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Claremont Kids Halloween essay winners

Boo! When the COURIER asked local students to participate in our Claremont Kids Halloween story contest, we had no idea what kind of floodgates we were opening. We got well over 120 stories, the majority of which were interesting, scary and well-written. It presented a challenge for us: How do we reward and recognize as many young writers as possible.

In the end, we selected 13 essays—a spooky number perfect for Halloween—that we felt were top-notch as our winners. If your story wasn’t chosen, it may be some consolation that the COURIER staff enjoyed no end of amusement and a touch of fear while reading what Claremont Kids have come up with.

The prompt involved what happens when someone decides to investigate the spooky old house on their street. The first prize goes to Jaylah Bennett, an 11-year-old student at Chaparral Elementary school whose story was not only gripping but included a beautifully written spell that is sheer poetry! She will be attending a showing of the musical “The Three Little Pigs,” currently showing at the Lewis Family Playhouse (This is the west coat premiere of a “very curly musical tail” crated by the award-winning musical team behind Honk and Broadway’s “Marry Poppins.” Congratulations, Jaylah!

Our other 12 winners will be receiving some sweet treats courtesy of 21 Choices! And all 13 of our favorite stories can be seen in full on the COURIER website, www.claremont-courier.com.

Below are the winning stories. We plan to feature all of the entries on our website, but that may take a few more days, so check back to see how CUSD students can rock a writing prompt!


The Monster Mob

by Jaylah Bennet, an 11-year-old student at Chaparral Elementary School

I usually hurry past the spooky empty house on my street, but one day I decided to stop and investigate. Here’s what happened.

I was stooping to pick up my ball, which my friend had accidentally thrown too far. When I looked up, there it was. Although it was Halloween, when the house was usually the creepiest, it didn’t look as threatening as it usually did. I beckoned over my friend, Kennedy, and asked her one simple question:

“What do you think?” I inquired.

That is how all our troubles began.

“I think it looks mysterious. I love mysteries. Especially Nancy Drew. She’s so—”

“Yeah, yeah, ‘course,” I said, cutting her off before she talked for hours. “But what do you think about checking it out?”

She paused for a moment to consider the offer that lay before her.

“I… guess so?” she said doubtfully.

“Alright. I have a plan, but we need to go back to my house to gather supplies first. I promise you, it’ll be just like Nancy Drew,” I stated confidently, hoping this would draw her in.

“Okay!” Kennedy said more eagerly, and I nodded my head in a silent confirmation of my thoughts.

Donned with provisions, Kennedy and I took cautious steps toward the mysterious mansion, eager, yet frightened, to see what was inside. When we reached the 10-foot-tall double doors, we shook hands, grimaced and then pushed open the heavy doors with as much courage as we could muster.

What at first glance looked like a haunted three-story house from the outside, looked slightly less intimidating than we had expected. There was lots of furniture, with cobwebs on it from being abandoned, or so we thought, for so many years, and the ceiling fan and lights still seemed to be intact, even though they weren’t on.

The spookiest part of the house, it seemed, was the staircase. It wound its way around the house’s walls, shadowy, and seeming to go on forever. The walls connecting to the stairwell were lined with doors, each printed with a solemn letter. Kennedy and I moved closer to the staircase, curious if the letters were there for a particular reason.

“I suppose we could check the doors,” I pointed out. “It’ll be no problem if the place is abandoned.”

“Yes, b-but w-what-t if i-it isn’t aba-ba-bandoned?” Kennedy stuttered, fear clenching her brain.

“I’ll be right in front of you the whole time,” I told her, and without another word we ventured onto the creaky, creepy staircase.

The silent ascent toward the first door, labeled A, seemed to drag on for hours, even though it only took us fifteen minutes. Each step, we were more nervous than the last. Finally, we reached the door. With a glance at Kennedy, I peeked inside.

I didn’t see any thing at first, the light was too dim. Then, coming out of the shadows, I saw the figure of a man striding toward us. I quickly shut the door, grabbed Kennedy’s hand, and ran into the next door. This room was silent and completely dark. I reached for the light cord (which happened to be short), and a spotlight went on. Curious to see where it was aiming, I turned around. There, sitting on a faux tree limb, was what looked like a bedraggled old woman. Suddenly, she let out a roaring cackle. With sudden intensity, I recognized the creature.

“Banshee!” I screamed, bursting through the door. It was at that moment, standing on the stairwell with Kennedy, that I understood why the place was so eerie.

“It’s a creepy creature apartment,” I explained. “It’s organized by the alphabet. Whatever the letter is—” I glanced up, seeing what Kennedy was fixated on. “A plaque!”

“Spell,” Kennedy uttered in a whisper, still staring at the plaque. I moved closer to read what it said:

                                    “To venture past, to walk along,

                                    To dare to hear the banshee’s song,

                                    To pass this door, you will find,

                                    Sense and sanity left behind.

