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Friday, October 25, 2013

Spooky Literary Destinations (and vote to help decide my daughter's Halloween costume)

Aaaaand, here is my second annual encore post of spooky literary destinations! Halloween is around the corner, so I thought I’d bring you five literary destinations that are surrounded by spookiness, but would still make for a fun family trip.

But first, if you would like to help decide my 4-year-old's Halloween costume for this year, here are her top choices (YOU CAN VOTE IN THE COMMENTS):

1. Panda Bear (advantage of this one is that it would be sweatsuit-based & therefore a warm choice~ my area of CO could be chilly that night).

2. Tinkerbell (she's got fairy sheets and loves the Tinkerbell movies)

3. Bigfoot Hunter (she's a big fan of the tv show Finding Bigfoot~ watches reruns with her dad and brother).

4. Cat Ballerina w/ a crown~ don't really know if this qualifies as a "costume" or is just a matter of putting on a bunch of stuff in her dress-up trunk. But she told me to put it on the list.

~~~

Okay, spooky destinations....
Drumroll, please (and a big thank you to Wikipedia for assistance):

TRANSYLVANIA- This region of Romania (see the photo above for a landscape photo) is the location of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a novel that’s said to be (in part) based on the real-life horror story of Vlad the Impaler, who was said to have killed between 40,000 to 100,000 Europeans.


Click HERE for Transylvania tourism info. It looks like a gorgeous and friendly place for a vacation :)





SLEEPY HOLLOW, NEW YORK- Both in written and Disney form, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, is a beloved and spooky tale. It takes place in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (based on Tarrytown, New York) in an isolated glen called Sleepy Hollow.

Now you can visit the real village of Sleepy Hollow, New York! The town website is adorable, and it looks like they host one heck of a haunted hayride! There are tons of community events, many hosted in the lovely Irvington Town Hall. The image is of the Headless Horeseman Bridge.

SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS-Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible is a dramatization of the real-life Salem Witch trials. It is the town of Danvers, once known as Salem Village, that was the main site of the hangings of nineteen people (14 women, 5 men). One man was crushed to death by heavy stones, in an attempt to make him enter a plea. 29 people were convicted of the capital felony of witchcraft. Seriously interesting and sad stuff.

Anyway, you should know that Danvers, the true site, changed its name specifically to avoid notoriety. Salem Town (Click HERE for a city guide) capitalized on its name and became the tourism mecca for witchcraft buffs everywhere.

As one visitor from Chicago noted, “The whole thing mostly happened down the road? Well, that bites. And here I was just getting into this nice déjà vu historical groove.”

ESTES PARK, CO-Stephen King once wrote an itty-bitty book called The Shining. Ever heard of it? It’s about a man who takes a job as caretaker of The Overlook Hotel in a remote area of Colorado. It’s said that a stay at The Stanley Hotel (pictured to the left) in Estes Park, Colorado inspired Stephen King to write the book.

I’ve been to Estes Park many times, mostly because of its location as a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.

It’s gorgeous and full of touristy shops. Jam-packed with visitors and locals alike. Mostly visitors, though. The town is a good hour from Denver, and the drive is beautiful. At 7,500 feet, the altitude feels much higher than my home at 7,552 feet. Must be bigger mountains and the slightly isolated feel. And the ghosties, of course. Like most mountain towns in Colorado, the weather is unpredictable, making it the perfect inspiration for one of the creepiest stories (and movies) of the season.

ELSINORE, DENMARK- Much of the Shakespeare play Hamlet takes place in Elsinore Castle in the Kingdom of Denmark. The actual castle you would visit these days is called Kronborg Castle (click HERE for historical info).

It’s one of the top tourist attraction and historical sites in Denmark, and is surrounded by a fortress area near the port to Elsinore city. The harbor is near the entrance to the sound between Sweden and Denmark. This might not seem like a Halloween tale to you, but there are ghosts, murders, and intrigue galore (despite this sunny photo of the castle, it's said to be haunted. Yes, that's right,haunted. Now hand over the entrance fee and get in line to see for yourself).

Happy Halloween!

33 comments:

  1. All good spooky choices. The costume is hard for me to pick, I'd say which ever one makes your daughter do the happy dance, is the one to go with, then work around the cold Halloween air.

    PS: We have a gas stove, so it was super easy to make that cauldron. Good eats, at that, plus the house smelled ever so yummy.

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    1. I'll bet! There's nothing like hot soup on a wintry day.

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  2. I'd pick warm over beauty, but we usually end up putting a turtleneck and coat on Tinkerbell :) Thanks for the literary references. It's been so long since I've read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow...I'm going to go pick it up and scare the kids! Happy Halloween!

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    1. I'm inclined to go warm as well--in fact, I wanted her to go as an actual Bigfoot--that would be a nice warm & hairy costume.

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  3. I vote for cat ballerina with a crown. It's the most creative! Loved the spooky destinations.

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  4. As a mom, I vote panda. (Halloween can be pretty cold here in Toronto, too, and I spent many years figuring out how to winter-proof lightweight costumes.)

    But as an artist, I tell her - go with your heart! And let us see the pictures, please.

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    1. Thanks for your comments (both as a mother and an artist :))!

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  5. Oh, bigfoot hunter! Definitely a bigfoot hunter! That sounds like such a cool costume and one you won't really see on a lot of other kids in any variation.

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    1. I've really been encouraging this one ever since she mentioned it as one of her possibilities. And if I stop showering now and paste on some facial hair, maybe I can go as her sasquatch.

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    2. Oh... man... please do that. Please please please.

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  6. Cat Ballerina with Crown? Winner, obviously! You just need a little rebranding -- say, Princess Ballerina Kitty!

    As for spooky vacation destinations, Transylvania had the lead until you got to the castle in Denmark. Hmmm. Denmark or Eastern Russia ... I might go for Denmark!

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    1. Thank you for your vote (and I love the rebranding :))! I was leaning toward Transylvania also, but based on our budget, I'd say Sleepy Hollow is a more realistic possibility for a "maybe one of these days..." kind of trip.

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  7. It's great that some of those old places really exist, even if they've gotten touristy. I think your daughter would look adorable as a panda, but I'm betting she'll go as Tinkerbell. It's hard to resist the lure of the fairy princess. Have a lovely weekend! :-)

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    1. Tinkerbell has the edge right now, but she's so impulsive that I can see her changing her mind at least five more times before Halloween.

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  8. I vote for Big Foot Hunter! and Happy Halloween!!! :)

    ~Akoss

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  9. Happy Halloween!
    I vote for the cat ballerina with the crown for your 4-year-old's costume. Sounds like a fun costume for her to 'design' herself, and she won't run into a dozen other people dressed like that.

    Tinkerbell would be in 2nd place. My daughter had a cute costume like that, but it was FREEZING that Halloween, and she was not thrilled to have to wear extra clothes underneath, since fairies don't wear sweatshirts under their wings. :) [little kids come up with the best arguments! LOL]

    I hope you post a pic of her all dressed up!

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    1. It is the 11th hour and she is STILL undecided. Thanks for your input!

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  10. These are great destinations to visit- I think the main one I would be interested in going to Elsinor, because it looks beautiful and that would be super interesting, but the fact that it's said to be haunted would definitely make me reconsider. I really don't like the creepy stories that surround haunted places, and I think I'd just be uncomfortable.

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