It’s that time of year! Time to get your costumes ready for trick-or-treating, time to carve that pumpkin into the best Jack-O-Lantern ever and time to break out the bats and skulls to decorate your RV with. Soon it will be Halloween, and this year, you want to make the most out of Halloween in your RV! In honor of this horror movie of a holiday, you’ve decided that you’re going to take the family and the fifth wheeler out for a bit of fall family fun.
You know there will be plenty of decor at your campsite, and you’ve brought plenty of items to set up around your RV and it’s lot. You’ve got some games planned and plenty of apples to bob for. But, you don’t have any plans for what was one of your favorite campfire memories as a youngster… the spooky campfire story. Let’s face it. You want to scare your family with some fun spine-tingling stories, not leave them with nothing but belly laughs. Here are some tips on making the most out of your spooky campfire story telling session.
BEFORE THE FIRE IS LIT
Don’t just read the story, tell it! Your family will be more excited with a performance than just plain old story time. So, just like a Broadway actor, you’ll want to read the story a few times to familiarize yourself with it before acting it out. After you do this, you’ll know the spots to slow down and to speed up. You’ll know the parts when you should talk… very… very… quietly and you’ll know the parts when you should YELL! If your story choice has multiple characters, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with them and come up with voices or accents for each of them. Remember, this is a performance. Think Vincent Price, not Mr. Rogers.
THE STAGE IS SET
You’re looking for a storytelling session more like Phantom Of The Opera and not like Beauty and the Beast, so remember that your surroundings are super important. A low flickering campfire will provide the perfect ambience as opposed to a full on inferno. If possible, you’ll want to set the stage so that everyone in the audience is seated around the campfire facing you. Since you don’t want them distracted by other goings on behind you as you tell the tale, try and make sure that the woods or the darkest area of the campgrounds is directly behind you. One final rule to always follow: no onegets a flashlight but you! That way, you’ll be the focus of the audience.
Another tip to remember: the spookiest stories are often the ones that are ‘set’ in the area where the story is being told. Think about swapping out specific locations, if there are any, with landmarks related to your campsite. For example, “The story starts right in those woods behind you on a cold Iowa night just like this one” is much more effective than, “The story starts in London on a dark, foggy night.”
THE CLOCK STRIKES
Just as important as the way the storyteller behaves is the way the audience behaves. You’ll likely have all sorts of ages huddled around the campfire, and you want to make sure it’s the best for everyone. Keeping that in mind, it’s very important to make sure there are no distractions around the flames. You and your story should be the focus of attention, not the latest tweets from your kids’ high school, so make sure the electronics are put away. Ask them to refrain from making noise and causing other distractions like talking loudly, laughing or knocking stuff together.
THE TALE FROM THE CRYPT
All of the tips above do nothing without a good spine-chilling, spook-worthy story. So, if you don’t have a favorite, traditional tale to weave, you can come up with your own. You could frame your story around current events, so your audience feels connected, or you could base it around a realistic situation like being lost in the woods or stranded on the side of the road. Urban legends that have struck a chord with your kids could be a good choice as well as crafting a story around bits of their everyday lives. I mean, could your son’s carpentry teacher actually be crafting spikes to stick all of his classmates heads on??? If none of those trip your trick-or-treat trigger, check out this collection of spooky campfire stories for children or this one for the bigger babies!
One last tip: if you’re telling a favorite story, make to sure to change it up each year. Twist the ending or add in some more scary moments to give them something unexpected. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be at the tail end of the tale telling on some Hallow’s Eve to come.