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Murray Journal

“Haunted Tales” Contest Opens to Murray Students

Oct 04, 2016 02:53PM ● By Julie Slama

A Haunted Tale student author from 2015 shares her entry before a packed Murray Library audience. The literary writing and storytelling contest is accepting entries through Monday, Oct. 17. (Jenny Simmons /Murray Cultural Arts)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

It could be a tale of a black cat slinking away in the dark of night to a piercing high-pitched scream.  Or an eerie, creepy sound rustling in the attic, keeping you awake at night.  Or a jolly pumpkin dreaming of a being a spooky jack-o’-lantern for a small boy or girl on Halloween night.

These and other creative ideas may come to fruition as third-grade through 12th-grade students take their imaginations to paper or to a keyboard to create Halloween stories that they can enter in the Murray City Cultural Arts Haunted Tales literary writing and storytelling contest.

Students, who live in or attend school in Murray, may submit stories or poetry.  Legible entries need to be on an 8.5-inch by 11-inch piece of paper and are limited to two typewritten pages or six- to 10-handwritten pages, depending on the size of print.  Entries, which should include students’ name, grade, school and home phone number, are due by 5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 17 at the Murray Arts office at Murray Parks and Recreation, 296 E. Murray Park Ave., Murray. 

“Been doing this for around 15 to 20 years.  It was an idea of one of our arts board members to encourage creative writing and share the talents of kids with the public,” said Mary Ann Kirk, cultural arts director.

Kirk said that several teachers use it as a limerick writing assignment although students also can enter the contest independently.  She estimates Murray Arts receives about 150 to 200 entries each year.

The entries will be judged on creativity and grade-level writing skills for introduction, continuity, descriptive language and conclusion.  Bonus points will be given for presentation including title, grammar and neatness.

“We select 40 to 50 winners to read their entries in a storytelling setting at the Murray Library,” she said.

Students will share their award-wining stories, which usually are up to four minutes long, in one of two 45-minute sessions at the library — 6:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. — on Thursday, Oct. 27 in the Murray Library auditorium, 166 East 5300 South.

“We have been doing it in the library for about three or four years. We used to have them read it at the Murray Park Halloween event, but we found that environment was fun but didn’t really give the kids a respectful audience.  We moved it to the library so everyone could enjoy the stories in a more controlled setting and actually hear stories start to finish.  We also didn’t have to worry about weather,” Kirk said.

The event is a popular one with families and the community, she said.

“We always have a packed audience and it is amazing to hear some of the stories and poems these kids come up with,” Kirk said.