Gazette’s “Scary/Spooky Story Contest” Winners
A lingering bracelet, a hungry alien, scary humans and, of course, zombies. You name it, and Portage County kids came up with it to creep us out and scare us silly in the Portage County Gazette’s first “Scary/Spooky Story Contest.”
A good story has several elements. Bannach School teacher Kris Kunkel specified the basics nicely in the five “Ws” assignment she gave her second-grade students. These elements plus creativity (along with lots of discussion and rereading followed by more debate) were the foundation for our judging:
— Character (who). The character(s) involved and related development.
— Theme (what). The topic and/or problem the character(s) encounters.
— Setting: (where and when). The location and happenings of the characters in a specific time frame.
— Plot (how and why). The actual story that the characters create and the outcome of the issues.
It was a rough go, combing through about 150 stories – not to mention some accompanying pictures – sent in to the Gazette to be judged. Our thoughts were to showcase the creativity in the community across all age groups, awarding publication and prizes.
Initially, we were going to publish just the top winner in each group. Not surprisingly, we found that decision difficult, so we’ve decided to publish top winners in the Gazette. All of the entrants offered something interesting, some type of fright and new twists.
Here are to all of the entries, which are separated by age groups:
Below are the winners for this year’s contest. We hope you enjoy these winning Scary/Spooky Stories as much as we do.
Ninth- through 12th-grade
First Place: Kayla Staples, ninth-grader at Ben Franklin Junior High School
The Silver Bracelet
By Kayla Staples
Clarisse stood before the window of her parents’ house in her mint dress, looking into the graveyard beyond. A cool breeze drifted through, causing Clarisse to shiver.
“Boo,” someone screamed causing Clarisse to jump. She turned around to see her best friend Emily, standing behind her, a huge grin on her face.
“Emily, you scared me half to death”, Clarisse gasped, a hand pressed to her chest.
“I’m that scary,” Emily asked, and clawed at the air like a ferocious beast. Clarisse laughed and glanced out the window, but what she saw stopped her short. A boy stood in the yard, an ethereal glow surrounding him.
“Clarisse, earth to Clarisse,” Emily said.
“Yes, sorry,” Clarisse said looking at her friend. Then, she glanced back out the window, to see that the boy had disappeared. “I left something outside,” she said, “I’ll be right back”. Without a second glance to see if Emily had heard her, she slipped out a sliding door, and into the backyard. Turning around, she looked for the boy. He had to be real.
Then, she saw him, standing at the entrance to the cemetery. He turned around, and walked into it, forcing Clarisse to run after him.
“Andrew,” she called, as her dead brother walked on further, always ahead of her. When at last, she seemed to lose him, she stopped to catch her breath. Then, all around her appeared a clique of ghosts. They threw streamers and played music, and there was Andrew again, slipping an exquisite silver bracelet on her wrist, and leading her into a dance.
They danced for hours, until the dark sky of night was touched by the pinks of dawn. Then, Andrew led her over to a gravestone made of marble.
Who died at dawn
It was then that she saw the hole in the ground, and an open coffin. Alarmed, she glanced around, as the group of ghosts advanced menacingly.
She backed up, but it was no good. It was Andrew himself who shoved her into the open grave. When Clarisse hit the wood of the coffin, everything faded away.
“Clarisse. Clarisse”. Emily stood over her. Clarisse looked around the see her living room, quiet, as if nothing had happened.
“Sorry Emily, I must’ve fallen asleep,” she sighed.
Emily still looked concerned but nodded. “Hey, where’d you get that bracelet?” A silver bracelet gleamed on Clarisse’s wrist.
Sixth- through eighth-grade
First Place: Tanina Levin, sixth-grade, Almond-Bancroft School
Second Place: Ally Raschka, sixth-grade, McDill School
Third Place: Pam Domres, sixth-grade, Plover-Whiting School
Honorable Mention: Lily Kontos, Stevens Point
Honorable Mention: Delilah Abundiz, sixth-grade, McDill School
The Haunted House
By Tanina Levin
My little sister, Amanda, and I were going trick-or-treating when we came to the front of this old house.
“I heard that house is haunted,” said Amanda.
“Amanda, there’s no such thing as ghosts,” I explained.
