Today I took my son to the bus stop and nobody was there. Usually there are four boys at his stop. The absence of other boys crunching through the dead leaves was eerie. It would have been like time stood still, except then black clouds moved in from the west, eclipsing the sunlight. If it hadn't been our regular bus driver who pulled up with her usually cheery smile, I would have been afraid to let him on the bus!
It was a reminder that everyday events have the potential to suddenly be creepy. Remember that feeling of walking or bike riding home from a friend's house this time of year? And it's darker that you expected. When did the days get so short? And suddenly you feel like you're being watched. You hear footfalls and rustles, but when you look behind you at the deserted street, all you see is your shadow stretched out from the streetlights and you decide to get home REALLY FAST.
We can create this creepy atmosphere with the five senses: shadows, leaves rustling, growling noises, birds screeching, chills, cold wind, pounding hearts. (Yes, even smell. If you've ever been terrified of the sudden smell of gas or burning, you know what I mean.) But what about other senses, like the sixth sense? That little voice that says, something's wrong here. The feeling of being watched. The activation of some sort of caveman instinct that kicks in our "fight or flight" responses. The things that make you pull into a supermarket parking lot and suddenly decide today is a very bad day for shopping and you don't park your car after all. You go home with the feeling you just had a close call but you'll never know from what.
Scary things don't have to happen in a graveyard. There could be someone right behind you now. Do you see a reflection of something in your monitor?
-- Kate, Miss Getting Ready for Halloween