29 Oct 2010

Haunted House and Gruesome Graveyard: Story Settings for Halloween.

I love this time of year, with its dark, windy nights, the colourful leaves piling up on the lawn and the fruits of our summer labour (which is basically limited to watching the fruit grow and ripen) stacked in the pantry.
I don't even mind the fuss about Halloween, but it probably helps that trick-or-treating is not very popular here.

Actually, I remember only one instance where one of the neighbour's kids came to ring our door bell on Hallow's Eve, possibly lured by the jack-o-lantern I'd put on our doorstep. It happened a few years ago, and it was an utterly embarrassing experience.
I try not to have any candy in the house, so I had to dig into my emergency stash of dark, bitter (Belgian) chocolate.
Who could have guessed that he wouldn't be happy? Either way, we haven't seen him since. I can only assume he survived.

What I love most about the end of October is that invisible blanket of deep but snug melancholy that seems to cover us all. Once more, we remember our loved ones, we start contemplating the year that's coming to an end, prepare ourselves for a cold (and possibly long) winter, and gather around the fire to express our hopes for what might come next. (There might have been some projection going on in this paragraph.)

It's also a great period for writing. I usually find my imagination running wild, especially late at night, trying to squeeze my novel or other stories into twists and turns I wouldn't think of during the lighter half of the year.

Today, in anticipation of the days to come, I wanted to share a few pictures I've taken over the past couple of years. It's an eclectic collection, but they're all places or buildings that could be the perfect setting for a ghost story, a scary novel or a real-life Halloween gathering with friends.

Now picture these locations on a dark October night. What gloomy adventures could be happening there, at this very moment?

Boscastle, Cornwall. The Museum of Witchcraft

Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire, England

Graveyard at Asthall, Oxfordshire, England

Details on one of the tombs.
Graveyard at Asthall, Oxfordshire, England

Church of Notre Dame at Epernay, France

Alchemist's Street, up in the castle. Prague, Czech Republic

Old castle steps. Prague, Czech Republic.

Graveyard, Crail, Scotland

House in Olot, Catalunya, Spain

Jewish cemetery in Worms, Germany

Temple of Mars, Rome, Italy
[Except for the jack-o-lanterns, all images in this article were made by the author]

This post was inspired by the Halloween "Book or Treat" blog party for Unicef. You can find out more - and donate - after clicking on the image below:

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