                                    Your greatest fears will be revealed,

                                    Breaking through the nightmare field,

                                    The doors will open as you pass,

                                    The end is near, unless you’re fast.

                                    To end the end, put them back here,

                                    You first must reach the rooftop pier,

                                    And rewrite all of the fears,

                                    In the order you saw them appear.”

“Spell,” she insisted again in a whisper, and this time I agreed. Too stunned to move, we sat in silence, taking it all in.

“What’s the plan?” I asked finally, my voice as shaky as hers was.

“Run,” she ominously stated, as if she were in a trance.

“Are you sure? Is there some way to-”

“Run!” She yelled more loudly, because right then the banshee and the figure burst through the doors. We grabbed each other’s hands, and ran for our lives up the twirling staircase.

As door after door was flung open, Kennedy and I ran faster and faster, trying to reach the balcony before the monsters reached us. Finally, as we were reaching the door marked W, we saw the trapdoor.

“I’ll get it!” I hollered, letting go of her hand to undo the latch.

“Jaylah! JAYLAH!!” I heard, a bloodcurdling scream following the cry. I looked down, just in time to see Kennedy engulfed by the mob of monsters, hands of countless creatures pulling her into the crowd, making her invisible among the others. I let out a sob. Then, wiping the tears from my eyes, I hoisted myself to the deck of the balcony. It was up to me to avenge her.

I closed the trapdoor, hoping that would stall them for a moment. She’s gone, I thought to myself. What do I do?

I thought for a moment longer, then came to the conclusion that she would want me to get rid of the crowd of creatures. I walked over to a nearby marble podium, the only thing on the desolate rooftop, assuming that was where you wrote the names of the monsters.

Apparition, I wrote with an unsteady hand, then continued. Banshee, Creepy Crawlies, Demons, Evil Villains, Frankenstein, Goblins, Hooligans, Infested People, Jack-O-Lanterns, K-

I stopped, thinking of the K I so wanted to see. But I knew I had to write monsters, not missed friends.

Knives, Leeches, Mummies, Nocturnal Animals, Open Tomb, Possess-

Bang, bang! The monsters were opening the hatch. I wrote faster.

Possessed, Quartet of Trolls, Roaring Monsters, Skeletons, Transylvania Citizens, Urchins, Vampires, Witches, X-rayed bones, Yellow ghosts, Zombi-

The herd busted through the trapdoor, and I turned around to see them hurtling toward me. They grabbed me and tried to pull me in, but luckily I had just enough fight to write the last two letters: es.

All of a sudden, they disappeared. The mob was gone. I was in front of my house. And, coming out of the fog on the sidewalk, was a person I never thought I would see again.

“Kennedy?” I said incredulously. “You’re alive?”

“In the flesh,” she stated triumphantly, putting her hands on her hips jokingly.

We embraced, and stood there like that until my mom called us in to put on our costumes, like we hadn’t e



The Transbreed Inn and Suites

by Rowan Orlijan-Rhyne, a 6th grader from Sycamore Elementary School

I usually hurry past the spooky, empty house on my street, but one day, I decided to stop by and investigate. I pushed the doorbell. It poked me back. Wait! It poked me back?! I pushed it twice in response. Then, a sound emitted from the door; it sounded like a complicated lock undoing itself by itself. A panel popped out of the door and placed itself in the air beside the opening it made.

“I shouldn’t do this, should I? I don’t want to cause myself any harm or get myself in trouble with anyone,” I thought.

But I took in the old musty smell of the old, dusty house and I said to myself, “If I decided to check this out in the first place, I’ll at least check it out some more.” I didn’t have any more time for thinking, because a little head of an old lady with pointy ears poked out of the panel about the length of my thigh.

“Do you have a reservation, young lad?” she inquired. She had a slight English accent and she smelled strongly of tea and scones.

“Uh, what for?” I replied.

“For the Transbreed Inn and Suites in Claremont. If you don’t have a reservation, I’ll take you anyway. I have one more junior human room left.” 

If I were going to investigate, I had to go in. So I quickly replied, “I’ll take a look around and then I’ll decide.” Then, the door popped open and the magical, real inside of the “deserted” house appeared before me. There were goblins, unihorns (horns with legs, arms, a nose, eyes, a mouth and everything else a human would have except hair, if they were a one-foot-long horn), and every other creature you could think of. The inside was lavishly decorated; the inside was nothing like what you saw when you peered through the windows on a day you were feeling particularly brave. “There must be some sort of magical charm on this place!” I thought.

When she led me up to the junior human suite, I was shell-shocked. There were never-ending rooms stretching in every direction except the one I came from. I thought, “There must also be a never-ending space charm here, too!”
“How much does this cost?” I asked, curious.

“One point two million dollars exactly, per day,” she said.

“May I work here?” I replied. “How much will you pay me?”

