I Want to Get Creeped Out

Credit: duke.edu
Credit: duke.edu

Well, it’s Halloween. Ever since I was a kid, Halloween has been my favorite holiday (though I seem to recall thinking that every upcoming holiday was my ‘favorite’ holiday).

As I got older, Halloween became less about trick-or-treating, candy, and creepy things, and more about partying, booze, and scantily clad costumes. I’m sure many of you can relate.

This year, though, Halloween is going to be pretty quiet for me. And I’m actually looking forward to it. Though part of me is nagging at myself to actually DO something on my favorite holiday, another part of me is relieved to just be antisocial. By being antisocial, I plan to actually get into the creepy, scary spirit of the holiday, rather than the sex-driven, drinking-way-too-many-spirits spirit. Having a night to myself on my favorite holiday will give me the chance to sit down by myself and watch a scary movie. Or read a scary story. These are things I always want to do to celebrate Halloween, but hardly get the alone time to actually do them. Now I have the chance.

In the creepy spirit of Halloween, I want to share a story that I read back in senior year of high school: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This story was written in 1899, so its copyright is definitely expired, which means you can find it all over the internet (but click the link I provided for a good PDF version).

On top of the story showing how the protagonist goes insane in an attic due to her experience of oppression as a woman in the 1800s (which is creepy enough–yet another ‘mad woman in the attic’ in Victorian literature), the way she descends into insanity and obsession with this ugly yellow wallpaper surrounding her is so unsettling. I think what creeps me out the most about this story is the way Gilman uses the word “creep.” I never realized how creepy the idea of “creeping” and feeling “creepy” could be until reading The Yellow Wallpaper. If you are having a quiet Halloween too, you should take a look at this.

And with that, I must ask: What is the creepiest story you’ve ever read? I’d love some recommendations. I want to creep myself out this Halloween.


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