One of literature's most famous ghosts will appear this weekend to scare theater patrons into the Halloween spirit, as Westerville North High School presents The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
The classic tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman will be staged at 7 p.m. Oct. 24, 25 and 26 in the auditorium of the high school, 950 County Line Road.
General admission tickets are $6.
"It's the perfect time of year to do this story," said Kim Mollohan, North theater director. "It will be a spook-tacular production."
Although the production includes plenty of graveyard spookiness, Mollohan said the production is a family-friendly way to celebrate the spookiness of the season, as long as children don't have a particular fear of ghosts.
"There's nothing violent; there's nothing with blood; there's nothing gruesome," Mollohan said.
People often focus on the supernatural aspects of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," but the student actors said the play presents an interesting character study of the manipulative Ichabod Crane, played by Harrison Nickels, who comes to Sleepy Hollow to serve as schoolmaster while he searches for a wealthy bride.
"It makes for a much more complex tale than people usual think of," said sophomore Ethan Brown, who plays Victor Van Horn.
Junior Annalisa Hartlaub plays Katrina Van Tassel, the center of a love triangle involving Crane and townsman Brom Bones, played by Dalton Reyburn.
Hartlaub said she remembers watching the Disney version of the tale as a child, and the script for the classic version betrayed her expectations.
"I was expecting a lot of Halloween and a lot of horror, but it's a lot of comedy and a lot of love triangle," Hartlaub said.
Sophomore Taylor Crumrine, who plays Mrs. Van Hudson, said the play is about the deep-rooted relationships between the townspeople.
As the students have rehearsed, they've developed a deep bond that shows through the performance and helps make the interplay of characters come through, Crumrine said.
"All of the characters are intertwined somehow," Crumrine said. "All the cast has become like a family, and I think that shows through the play."
Fitting with the Halloween theme, doors to the play will open at 6:30 p.m., and patrons can enter the theater in the traditional manner or partake in an additional spooky experience.
"You can come in the regular door, or by bringing a can of food or a $1 donation to (the Westerville Area Resource Ministry), you can take our haunted path," Mollohan said.
On the haunted path, which will be toned down for younger theater patrons, visitors will encounter Sleepy Hollow's ghosts on their way to the auditorium.
The haunted path is North's way of participating in the International Thespian Society's "Trick or Treat so Tots Can Eat Because Hunger is a Scary Thing" campaign, Mollohan said.