She said I could and that’s how it went from then on. I worked six hours a week at the Transbreed Inn and Suites. Until, something very strange happened. One sunny day, I stared up at the familiar steps leading up to the door, looking forward to having a chat with Bob, my newfound friend, every doorbell in the hotel rang, when I. . .

“Aaaaargh! Something is behind me. I think it’s a . . .”



The Golden Book

Kyra Stewart, a 6th grader at Daycreek Intermediate School in Rancho Cucamonga

So where do I begin on my story (that is true). . .Ooooh! Every day, I walk to school, which is nine blocks down the hill. I walk by this old, creepy house. This house has a black broken fence around it, and there are wooden blocks nailed to the door so no one can come in. Today, I went to get the mail and there was a cat on the fence, bats hanging on the shade structure and cobwebs everywhere. When I went to bed, I wondered about the house. Does someone live there? Is it haunted? I don’t know about you, but this house gives me the freaks.

Whoa! When I woke up today, I felt curious. When I got to school, I felt even more curious. I’ve always wanted to be a detective, and I knew today was my chance to be one. I was anxious to investigate why people say this house is haunted and test my detective skills.  After school, I went to the house.                                                                          

I told my mom I was going to the library, but I secretly went to the house. When I got there, the wind blew the old, dead trees. I went through a gate that led to the door, but it was locked! I looked everywhere for a clue. Then a bat flew by. It had something shiny in its claws. It was the keys! I jumped at the right time and got them. “Yes!” I took the wood off the door, put in the key and went in the house.  The door creaked loudly. As I walked in, I saw cobwebs everywhere and pictures of people. Then there was a sudden sound.  BOOM!  It was the door shutting behind me. Well, guess there is no turning back now.  

As I walked down the hall I noticed all the pictures staring back at me, and the candles light and darken as I passed. I started to feel like maybe this place is haunted. It was very dark. Just then the lights turned on from the chandeliers, candles and lamps. My detective skills told me it was an old house. I heard a piano playing in the room ahead and walked in. Then the others started playing.  It sounded cool, except there was no one playing them…they were playing by themselves. Aww! I ran upstairs to another room.

The next room was filled with plants that smelled as sweet as chocolate. Except the plants followed you and snapped at you. At this point, there was little doubt that this place was haunted! Soon, I arrived to the dining room without being bit by anymore plants. At the dining room, a cupid on the table shot an arrow at the wall and a note was stuck to it. The note said, “To the dance room.” Of course, you would think I would be scared, but I needed to have answers. I heard more music playing and followed it to the dance room, where ghosts were dancing.  Right there, I decided I had enough!  I just went straight back. As I was going back, two knights stopped me and pointed to the attic. 

Of course, you know I listened. After all, who would want to deal with two fierce knights?  I went up the stairs and saw many boxes and then something big and shiny. As I got closer, it was a big chest that needed a combination.  “Ah, great! I’m about to find all the answers, and there is a combination. Just great!” I thought to myself. But I had a great idea: maybe it was in one of the boxes.  I knew it would be in there but, nope, just books. Suddenly, the books flew in the air and there was a note in the bottom of the box that said, “Find the golden book.”  As I searched in the air, there it was. I took it and found the combination on page 9.                 

In an instant I took the numbers and put them in. The numbers were 9561-223-660. The chest started to open and in it was a blanket! I took the blanket and soon saw there was a ruby as red as a tomato. I took it and ran for my life. Wouldn’t you have been freaked out about the things in this house? I ran downstairs, past the dining room, garden room and finally ran down the hallway out the door.  Even though I was outside, I wasn’t going to stop. I kept running all the way to my house…just in time for dinner.

Whoah! I feel tingly inside!  I just woke up from a really bad nightmare.  I can’t believe it was all just a dream…  Now it’s time to see what is really in that house.



The Doll Factory

By Zachary Martin, a 5th grader at Oakmont Outdoor School

My name is Howard. I live on Vampire Way in Spooksville, Maine. There is an old doll factory two doors down from my mean old uncle’s house, where I’ve had to live ever since my parents mysteriously disappeared one night. One day at school, some bullies teased me that I was too scared to go into the old factory. They were too, but I knew that arguing would be the end of me. So I took the challenge.

The old lock was easy to break and the doors swung open with a loud creak. I tried to look brave because all seven bullies where watching from a safe distance, so I stepped in. The air in the building smelled musty and damp. The walls felt the same and the floor squealed with my every step. My eyes started to adjust to the darkness. I saw a broken chandelier and a spiral staircase. Then I decided to explore the first floor.

The ground floor was mostly storage. There were boxes everywhere. I got out my flashlight and tried the switch. “Out of batteries,” I said to myself “Got to do without a light.” I opened one of the boxes. It was filled with creepy old dolls. I opened more boxes. More dolls! Then I got to one last box. No dolls but a picture, a picture of my parents.

