Here’s a treat for Halloween: a ghost story, perfect for reading to kids (or grownups) who want to be frightened just a little on Halloween.
The story comes from my play, Welcome to the Neighborhood, and promises to be a spooky way to end the night or begin your morning (that depends on when you’re reading it, I suppose). If you’re reading it aloud, you can read it as if only one character is telling the story and leave out Chloe’s lines completely. For added effect, you could change the name “Chloe” to the name of the person you’re telling the story to.
I hope you enjoy it. If you’re interested in reading the rest of the play, click on the picture at the end of the story – for a few dollars, you can get your very own copy of the full play.
Set Up: Four girls are having a slumber party over at Chloe’s house. Chloe is new neighborhood and tends to frighten easily. The other girls decide to take advantage of this by telling her a ghost story now that a storm has taken the lights out and the only lights come from their flashlights.
Alexis: Are you afraid, Chloe? (Alexis stares at her pointedly. Chloe hesitates and then speaks.)
Chloe: No, why would I be scared? It’s just a story, right?
Alexis: That’s right. I’ll start. (Alexis takes a seat on the floor. She is joined by Cindy and Emily. The three girls look to Chloe, who slowly joins the circle. They all sit in a circle while holding their flashlights.) It was a dark and stormy night and little . . . Chloe was all alone in a really big and old house. The oldest house in the neighborhood, where legend has it that an entire family disappeared and was never heard from again. Chloe’s parents were gone for the night and she didn’t like staying by herself, especially here . . . in this house.
Chloe: You think you could change--
Cindy: (Stares at Chloe. Matter of factly.) No. (Pause.) So Chloe decided the best thing to do would be to go to her room and get under the covers and stay there until her parents came back home. She slowly made her way up the stairs, hearing every sound that this old house made. She finally made it to her room, ran and jumped into her bed and pulled the sheets over her head. All was quiet until she heard a noise. A noise so soft she could barely hear it. It sounded like something scraping against the window. Then it started getting louder. And louder. Was that someone scratching at her window? (The sound of scratching is heard at a window. They all jump a little.) She wanted to look, but she was scared. Scared of what she might see. But then she couldn’t take it anymore. She slowly pulled the covers down and she saw--
Chloe: What did she see?
Cindy: A tree branch getting blown against the window. Chloe laughed a little about how silly she was being. What could happen? Her parents would be home soon. She started feeling a little braver, but then--
Emily: . . . she heard movement downstairs. What could that be? She was the only one home and Gracie was sound asleep. Maybe she was hearing things. But then she heard it again. It was a footstep. Definitely a footstep. Then another. And another. Chloe quickly pulled the covers over her head. The footsteps were getting louder and louder. Were they getting closer too? Chloe thought. Then--
Alexis: . . . she heard a voice saying “Chloe . . . Chloe . . . Chloe.”
Chloe: Really, that’s enough. I can’t--
Alexis: It’s not enough! The story isn’t done yet. (Pause. Alexis stands up and starts to walk slowly around the girls.) The footsteps were getting louder and louder. And the voice continued to say “Chloe . . . Chloe . . .” With each passing moment, Chloe became more afraid. She could feel her heart beating faster and faster. Then she heard her doorknob twist . . . followed by the creak of the door as it slowly opened. Whoever it was . . . was now in her room. Chloe tried to hold her breath and not scream. She heard the footsteps coming closer to the bed, while the voice kept chanting--
Cindy/Emily: Chloe . . . Chloe . . . I know where you’re hiding. (Emily and Cindy stand up and the girls begin circling Chloe. Cindy and Emily begin whispering “Chloe . . . Chloe . . . Chloe,” gradually getting louder and louder as Alexis takes over the story.)
Alexis: The figure was at the foot of the bed . . . then the middle . . . then Chloe felt the presence right beside her head. She could hear the person breathing. Chloe became more and more afraid. She didn’t know what to do. She felt the person bend closer. Then she thought of her parents. How could they leave her alone like this? The she felt hands on her sheet. This was it. There was no escape. Suddenly, the covers were ripped back and she heard:
Alexis/Emily/Cindy: (This is said as they jump at her.) Chloe!!! (Chloe jumps up and backs near the stage left window. All three girls burst out into laughter.)
Chloe: You guys are so mean. You know I hate it when you gang up on me. I already feel like enough of an --- (She stops speaking when she sees Alexis, Emily, and Cindy freeze as they see something behind her.) What? Are you trying to scare me again? Well, it won’t work.
Emily: Chloe, c’mon over here. Now.
Alexis: And don’t turn around, whatever you do.
Chloe: I’m not falling for that again. As a matter of fact, watch this. (She turns around to see a person with a white mask staring back at her.)
Here it is. Steven's blog, where his thoughts about things are revealed. Good luck.