark and More Tales to Chill Your Bones, reached the top of the banned and most frequently challenged books list. It still remains on that list, and was ranked seventh by decade for 2000-2009. The series was banned because its violent content was considered unsuitable for the target age group (source). This is funny to me, because my parents let us watch all kinds of horror movies, and films with graphic content, with their only censorship being the occasional "cover your eyes."
I feel sorry for kids today, and their parents; even if you attempt to censor something to spare your child for whatever reason, they will find it, if they're looking. Even if they're not looking. This is why it honestly surprises me that books like Scary Stories are still on banned books lists, or that lists like that exist at all. I mean, heaven forbid your child read a book and actually use his or her imagination! Never mind the fact that pretty much anyone can access disturbing violent imagery 24/7, thanks to the internet. I'm glad my parents didn't go crazy trying to shelter me, and I'm also equally glad that I didn't grow up with easy access to all things disturbing and degrading. I think the most disturbing thing I did on the computer as child was making the cop in Police Quest try to have sex with his fellow officer in the shower, to which the computer replied, "My, you have a dirty mind!"
For those of you entertaining the idea of revisiting the Scary Stories series, you might have more reasons to be excited, as talks of a big budget movie, as well as a documentary film, are in the works! Personally, I am looking forward to both projects, and am super pumped that people are still discussing this book series that most definitely helped foster my love for storytelling and scary things. Check out the the Scary Stories documentary site here for more information, and/or if you're interested in helping fund the project.
Stay scary, boys and ghouls!
I'm finally doing it--pulling my insides out and splattering them around for all to see. Here we go!