“Nicole, if you don’t believe me,” Amanda said, “I dare you to go inside!”
“FINE!” I shot back. “You’re on!”
I started walking toward the house. “Make sure the monsters don’t eat you!” Amanda called after me. “Where did she get this crazy stuff from?” I thought.
I finally got to the door and rang the doorbell. Almost immediately the door flung open, startling me, but no-one was there. I looked down and was confused. A little doll sat in the middle of the doorway staring at me. “Maybe it was there before,” I thought, “I just didn’t notice it.”
“See Amanda?” I called to my sister, “there’s nothing to be afraid – !” I didn’t get to finish my sentence when something grabbed my ankle and pulled so hard I fell to the ground.
“NICOLE!” Amanda screamed. I was going to call the word, “Help,” but the door slammed shut, leaving me in darkness.
I sat there shivering in the cold when a candle lit up showing the doll’s face. “Your sister is right,” the doll said. I was surprised to hear her talk. “This house is indeed haunted!”
“Get away from me!” I shouted. Before I knew it, monsters surrounded me.
“Get her!” the witch shrieked.
I immediately assumed that she was their leader. I staggered back and looked around quickly for something to use for a weapon. I kept scrambling back away from the monsters until I hit something and got my shirt wet a little bit. Water! Witches hate water! I grabbed the bucket and splashed all the water on her. What was weird is that I didn’t hear a dreadful scream. All I heard was a gasp. I opened my eyes and saw a girl about my age scowling at me.
“Seriously?” she said. “Do you know how long it takes for the makeup to look real?”
“Wait,” I said, “you all aren’t real?”
“Of course not,” she answered.
The vampire stepped up. “Every year, somebody is dared to come in here, so we thought we could give them a little scare,” he said.
“Can you guys help me get revenge on my sister?” They all nodded, and we did!
By Ally Raschka
On a normal ordinary night in Ohio, Brianna was texting her friends on all her social media apps. As always. Along with a few other notifications, she heard a “ding!” A picture from her best friend, Liberty! Brianna opened the picture, and it was a black screen captioned “what are you doing?”
She found it strange. no matter how bad of a hair day she was having, or how much acne she had, (Liberty) would always take a selfie. Brianna envied how confident she was.
Also, Brianna was almost POSITIVE that Liberty had lost her phone a few days ago. Brianna texted her “U found ur phone!!” with a few emojis to add some expression.
Brianna got no response, but it said that her message had been read. She wondered if her friend, that she was exchanging secrets with the other day, had been angry with her. So, she texted her again, “U ok?” No response again.
Wait! Liberty is typing! The text read “where are you?”
Brianna couldn’t believe it! She didn’t care how ridiculous the evidence was, this wasn’t her best friend. Her best friend never typed anything out all the way in her life.
Brianna typed, “Who is this, and where is Liberty?” Of course, no answer.
Oh no… Brianna realized that her location could be seen by anyone! Whoever this was, she doubted they meant no harm. She looked on the map, and… Oh no… They were almost here!
She knew no matter where she went, they would find her, because she couldn’t figure out how to turn off her location. She decided her best option was to call the cops. She checked the map, and he was exactly where she was! She hid in a closet until the police arrived. When they got to her house, they interviewed her. Common questions like, did you see him, and could they look at the messages and pictures.
They searched the area, but found nothing and no one suspicious. They said to call if anything was eerie or weird, and left. After they left, Brianna felt safer knowing they searched, because the person she was chatting with was probably gone.
Brianna sat on the couch and started texting her friend Julie. As she hit “send,” she felt a large, gloved hand cover her mouth…
The Mirror Girl
By Pam Domres
Are the things in the mirror there? Since the murder of my mother, everything has turned upside down. The moment I entered the Naperville Orphanage, I knew something was off, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
As I looked into the mirror, I realized there was a school girl with black hair and no pupils staring at me from behind. I turned around and the girl was gone. I hid under the covers until dinner bell.
As I sat down, I looked into the reflection of the spoon and she was standing there again. I tried to shake her out of my head, but I mentally couldn’t do it.
As the thousands of thoughts bounced around my head, one caught my attention. “Tell someone about her.” I noticed that every time I look into the mirror, she gets more and more real. Most nights, I rock and cry myself to sleep, because I’m scared she will come back.
