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Can you handle scary stories in a cemetery?

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Here are some Halloween movies you might remember and still watch around this time of year: “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” “Night of the Living Dead,” “Pet Sematary.” What do they have in common? Graveyards. Because if you’re making a list of places to avoid when the sun goes down, graveyards are at the top.

Storytelling Arts of Indiana will help this tradition live on with Ghost Stories at Crown Hill Cemetery 6-10 p.m. Oct. 12 at Crown Hill Cemetery, 3400 Boulevard Place.

Seven storytellers will take the stage to tell stories that are supposed to get scarier as the night goes on. It’s a family-friendly event, and attendees can pack picnics or order from food trucks. Sun King Brewing and Mass Ave Wine will sell alcohol.

Advance tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students ages 10-17, free for children 10 and younger and $50 for families. Purchase tickets at storytellingarts.org. Tickets are $5 more at the gate.

Deborah Asante has been an on-and-off storyteller for the event, which has been around in some form since 1988 but didn’t move to Crown Hill Cemetery until 2012. Asante said she tells stories through her own voice, which is that of “a woman with Southern roots” who comes from the African spoken word tradition.

“I believe that storytelling is essential to every human being,” she said. “We are all storytellers. You won’t live your life without sharing a story. Storytelling teaches, it builds community, it crosses bridges to one another.”

Celestine Bloomfield, another storyteller, said part of what makes a story scary is the way it’s told. Words matter, but the delivery can be just as important.

Sometimes you just have to get lucky. Bloomfield said she told at a story at the event and screamed at the very end, just as the lights went out. She said it wasn’t planned, but it made for a better experience.

“You get to come and escape,” Bloomfield said of those who attend. “The story is only as scary as your experience allows it to be. … It’ll give them a story to tell later on.”

Bloomfield, who said she’s looking at telling a Chinese folktale this year, said she doesn’t go on stage knowing for sure what story she’ll actually tell. She likes to get a read on the audience first before deciding. Storytellers tell different stories, and they try to not repeat any from past years.

Asante didn’t reveal what story she’s considering for this year, but she said it’s important for any storyteller to feel confident in the story and “compelled to tell it.”

“I’m a soldier of the story,” she said.

For audience members, the setting is especially important. It’s one thing to listen to a spooky podcast in the car on your home from work, but it’s quite another to hear it while sitting around a campfire or in a graveyard.

“That’s just a brilliant idea,” Asante said of having an event for story stories in a cemetery. “Just the idea that you’re coming to the graveyard starts your experience. Before the story even begins, you’re already on your journey.”

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.


Storytelling Arts of Indiana will have seven storytellers to offer spooky tales before Halloween.

• When: 6-10 p.m. Oct. 12

• Where: Crown Hill Cemetery, 3400 Boulevard Place

• Tickets: $20 for adults, $10 for students ages 10-17, free for children 10 and younger and $50 for families in advance at storytellingarts.org. Tickets are $5 more at the gate.

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