It was Halloween 1987. My best friend and I decided to trick or treat across Park Ridge to my grandparents’ house two-and-a-half-miles away. They didn’t know we were coming, but I knew they were home. When we finally got there, though, they pretended not to be and finally turned us away by setting off their own burglar alarm. We ran away thinking we had really tripped it, but only for about 30 feet. Running makes you look guilty. I think that might be my favorite Halloween memory from childhood. Thanks, Grandma!
Park Ridge gets its Halloween on a day early this year, as Bram Stoker Award®-winning author John Everson reads a short selection October 30th at The Harp & Fiddle at 110 Main Street between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. Everson grew up in the Chicago suburbs, graduated from the University of Illinois, and edited the Illinois Entertainer for several years before establishing himself as one of horror fiction’s biggest 21st century draws with works like COVENANT, NIGHTWHERE, and THE FAMILY TREE.
International Latino Book Award-winning author Cynthia Pelayo will also be reading at the event on Halloween Eve. In her latest novel, THE MISSING, a Chicago woman visits Mexico in search of her previously unknown half-sister, and she must decide whether or not to enlist the aid of the saint of death to save her from one of the world’s most ruthless drug cartels. THE MISSING is the sequel to 2013’s SANTA MUERTE, now available from Post Mortem Press in paperback and Kindle formats.
I’ll also be reading that night from THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, a story about a teenager who’s house is haunted by five Prohibition-era gangsters. The book is set in Park Ridge (or a fictionalized version, anyway), including a chapter or two in a pharmacy inspired by the former Scharringhausen’s at 110 Main Street—where The Harp & Fiddle now stands. So it’ll be a bit of a homecoming for the main character, Jared Dix. Same goes for me. I used to buy Luden’s cherry cough drops there before catching movies at the Pickwick.
Celebrate Halloween Eve at The Harp & Fiddle. Besides the short readings between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., they also have a terrific menu of Irish-American fare, 24 ice-cold beers on tap, and plenty of big screen TVs to watch Philly at Dallas … or maybe Game 5 of a certain Fall Classic involving a previously cursed entity from Chicago’s north side. So clear your calendar and make plans to attend Halloween Eve at the Harp & Fiddle. It’s free to get in, but bring money for food and drinks … and maybe a book or three.
Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, now available from Post Mortem Press.