I was really freaked out but I knew that I must go on, so I went up the stairs. The second floor was as scary as the first, but instead of rooms full of boxes, all the doors were locked with bolts, so I was forced to go down the corridor. It suddenly stopped at a dead-end with a pillar in the middle topped by a golden statue. I couldn’t stop myself and I rushed up to the statue, grabbed it up in my arms……and the trapdoor that I was standing on fell away.

I stood up bemused, blinking in the bright light. Then I heard a joyful laugh and a deep voice saying, “I knew you would find us son!” Then I saw them, my mother older than when I last saw her but still beautiful and my father—he was the biggest surprise. His tangle of hair and beard was gone and his shiny, bald head was totally new to me. They showed me the way out and we immediately went to the gold buyers and got a fortune for the statue. We had the old doll factory cleaned up and we moved in. Now, I always throw the most awesome and scariest Halloween parties ever! 



The Inventor

By Cecilia Ryan, a 4th grader at Sycamore Elementary School

I usually hurry past the spooky, empty house on my street, but one day I decided to stop and investigate. Here is what happened.

I went on the porch and went inside. There was a staircase at the entrance. Some people say the house is haunted, others say that a family who once lived there was killed in a fire a long time ago.

Suddenly, I heard a voice. An old lady’s voice said, “Don’t go any further. Danger lurks.” “Aaaaaah!” I screamed.

“I am warning you. Don’t go any further,” the creepy voice said again. Maybe this house really was haunted, I thought to myself. I should just go home. But then the front door slammed shut. I found a note that said, “Don’t listen to the voice. Go explore.” Maybe I should go explore? I was curious but actually scared at the same time.

I found a room. The door was locked. But then I thought, in movies people usually hide their keys under the welcome mat. I looked down under the welcome mat by the door of the room (it was strange enough that the welcome mat was inside the house, not by the front door), and found a key.

I walked to the room and found a book on the table in the middle of the room. It was a diary. It said, “Dear Diary, I am testing my invention on a person, which is me. It is a big risk. Three times I tested on fruit, and two times it worked. Once it didn’t, but at least I did it on fruit.”

That was it, I thought. The letter was not finished. I bet the invention did not work on him, whatever it was. I wonder what happened to the inventor, and how long ago it was. Could the inventor still be here? Does he have anything to do with the creepy voice or the ghost that people claim to have seen in the house? Although, since the house is known to be haunted, very few people have ever been to the house. . .

I should start to get going, I started thinking. It all seemed kind of creepy. But then the voice called again. “You don’t have very much time left. You didn’t listen to my warning, and you know way too much. Keep exploring if you can, but you have been warned. Hahahahahahaha!”

I continued on my exploration. I found a trail of shredded pieces of paper. I put the pieces together. It was another page from the diary. It said, “You must hurry. Try to find a paper bag. When you do, throw it on the ground.” That’s weird, I was thinking. Why should I do that? Maybe the inventor had gone a little crazy? But I started looking for a paper bag. I had a mystery to solve, after all!

I found a paper bag in the corner of the room on a chair. I peeked inside. It had an old-fashioned medicine bottle inside. It was some sort of potion. But suddenly I lost my grip of the bottle and it fell on the ground and broke into pieces. The potion turned into dust, and the dust turned into a. . .ghost!!!

“Are you the inventor?” I asked the ghost, my voice trembling. “Yes, I certainly am,” the ghost replied. “The potion I invented accidentally turned me into a ghost. The potion was supposed to be a shape-shifter. But it did not work as it was supposed to. It turned my cat into a creepy, invisible old lady. She has been scaring visitors for centuries.”

The inventor asked me to look again into the paper bag. There was another potion and magnifying glass.

“What am I supposed to do with these?” I asked.

“Well, the magnifying glass will help you see the old lady, I mean…my cat. The potion, hopefully, will turn everything back as it was.”

I peeked into the magnifying class, and suddenly I saw the creepy old lady in front of me. “Aaaaaaaah!” I screamed. I picked up the second potion, and threw the dust around. I waited a few seconds and the old lady turned into a black cat.

Then I poured some dust on the ghost, who was really the inventor, and waited again for a few seconds. Suddenly, an old man who looked like a scientist was standing in front of me, wearing an old-fashioned lab coat.

“Thank you so much for breaking the spell…ahem…my invention gone wrong. How can I ever repay you for saving me and my beloved cat?

“I think we are good,” I said. “I had a really fun adventure. Anyways, tomorrow is Halloween, so I have a good story to tell.

I left the house, still in disbelief about what had happened. The inventor went back to his lab upstairs, and the cat was sitting by the open window. I waved at the cat.

“This isn’t over yet,” the cat said in a creepy old lady voice.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!” I screamed as ran as fast as I could back home.