I finally worked up the courage to tell someone. As I was walking to the Head Lady’s office, someone touched my shoulder. I turned and saw the girl again.
I woke up a little while later. Where was I? In front of me was some kind of window, and behind me was an old chair, a dresser, and a bed. I pressed my face against the window and out of nowhere the school girl’s horrifying face passed me with my friends from the orphanage.
Once it hit me, I realized I was in the mirror. I frantically searched for a door and pounded on the mirror, but there was no way out. She left me to rot in the mirror.
All the pain and terror I have day and night is making me disappear. Then making her a living nightmare in the orphanage. I just created a demon and let it escape! I guess there is no happy ending like all the other stories (have). I guess we have to face the fact that I’m going to suffer and rot in this room for the rest of my life.
Third- through fifth-grade
First Place: Kerstyn Clark, fifth-grade, Almond-Bancroft School
Second Place: Jaden Garski, third-grade, Plover-Whiting School
Third Place: Annabell, third-grade, McDill School
Honorable Mention: Kiley, third-grade, McDill School
Honorable Mention: Isaac Snyder, fourth-grade, Amherst School
The Day the Goblin Came to Town
By Kerstyn Clark
One stormy night, a girl named Kenna was walking home from church. The wind was whistling. There was a human shaped figure. Kenna walked closer to it. Then she saw it! It was a goblin!
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Kenna screamed. She ran off.
The next day Kenna woke up, looked out her window, and there it was again! The goblin! She went outside to talk to it.
“What do you want?” she asked.
“I need to know to get home” said the goblin.
“Hmm” Kenna thought. “I don’t know,” she said. “Why don’t you come inside, I’ll hide you.”
“OK” the goblin said.
Kenna thought the goblin was nice. Kenna hid the goblin in the closet. “I can’t wait till tonight,” the goblin thought. “Heehee!” he snarled.
For supper, Kenna had spaghetti. She gave the goblin some. For dessert, she had brownies. She had none to spare to the goblin, but the goblin didn’t care. He doesn’t like human food, but he did like little girls. The goblin pretended he had to go to the bathroom so he banged on the closet door when Kenna was in the room.
She opened the door and said, “What do you want?”
“I need to go to the bathroom outside,” the goblin said.
“Ok,” Kenna said. She snuck the goblin outside without her parents seeing.
She snuck him back in when the goblin was done. She was surprised how quick it took him.
Kenna went to bed. The goblin came out. He was about to pounce. He was on top of Kenna now. She mysteriously woke up. She screamed and WHACK!
Kenna punched the goblin in the face! The goblin screamed in pain. “I’m so sorry,” Kenna said, “but why were you on top of me?”
“I am about to eat you,” The goblin said.
“Why are you hurting me?”
“Because we have no more little girls on Jupiter, and we have to forage for our own food.”
“Can you at le-,” Kenna started. She got cut off. The goblin had to hear no more. He pounced and there was no more Kenna in the world. The goblin knew his way home like the back of his hand. He went to his flying saucer and went home with a full stomach.
By Jaden Garski
John made a fluid to test for an experiment. While John was going to test it out, John tripped on a rock outside, and accidentally spilled the fluid on chickens, and the chickens grew bigger and bigger. They also turned very evil.
John backed up. The chickens crushed everything and everyone except for John.
John was a scientist, and usually scientists get things right, but John was in such a hurry, John got it wrong, and John spilled it on the chickens and the chickens turned to ash, and John was the only one left on the Earth.
John was wondering where everyone was. Two days later, John found out that everyone was gone, and John went to go sit down on his rocking chair. John sat there for the rest of his life. Now John is the only one left.
The Bunny Vampire
One Halloween night, Hana the bunny was home alone while her parents were taking her little sister trick-or-treating. She heard a knock at the door. She felt scared, because the man was wearing a black boogy mask and was holding a big sack.
Suddenly, she was in it!
The next thing she knew, she was different, but she did not know why.
Later that night, she had the craving to bite somebody and her mouth started to hurt. Then she turned into a vampire. She wanted to bite someone so badly, but she fought through it. She went home and made a potion that would change her back to normal.
