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Spooky Storytelling: Pass It On


Campers seem to love it. Passing on stories while the embers burn bright on a cool fall night is something we look forward to with trembling. Storytelling has been the most popular way to pass on folklore down through the ages. Here are some storytelling techniques to straighten their hair.

Storytelling on Halloween is expected. At least one ghostly story has to be told to an attentive audience. Movies are okay, but when the details are left to the imagination, the story takes on new life. Here are some tips to get everyone scared stiff with your story this Halloween.

1. Choose an appropriate venue. If you own a fire pit, let the storytelling begin outside. Cooler weather may mean you have to provide some blankets but that adds to the atmosphere. Inside the house, choose a quiet location big enough for everyone to sit in a circle. Instead of a fire, use a battery operated lantern or candle.

2. Turn off the lights. You can’t tell a good ghost story with the lights on. Outdoors, wait until the sun is completely down to start your tale.

3. Know the story. It can be read from a book or spoken from memory but get it right. A botched ghost story is like mangling a good joke by revealing the punch line. A good storyteller practices his craft so that his listeners won’t be disappointed.

4. Have an accomplice. Someone has to emphasize your high points with some creative theatrics. The theatrical help doesn’t need to be loud or overstated. A few noises or whispers that could be the wind or the trash can falling over are perfect to make the story more real.

5. Dress the part. No one will be frightened by someone in Bermuda shorts and a polo shirt. A dark cloak, some makeup, and a few well hidden props add to your fierceness. Some storytellers use a flashlight under their chin as the only source of light. This is a classic trick, but more light allows for listeners to catch a glimpse of your tricks as they unfold.

6. Choose a story that mixes fact with fiction. If you want to get people to believe you, adding a bit of fact will get the listeners thinking about the validity of the story. Also, choosing a story situation that could come true will put your story over the top.
Do you have a flare for the dramatic? If you do, consider telling a spooky story at the Halloween party this year.

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