A Strange Being

By Elija Lev Wakefield, 10, Sycamore Elementary School

I usually hurry past the spooky empty house on the street, but one day I decided to stop and investigate. Here’s what happened:

I stepped inside the mansion. I stopped dead, like a person pulling the emergency brakes on a train. I was awestruck. What I saw was amazingly horrifying. I was wondering if I was hallucinating. I saw what looked like at least a never-ending path of spider webs, but luckily no spiders.

I stepped in cautiously, so I made sure I didn’t make a peep or slip. It was tough, though, because the air smelled so strongly of sawdust. Then, I made the mistake of my life: I tried to echo my voice, and that’s probably how all the chaos started.

I almost screamed my guts out when I heard what I thought was spiders stalking, about to pounce like my cat, Felix. My heart was pounding so much, I thought it would leap out any second and the air started getting harder to breathe in, until I heard myself rattling like a rattle on a rattlesnake. Finally, after some short moments, a voice bellowed, “Who’s there?”

When I heard the voice, I nearly jumped 20 feet; this person did not have the raspy voice of a humongous spider that spins webs to kill you. He, or she for all I knew, sounded like a giant human. I tried to hide myself the best I could in the webs, my head constantly going back and forth to look for a new hiding space. I spotted some cardboard and I thought, “Not the best thing to hide behind, but at least it’s a start!”

The being finally appeared and, just like before, I was awestruck. I felt frozen solid. Maybe it was just the webs, but I was awestruck to look down. The being appeared to be a giant human-snake-spider mix. He (now I was certain the being was a he) looked like a TV-show Godzilla, with all of Godzilla’s features, except a miniature version. He was scaly, with banana yellow, cat-like eyes and spider legs, plus two large arms. Why was he here? I didn’t know, but what I did know was he did not like intruders, based on the tone of voice when I came in. 

When I came in, he finally spotted the piece of cardboard and glared at it, not seeming to notice me. The tone in the voice of the mini-Godzilla sounded annoyed as he said, “Uhhh! Why does my pillow keep moving when I’m not there? You’d think there was a ghost haunting this place!”

The mini-Godzilla grabbed the cardboard to reveal me. This time I didn’t just scream in my mind, I screamed the loudest I possibly could. Probably, at that moment, if you felt my Adam’s apple, your finger would vibrate enough for it to fall off. The scaly-like creature didn’t seem surprised. Actually he looked excited.

The mini-Godzilla went up to me and asked me, “Can we be friends? I’m so lonely around here and nobody will play with me.”

I accepted his friend request and, since then, we have always been in touch. Oh, that reminds me, I better get going to meet with him. He expects me to be there in a few minutes. Toodaloo!




By Phoebe R. Olsen, a 6th grader at Sumner Elementary School

The cats call me Storm Runner. Well, Storm, but my full name is Storm Runner. And I happen to be a cat. I live in Shadow Hollows, one of the five Hollows. The other Hollows are Fire, Air, Water and Storm, but they aren’t important. What’s important is that I’m on my first solo hunting mission!

My assigned hunting area covers the abandoned Nofur death-trail, the tallpines and an old Nofur den. I usually hurry past the spooky, empty Nofur den by the death-trail, but today I decide to stop and investigate.

I slowly pad up to the den and take in its size. It’s not very big, but I think it has multiple levels. I scent for prey, but I can’t smell any. There might be some inside. Quietly, I pad toward the entrance. As I walk up the stone paths, I feel something splatter on my fur. Twisting my head, I see something dark on my gray fur. It looks uncannily like—okay, forget the stain! It only makes the den seem even more forbidding.

The entrance to the den is dark and yawning, like the entrance to the Skycave, only bigger. Cautiously, I step inside and take it in. The rotting wood of the walls seems to threaten to come together and crush me. The floor is made of moldy, blood-red wood. There is a four-legged elevated platform in one corner with various weird Nofur thingamajigs on it. I know I should leave right now, but my dumb curiosity drives me forward into the next section. After looking at it thoroughly, I decide that I like this area much better than I did the previous. The wood is still rotting, but more light shines through the walls. The floor is stone. I have a good feeling about this area.

Then I heard the voices.

“Evermore. Evermore,” they chant. I look wildly around. The floor and walls seem to be alive with rising cat spirits. The Evermore. I’ve heard stories about them. They are evil cats who couldn’t go to Sky Hollows. “Evermore. Evermore.”

I tear out of the den, and the Evermore cats follow. I howl, trying to make myself heard to Shadow Hollows, but it’s no use. I run towards the Fire border, with hundreds of Evermore on my tail.

To be continued. . .



A Maze in the Shadows

By Sabah Abdel-Hameid, a 6th grader at Sumner Elementary School

As Bridget strolled back to her house, the wind slapped her brown hair across her face. While she was walking home, she saw her nice friend, Elise, sitting on the sidewalk. Bridget briskly walked closer to her to see if she was okay. Her friend was crying, so Bridget decided to walk her home and try to cheer her up. When they nearly arrived, they saw an abandoned house on their way. They decided to investigate the spooky house.

