I’m delighted to be hosting Angela on my blog today with her Halloween Horror Story…
Angela Woolfe’s Halloween Horror Story
I’m sure that many other kids of the 70s, like me, grew up with very little experience of Halloween in the UK. Bonfire Night was the big one: the night of toffee apples, and sparklers in the back garden, and staying up late even if it was a school night. Halloween was a mere blip on the festive calendar, although – as my sister has a birthday on 31st October – I do mistily remember one solitary Halloween-themed party where, for some reason only known to themselves, my usually mild-mannered parents decided to play ‘scary’ party games with a bunch of creeped-out nine-year-olds. The point at which my mum turned out the lights for a terrifying interactive murder-mystery game, complete with the passing-around of peeled grapes that were meant to be the victim’s eyeballs, and prunes that were meant to be severed ears, will long remain one of my favourite Halloween memories – and all the better because Halloween itself felt, back then, such a glamorous American import.
Fast-forward a few decades, and – now with a nearly-nine-year-old of my own – I’ve had many more Halloween experiences since – and, with some regret, far fewer Bonfire Night ones. I will always remember my daughter’s first ‘proper’ Halloween, which was also our first in the house we still live in. She was a teeny-tiny toddler witch, too nervous to be taken round the local streets trick-or-treating herself (or maybe I was the nervous one…!) but delighted to open the door to all the ‘big children’ and proffer her jar of Tangfastics. Once she’d started nursery – and then school – and made friends of her own, we were off on the Halloween track with a vengeance. She still plans her outfit months in advance (this year she’s going as Boudicca; it’s not yet clear whether this is before or after she was massacred by the Romans) and the excitement begins to build from late September onwards. A couple of days before the Main Event, we dig out our extensive, if slightly ropey selection of Halloween decorations and inexpertly hang them around our front door; we carve an increasingly-elaborate Jack O’Lantern too, and pop him by the gate as a symbol to all the kids in the area that we are ‘open’ for trick-or-treaters.
Last year, what with trick-or-treating becoming yet another event ‘cancelled’ due to Covid, I didn’t want to lose an entire Halloween. Trick-or-treating seems to become less of a thrill by the time you reach the age of eleven or twelve: how many more exciting Halloweens will we have left before our once tiny toddler witches lose the sense of the joy of the whole silly thing? So, with my daughter’s best friend, with whom we’ve now shared Halloweens since they were three years old, we mums put on a Covid-aware-outdoors-Halloween-party-for-two. Technically (some drivel to do with Tiers, which thank HEAVENS is now long forgotten, if not entirely forgiven) they weren’t even allowed in our house, so we put up a rickety old tent in our tiny back garden, lit it with fairy lights and supplied the girls with pretty much all the Haribo and Celebrations we’d normally have handed out to the streams of kids who come to the front door. They entertained each other with online Harry Potter quizzes; we mums sat by the back door (TECHNICALLY inside, but only JUST), ate homemade hotdogs and drank (possibly one too many) gin and tonics. It wasn’t the same, but still, it was Halloweenly brilliant.
About the Author
Angela Woolfe is the author of the Avril Crump trilogy as well as a series of magical adventures for younger readers under the pseudonym Emerald Everheart. She is married with one young daughter, who is even more obsessed with fairy tales than she is. Her Roxy & Jones books are a hilarious modern fairy-tale mash-up set in a world in which witches are real, magic is real and fairy tales are not only real … but recent history.
Roxy & Jones: The Curse Of The Gingerbread Witch is the latest adventure in the Kingdom Of Illustria. Roxy Humperdinck is still reeling from the Great Fairy Tale Cover-up when Cinderella Jones returns with a new mission: to investigate The Missing – the children who followed the Pied Piper into the mountain thirty years ago, never to be seen again. And so begins another crazy adventure that takes the girls up Jack’s beanstalk, through Red Riding Hood’s Woods … and to the cottage of the most evil villain of all time, the Gingerbread Witch.
Another fabulously fun adventure with Roxy and Jones as we meet characters and journey through settings from a whole host of fairytales.
Angela has taken well loved tales and woven them into a story and world all of her own, with quick wit, warmth and a very wordy mirror. From the SkyZone to the Deadwoods we encounter new cover-ups and characters at every turn. I loved seeing Roxy growing with confidence and understanding of the world she inhabits as she battles with finding her place in her family.
This is such a feelgood series that would make for great read alouds in class, hilarious bedtimes, and is just the kind of book I kept a torch under my bed for when I was a child.
Great for fans of:
- The Land Of Stories series by Chris Colfer
- The Fairytale Detectives series by Michael Buckle
Roxy & Jones: The Curse Of The Gingerbread Witch is out now, £6.99, published by Walkers Books.
You can read my review of The Great Fairytale Cover-Up here.
Huge thanks to Walker Books for inviting me to take part in the SpoOooOOokey Halloween blog tour. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.