A Spooky Surprise

Happy Halloween!

To help myself get into the festive holiday spirit on a recent trip to New York's picturesque Hudson Valley for a friend's wedding, I embraced the local literary love for a certain spooky tale: Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The scene was set listening to the audiobook on the drive down as I reacquainted myself with Icabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Then, on the way back home, a visit to Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (including a stroll around the cemetery to see Irving's grave) was a must. (Fun Fact: Did you know that until a couple decades ago, the famous Sleepy Hollow was actually just called North Tarrytown but, due to the popularity of Irving's story, the village's name was officially changed? That's the power of a story right there.)

A quick drive south to Irvington led to Washington Irving's home Sunnyside, nestled along the Hudson River (the view of which reminded me of Elisha Cooper's new book River and his recent Talks with Roger). This historic site (dubbed the "Home of the 'Legend'") is currently celebrating the 200th anniversary of the story's publication--which was written there--and every year participates in local Halloween festivities (which includes The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze--a reason in itself for me to make a return visit someday).

One of the activities at the house this month (through Nov. 3) is a Gothic Literature Scavenger Hunt described as "A Literary Quest for Readers of All Ages" where guests can "delve into classic tales of mystery and suspense as you wander the Sunnyside grounds." I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that the artist who created all the framed illustrations for this scavenger hunt was none other than children's book author/illustrator David Hyde Costello. I always love stumbling across children's book creators' work outside their books. I had the best time walking the grounds finding these pieces of original art that, with a child-friendly spin, capture moments from the stories that you can then read aloud from your scavenger hunt guide.

Can you name all seven of the classic Gothic tales in the slideshow below?

(Answers will be added in the comments below.)

For more Halloween books and spooky fun, click the Halloween books tag.

Cynthia K. Ritter
Cynthia K. Ritter

Cynthia K. Ritter is managing editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She earned a master's degree in children's literature from Simmons University.

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Cynthia K. Ritter

1. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)

3. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)

4. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving (1819)

5. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (1901)

6. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)

7. "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe (1845)

Posted : Oct 31, 2019 04:31


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