As they opened the gate, the gate automatically shut closed on them. But Bridget and Elise didn’t get bothered, so they just kept walking. “Creee-ak,” heard Bridget and Elise. They thought a crow made that noise but if it wasn’t a crow, they wouldn’t go inside, just in case. They decided to go to the backyard instead. When they opened the fence, they couldn’t believe what their eyes were looking at. It was many well-trimmed bushes in a crooked, bent way that looked like a maze. They both decided to go in.

As they went in, they noticed the difficult maze was getting darker and harder with each of their footsteps. Elise noticed the walls were closing in. It got so dark, they couldn’t see where they were going and fell in a hole! Soon they found out what was making the eerie noise. It was a shiny organ.

They took one step forward and before they knew it, they got trapped in a rusty, dirty cage. They yelled and screamed but nobody could hear them from the hole, except only one person.

It was the man who lived in the abandoned house. He came down to look at who got caught in his dirty cage. The man had red eyes and shiny white fangs—he almost looked like a vampire. The vampire introduced himself as “The Man of the Night.”

Soon the man pulled a leash, causing the floor to open. Beneath it was the dark blue ocean! Bridget and Elise panicked. Soon, Bridget realized that there was something taped on the ceiling. Bridget grabbed it and found out it was the key! She quickly freed them both and made a big jump to where the “man” was standing and pushed him off.

They were both happy they were done with all the chaos. They headed home and told their parents what happened. But what they didn’t know was that he swam to safety. This man still lives today in the same spooky house. Many people say he’s a myth. But a few people say it’s true. The curse is that he’ll come back every month of October and haunt the people who walk on his street.

When the girls heard, they packed their stuff and went to a different town. Soon, word got around and there was not even an ant there, well, not alive one, at least. Later on that town was no longer a town, only a ghost town.



The Horror Jars

By Kiernan Nesslar, a 6th grader at Sumner Elementary School

My day was going pretty good. I got an A-plus on my math test and I just got my white hair cut at Sportsclips. It was April and it seemed like the world just didn’t want me to go forward, pushing me back with the driving rain. Already my jacket was soaked, and I was extremely glad I shortened my formerly long hair.

I saw a marble pillar in the distance and took cover behind it. As soon as I got to it, I saw that it was a part of the old abandoned mansion on my street. I usually hurry past it, but I had to stop because of the rain. As I ran up to the house, I saw the light in the right wing was on.

“That’s weird,” I thought. “This place has been abandoned for years.”

There was a large gate, but the lock was rusted enough for me to break it. There was a large courtyard with a fountain that used to be a bunch of cupids, but now they were all broken, either missing a wing or a head. There were grand doors with what I assumed used to be lion statues flanking them. I tried the doors. They were unlocked. “That’s weird. Why lock the gate but not the doors,” I wondered as I quickly walked in.

As I crept in, I saw there was a lot of pottery. Clay pots, glass pots, small pots, tall pots—so many pots. I could have sold half of them and still have a hundred left. That is, if I could reach them. They were all high up on shelves that were creaking with age. Then there was the smell, a rotting smell, like someone died here. I wandered over the fireplace where there was a plaque that said “Bengiman Blake.” A shiver crept up my spine. Begiman Blake was the serial killer who stuffed his victims’ insides in pots for “scientific purposes.”

I decided to explore the house to keep my mind busy, but it kept wandering back to the fact that it was a slaughterhouse. I mean, I knew Blake lived in Claremont, and it’s kind of obvious that his house would be the abandoned one, but I would’ve thought that they would have burned it or at least took his horror jars out.

Then I heard the sound of laughing and footsteps, and then a clay jar to my left shattered, spilling out its gory insides. I sprinted, with jars falling all around me and the malicious laugh of Bengiman Blake sounding in my ears. I opened a random door and saw that I was in a study.

When I finally calmed down, I decided to check the room. I lost my iPhone on the run outside. However, I highly doubted the murder ghost would let me use it. The study was pretty basic: wooden desk with a lot of drawers, a bookcase to the right and a huge rug in the middle. There was a window in which I could see the rain still pounding outside and an armoire opposite the bookcase. As I was walking across the rug, I heard a loud “Clang!”

I lifted the rug and saw a trapdoor, and though I was shaking with fear I opened it. I walked down and was slammed to the ground. I then heard the words that ended my life. “My, my, you’ll make a mighty fine specimen.”



The Glass Slipper

By Katelyn Lam, a 6th grader at Sumner Elementary School

It was a cold October night as Sara and her best friend Nicole set off to the biggest Halloween party of the year. As Sara walked out of her house, Nicole complimented, “Wow, you make an amazing Cinderella!”

Sara did look amazing. She had her beautiful blonde hair designed just like the real Cinderella, she had a magnificent dress and, of course, she had shiny glass slippers.

