Three short stories about Halloween turn regular trick-or-treating into imaginative forays into the supernatural. In one, an accident outside the costume store means that a young girl goes home with a real witch’s broomstick that comes alive on Halloween night. In the second, two mischievous boys cause havoc all evening, much to their father’s dismay. However, in their nightly bath, someone causes havoc with them, sending them into a deep sea adventure. The third tale delves into the sinister with a group of girls who leave their houses as harmless revelers. Then, they change their outfits to “become” a group of vampires scaring the other kids including a group of bullies. However, they meet up with some real vampire children and are taken home with the intention of becoming the vampires’ treats.
The three vignettes fill their pages with humor, excitement, and just enough spookiness to let you know you’re reading about that scariest of holidays, Halloween. The language is simple enough for early readers, but the stories are clever and exciting enough for all ages to enjoy. The engaging characters are not always lovable, with several trouble-making heroes, but they always remain interesting. However, there is no doubt who the stars are in every tale as kids rule the scenes with imagination and a zest for the holiday and the grown-ups just drag along.
The drawings pair well with the quirky storylines with simple, straightforward lines depicting the characters coupled with more complicated backgrounds. There is a great use of color throughout all three stories. The real world has bright lighting and happy splashes of lime greens and pinks. The supernatural elements plunge the setting into shadows with only the action illuminated. Not a panel is wasted, they all add something to the stories.
All-in-all, these are humorous and exciting shorts with enough horror to send just a hint of a shiver up your spine. They would make a good choice for anyone who is looking for some thrilling tales and Halloween fun, especially early readers.
That One Spooky Night
by Dan Bar-el
Art by David Huyck
Kids Can Press, 2012