With the season of ghosts just around the corner, the Thurber House is lining up plans to put together some scary stories.

With the season of ghosts just around the corner, the Thurber House is lining up plans to put together some scary stories.

Next month Thurber House will host its 16th annual Ghost Story Writing Workshop in libraries throughout central Ohio. Students in grades 4-6 are invited to participate in the free event.

The workshop is a collaboration between the Thurber House, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Worthington Libraries and the Upper Arlington Library. It was inspired by James Thurber's short story, "The Night the Ghost Got In."

"In the fall (children) are thinking Halloween, and what's better than a scary ghost story," said Pat Shannon, director of children's programming for Thurber House.

The two-part workshop will be taught by either Kathy Matthews or Jan Hammock, who will begin by recounting the Thurber short story that starts with a suspenseful supernatural experience and quickly turns into a comedy.

"We indicate that there are ways of telling stories that can make people feel the suspense but also make them laugh," Shannon said.

"There's no blood and guts -- nothing that's really gross," Matthews said. "The emphasis is on it being tension-filled and also funny."

Matthews said the workshop is a group effort involving the adult leader and the children who attend.

"This is unique because it's done as a group," she said. "The whole group writes the story together."

Matthews said the children work together to come up with characters and a plot.

"Once we have the premise set up, we just start throwing out ideas," Matthews said. "It gets very weird. I've had some of the strangest characters you can imagine."

They include, she said, rock-shaped aliens, child vampires, demonic teddy bears and a girl genius who owns 37 pet platypuses.

After the characters and plot are figured out, Matthews or Hammock take the list home and craft a story out of the children's ideas.

"Basically, I design the plot with them and I write up the actually story so that it's a self-contained piece, several pages long," Matthews said. "That's always an interesting challenge. It's a bit like trying to herd cats, but it always comes together."

Later the story is bound and the young writers attend a party at Thurber House, 77 Jefferson Ave., where there will be a dramatic reading of the ghost story and various writing-related activities.

"In essence, their story is published and performed, which is such a nice conformation for them," Matthews said.

Advanced registration is required at participating libraries. For more information, call Thurber House at 614-464-1032 or www. thurberhouse.org.

The workshops will be held:

Linden Branch, 2223 Cleveland Ave., 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Dublin Branch, 75 N. High St., 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7.

South High Branch, 3540 S. High St., 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Upper Arlington Public Library, 2800 Tremont Road, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8.

Reynoldsburg Branch, 1402 Brice Road, 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10.

Worthington Northwest Library, 2280 Hard Road, 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17.

The ghost story party takes place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 and 25 at the Thurber Center, 91 Jefferson Ave.

dcross@thisweeknews.com