“Thanks! And we’d better go. It’s already 11:00. We don’t want to be late,” Sara exclaimed happily. The two walked a couple blocks until they came face-to-face with the empty house on their block. Everyone called it the Horrible Haunted House. There was even a rumor that if anyone went in, they never came out.

“I dare you to go in,” Nicole whispered.

“No. I usually hurry past it anyway, so let’s go,” Sara replied.

“Come on! You’re scared, huh?”  Nicole giggled.

“I’m so not scared. Watch, I’ll prove it!” Sara yelled, stomping off to the Horrible Haunted House. As she opened the door, it screeched loudly. That made Sara scared already.

“I can do this!” she said to herself. Sara marched straight into the haunted house, trying to be brave. But she couldn’t see anything. It was pitch-black. Suddenly, the door slammed behind her! Sara’s heart skipped a bit. Then she felt something crawling up her leg. The light flickered on, and then off again. Sarah could hear two little voices…

“Looks like we have a visitor. It didn’t even knock!”

“Why won’t this old door open?!” Sara yelled. “Nicole, are you out there? Please help me. This place is way too scary!”

Suddenly, when everything was quiet, Sara could hear the little creepy voices again. So she decided to face her fear and go check it out. As Sara walked forward, the creepy sounds just got louder and louder.

“How come you didn’t knock?” a scary voice asked.

“Huh? Oh, I see!” Sara exclaimed, looking at the light reflecting off the couch. It was just a plain old TV. Sara looked at the TV. The show that was on looked interesting, so she sat down on the lopsided couch to enjoy the show.

Soon, Sara got bored of watching TV. She even got bored of being in the haunted house. So she got up and walked the way she came from. Sara strolled through the house, until she came to the front door again. As she was about to grab the doorknob, she heard the voices again. “Wait, you can’t go! You must pay the consequences for trespassing!”

“Wow, that TV is loud!” Sara stated. She tried reaching for the doorknob again.

“We said you couldn’t leave!” the creepy voice yelled again. Sara turned around. She couldn’t see anything. She could only see two heads. Sara gulped. She couldn’t say anything. She was way too scared!

“Wow, it doesn’t talk. That will make its consequences for trespassing much easier!” the mysterious voice shouted excitedly.

Suddenly, Sara could feel something choking her throat and something pulling her into the darkness. It was as if she were a fish being pulled in by a fisherman. With a blink of an eye, Sara was gone.

“Looks like we won’t be having anymore visitors!” one of the creepy voices said to the other.

“Yes, looks like we won’t!” the other replied. The two laughed together and, in their hands, held a glass slipper!



Ghost Mom

By Maddie Vogel, a 9-year-old student from Sycamore Elementary School

I usually hurry past the spooky, empty house on my street, but one day I decided to stop and investigate. Here’s what happened. . .

I rang the doorbell, and you won’t believe what happened. The door automatically opened! I walked inside. Dun, dun, dun! I looked in a room and I saw a person looking at me. She whispered, just loud enough so I could hear, “Yes, you will do just fine.”

“Ahhhh!” I heard somebody scream.

“Um. . .I’m just gonna go now,” I shivered. But instead of leaving the house, I ran through the kitchen and scurried upstairs, and ended up right next to the stranger. It seemed like she was waiting for me. I asked her, “Who are you?”

She replied, “I am your mother!” She sounded offended. “Do I look like your mother? Probably not, because I’m a ghost.”

I gasped. I really wanted to take back the gasp, because right after I said it, she looked disappointed. “Sorry,” I stated. “So can I have a tour of the house, ‘Mom’?” Then Mom, the ghost, said, ‘Sure! But you have to watch where you step. I wasn’t prepared for company.” Ghost Lady looked embarrassed. Then all of a sudden. . .

Frankenstein appeared. I screamed, “Ahhhh!”

“Oh, that’s just a clone of your father that looks like Frankenstein,” said Mom. So I guess I should fill you in. My mom got in a car crash when I was about 6, and now I’m seven years older. There, are you happy?

All of a sudden, a giant walked in. “Let me guess. Is that giant me?” I say.

“Nope, it’s your sister,” Mom, the ghost, said.

“Oh, okay,” I said. “Then where am I?”

“Oh, you’re a spaceship. And that’s another bad thing. You’re the spaceship SS enterprise.” She blushed.

And I lived there the rest of my life. I am Toby.



The Deadly Fight

By Isaac Rivas, a 6th grader at Sumner Elementary School

My name is Isaac Rivas and today was Halloween. That night, lightning sparked and damaged several objects. A few minutes later, it all stopped. I was ready to go home and go trick-or-treating. But I discovered something that was very peculiar: My brother was staring out of the front door. I asked him why he was staring at the house. He said because the windows were glowing.

As soon as we opened the door, we were in horrifying shock. There was an array of mutant pumpkins, ghosts and cicadas. Since I opened the door, they jumped on us and escaped. They were stealing all the candy, and there’s nothing we children could do. I tried to punch a cicada but he blocked and punched me back. We could do nothing.

