Halloween is one of our favorite holidays here at HBB but it always seems to sneak up on us. We had some grand plans for the blog and wanted to do a scary story each week, or visit haunted locations on the island and take pictures, but trekking to spooky places in between library visits proved harder than we thought. (Just for fun, here’s a list of reputedly haunted sites across the islands). I couldn’t let the holiday ghost by without a few reading suggestions- no tricks, just spine tingling literary treats! So, here are some book halloween(2)recommendations for all ages this Halloween, guaranteed to bring a chill to the humid nights we’ve been having. If you’re like me and planning to sit on the lanai after some trick-or-treating fun (it’s too hot in the house!), with some candles and a flashlight to tell scary stories by, you can pretty much check out anything from Glen Grant’s Chicken Skin series and Obake books. Most of the tales are short enough to share, and since they take place in Hawaii it’s even scarier to think about them being right around the corner.

One of Island Heritage’s Premier Picture books is perfect for young readers this Halloween season. The Boy Who Tricked the Ghosts by Ellie Crowe, who also wrote Duke’s Olympic Feet that we reviewed here during the Olympics, will surely help get any child into the spirit of Halloween fun. It’s a story about a young kolohe boy who gets banished to Lanai, “the island of ghosts” for misbehaving. Through his cleverness and determination he tricks the ghosts, defeats a sorceress and saves the day. It’s skillfully illustrated by one of Hawaii’s most talented artists, Tammy Yee, who does an excellent job depicting the eerie scenes and really makes those ghosts look frightening.  There were parts of this book that even scared ME, but it ends happily and all is set to rights. You don’t wanna spook the kids too much after all… there’s only so much room in mom and dad’s bed.

For something a bit more substantial, young and adult readers would enjoy Night of the Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury, recently reprinted by Laurel Leaf Press in 2009. It’s a novel length story about a troop of Boy Scouts camping on the Big Island and experiencing everything from night marchers to natural disasters. It’s a masterful example of how locals blend stories and superstition in our culture. This book is literally a thrill ride from start to finish and has a little bit of everything in it-adventure, suspense, drama, horror. I’d recommend it anytime, not just for Halloween… or reading anything by Graham Salisbury anytime for that matter. He’s written a variety of novels based on things that have inspired him in Hawaii and is like the local version of Gary Paulsen. Check out his author page at where you can even find this story as an electronic Kindle download. His official webpage is also an interesting site to peruse.

What goes better with ghosts, than ghost towns? Hawaii author Harry Helms has been keeping a personal blog about life in general and has compiled photos of his trips to several ghost towns across America. He’s an entertaining writer and his blog is worth a look, especially since he blogs about things that happen in Hawaii, his travels, special events and projects, funny things that happen… all kines! I thought the ghost town compilation might interest a few folks this month. Although not particularly frightening, it is a bit weird and eerie to see these pictures of houses and buildings completely abandoned and forlorn looking. Check it out here.

We are fortunate to be a part of a local culture that is mutually respectful and fascinated with ghosts and elements of the strange and unknown. Here in Hawaii we like to talk story… even scary kine, or especially scary kine! Everyone here knows a spooky story that either happened to them or someone they know, and people are usually happy to share. I recently stumbled upon a scarcely promoted site called “Weird Hawaii” where people can go and share their scary stories. There’s  a nice little collection of tales describing the strange things that have happened to people in the islands. I’m tempted to add a few of my own… they’ll all start out with “Dis one time…”

What are YOUR spooky stories? What places do you avoid at night?

**Check out the first comment on my terrifying experience at Bishop Museum! It was one of the scariest things that has ever happend to me! Then leave us a message with your spooky story!