Her parents never found out.
The Three Bears
Once upon a time, there were three bears. Their names were Papa, Mamam and Baby Bear. One of their fears was people.
So one day, Papa Bear went out to cut some wood. Then he saw something, and it was a human! Papa gasped and ran inside and screamed “human!”
Mamam Bear and Baby Bear hid from the human. Papa Bear ran to the backyard and hid too, and the human ran away.
Papa Bear felt bad, so he got flowers from his backyard and tried to find the human. He finally found the human and gave him the flowers, and when he gave him the flowers, he invited the human for dinner and had the best day ever!
The Graveyard Ghoul
By Isaac Snyder
One day me and my best friend, Colton, were walking home from school. We always walk past a graveyard. We heard a creepy story about a kid walking in there and never coming out!
Well, one day we were walking home from school, and we saw a hand sticking out of the rock hard ground! We had to decide if we should go in there. Colton wanted to and I didn’t. We did rock, paper, scissors, and Colton won. So we went in the graveyard. But when we looked at the grave where the hand had been seen, the hand was gone. There was a hole instead.
I began to feel creeped out by the whole situation. Suddenly, I could feel a cold hand on my shoulder. I turned around and saw an ugly face with only one eye and about ten stitches. Colton and I ran to the gate but we couldn’t escape. Ten zombies were blocking the graveyard gate. Every single zombie looked the same except one. One of them was an ugly blob ghoul thing, way in the back, and way bigger than a zombie. The ghoul shouted, “Get them!’’ The zombies attacked.
Colton and I took a run for it. There was a little hole between the zombies, so we took a chance and we ran for it. We made it out! We ran to my house, faster than either of us had ever run before.
Colton slept at my house that night. We could hardly catch our breath all night long. In the morning we asked my mom to drive us to school, rather than risk a second zombie attack.
There has been no news of any recent attacks, but Colton and I know what happened that night and will NOT go that way to school EVER again!
Kindergarten through second-grade
First Place: Zeb Jagoditsh, second-grade, Bannach School
Second Place: Kennedy Scott, first-grade, Roosevelt School
Third Place: Levi Jesch, second-grade, Bannach School
Honorable Mention: Alton Northwood, first-grade, Roosevelt School
Honorable Mention: Oliver Snyder, Amherst Elementary
By Zeb Jagoditsh
It scared a person on Sunday night in the graveyard.
Because it’s a zombie.
By Kennedy Scott
There once was a skeleton and a crow. They lived in a haunted house at night, not at day.
Then, skeleton woke up and Bop! Boop! He changed into a dog! But he still sounded like himself.
“Crow!” yelled Skeleton.
“What?” said Crow as he walked down the stairs. Crow saw and called a witch and Skeleton turned back!
By Levi Jesch
Levi scared his brother.
Last night, in public.
Because it was funny.
By Alton Northwood
A dinosaur named Dan went for a walk. He was looking for leaves for his friends.
He fell into a giant pumpkin.
In the night, the dinosaur is trapped in a giant pumpkin. Dan sat in green slime. He pounded and pounded with his tail to make a hole.
He plans to make his home in the pumpkin.
By Oliver Snyder
Before you begin this nightmare, you have to know a little bit about Sparkletin. He is a crazy, yellow lion that eats bees and has a lisp. He lives in a place called Tin Town. It is a happy place filled with bright colors and bees.
One sunny day, Sparkletin was walking on the street eating bees. The bees did not always like this, so one day the bees wanted revenge.
One bee got out of his grave and sprinkled magic stuff all over the grave. Everything came alive.
Monster bees went to Sparkletin’s house and knocked on the door. Sparkletin did not answer. Instead, Sparkletin went to his bedroom, went under his blanket, and went to sleep.
In the morning, he heard another knock. Sparkletin answered the door and the bee monster said “BOO!” Sparkletin ran out the door and started running to the bee buffet. He rested there and he had a little bit of bee juice. The bees stopped at the door. Sparkletin went around the back and sneaked up on the bee monsters. He ate the monster bees; they tasted the same, just a bit spicier.
Sparkletin and Tin Town returned to its colorful, bee buzzing busy town filled with sparkles that whistled and played all day long.