Just then, my brother had a spicy idea. He said the weakness of mutation is spiciness. So I went to the world’s greatest grocery store, Mr. Cooking World. I bought 150 red, yellow and green bell peppers. I also bought a tiny blender. I had to pay a total of $130.57.

As soon as I got home, I put the blender and the bell peppers on the countertop. I went to the shed and got four guns. It took 20 minutes to suck the juice out of the peppers. I broke the door, starting to spray the aliens. The spicy level was too hot for them. They were all running, screaming and crying. The ghosts, cicadas and pumpkins ran out of hydronetic living mutation and they spit out all the candy they ate.

That is the story of the evil mutant aliens that I killed with spicy guns. But then an angry scientist yelled at my brother for killing his army. We kids beat him up, tied him with ropes, put duct tape in his mouth and scolded him for 35 seconds. After that, we took him to school and locked him in the janitor’s closet.



Close Call

By Lexi Santiago Montgomery-Smith, a 6th grader at Sumner

As I was walking down my street to pick up by best friend Rachel, I was walking past so many houses looking at the decorations. Since it’s October 29th, a lot of people were still or just starting to decorate. Rachel happened to just start decorating, so I walked over to see if she needed any help. When we finished, we walked back to my house. While we were walking, we looked at some more cool houses with decorations. We came to an old house. I usually hurry past the spooky empty house on my street, but today I decided to stop and investigate.

Once we stopped, we strolled up a stone path and when we got to the porch we saw a bunch of cobwebs and spiders. We heard an enormous amount of crickets. Walking up to the house, we noticed the house’s windows were black. The house was wooden, it was painted gray and had little amounts of smoke coming out of the chimney. When we got to the window, we saw a white little sphere shape shoot across somewhere.

As we softly opened the door, we heard a door shut. When we got inside, we glanced left and saw a room. We saw a fireplace with some sticks on fire and a cauldron full of boiling liquid the color of puce. Once we finished looking at the fireplace, we went to the kitchen. While we were in the kitchen, we saw a shelf of potions. When we were looking at potions, we heard a door open.

When the door opened, we hid behind the counter. As we were hiding, we could hear two voices having a conversation. The two that were having the conversation quickly walked through the kitchen, and that’s when I got a knot in my stomach. The two walked away into the living room. Suddenly, they turned around and Rachel gasped.

As they hard Rachel gasp, they peeked over the counter and saw us. Rachel and I started running away from two weird ladies. We ran to a room, locked the door and crawled out the window. We ran all the way home.



Fairytales 2: The Investigation

By Sayvon Natan, a 6th grader at Sumner Elementary School

I’m back. (It’s me, Piper). Surprise, surprise, I was expelled. (For the 10th time.) Well, I found another school and it’s close to where my dad lives. (I walk to school now.) That’s the only thing that su—I mean stinks. (Second time I’ve done that.) There’s an abandoned house on my street. I usually go around the creepy house on my street, but one day I decided to stop and investigate. (Bad idea.)

So I went in the yard and it was 12 o’clock on a Halloween night. (Dun, dun, duuuun!) I guess I wasn’t the only one who wanted to investigate the house. I found a boy on the steps. I had the joy to freak him out. “What in the world are you doing here!”

“Ah, don’t hurt me ple. . .”

“I will if you don’t tell me who you are and what you are doing here!”

“I’m Kevin and I wanted to explore the house. Don’t hurt me,” the boy answered.”

Mad at “Kevin,” that’s what I was.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?” asked Kevin.

“Nosey much? I’m Piper and I’m doing the same as you, investigating, and since you’re here, why don’t you join me?”


I drop the act. “No.”

“Too bad.”

“Why me?” I whisper into the air. “Fine, but if you do something stupid, I WILL hurt you, no doubt.”

“You’re so nice,” he said sarcastically.

“Thank you,” I answer. Two can play at this game.

“Well, I’ve been trying for hours now. It won’t move,” said Kevin.

“Well, it’s locked, of course.” I got my bobby pin and started on the lock. It opened. (Finally.)

“How did you do that?” Kevin asked, surprised.

“I’m a mobster,” I answer.


“Too easy, but I have been in juvi plenty of times,” I answer and there’s silence.

So we go in the house. One word to describe it: creepy. We look around. Nothing. Nothing at all.  “Weird,” I whisper to Kevin. We go upstairs. Nothing.

“Well, this is great. Nothing but cobwebs.”

“Shush up,” I answer, but he had to talk some more.

“Why did we even loo—” Then I heard a scream.

I looked at Kevin. There was a knife in his back. I ran fast (thanks to track), down the stairs and out the door. I never knew what happened that night. I guess I’ll never know, but what I do know is I’ll never go back. Period.

The End. Or is it? Who knows.





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