Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teen Roundtable: Halloween, Horror, and Paranormal Romance

For the October roundtable, and in celebration of Halloween week here at YA Confidential, our discussion was about all things Halloween-themed. From paranormal stories, to the dearth of true horror books in YA, to the scarily slutty costumes some kids like to dress up in.

Come in, take off your shoes, and please stick your hand in this bowl of eyeballs...I mean peeled grapes. Learn all kinds of fun things about teen life and Halloween! But please stay away from the pet zombie. It's kinda hungry, and we don't have insurance.


How do you guys feel about the paranormal genre? Are you sick of it? Just sick of vampires but still digging werewolves? 

Lennon: I freaking love the paranormal genre!! My favorite. I love vampires and I'm cool with werewolves unless it's Jacob Black. Jacob is evil. EDWARD FOREVER!!!!!

Katie: I love paranormal books, stay away from vampires and werewolves for a couple of years!

Lissa: I'm over the paranormal genre, most of it. I'm over werewolves and vamps, even though I love my old series. They've become too repetitive, but I do like the odd ghost story or vampire love

Alexandra: So, for those of you sick of vampires, what's the new "thing"?

Lissa: The new thing for me is fantasy. Like, HARD CORE fantasy

Katie: There isn't a new thing yet, give me something new that no one has thought of yet

We see a lot of burn-out on certain creatures. Do you guys think that because you're such avid readers, you get burnt out more quickly? Like, do your friends still read vampire books long after you're sick of them?

Lissa: I don't think so. I'm pretty sure it's TOTALLY done.

Laura: I get burnt out with any repeated theme super quickly while my other, non-reader friends still cling to the concept.

Katie: the reason i'm burnt out on vampire and werewolves is because there hasn't been a book that has been writen about them that was good so i got tired of trying

Cristin: Katie, but are your friends burnt out on them too? Or do they still read them because they don't read as many books as you do?

Katie: Cristin- Yes, they're burnt out and they don't read as much as i do.

In books that have any sort of scary element, is it romantic when the guy "protects" the girl? Or is it just annoying?

Laura: ANNOYING. Don't let that brother touch you. You hold out. You're strong, woman!

Lissa: I want to rip the pages of my book. It's revolting 


What does everyone think of zombies as romantic interests? Or would we rather zombies stay as they are--scary (or funny) antagonists?

Lennon: I like zombies I think that they are great romantic interests. Generation Dead anyone?

Lissa: That's stretching it for me. I can't picture a slimy dead guy kissing a pretty, warm-blooded human without wanting to hurl

Katie: Zombies are just creepy

Laura: Yeaaahhhhh, zombie romance!

Alexandra: Laura, was that sarcasm I detect?

Laura: NO way! Bring on the rotting romance!!

All the sagging flesh and broken limbs - how is that NOT attractive? I don't know. It's just interesting, I guess. Plus, I'm NOT a romance fan.

Katie: I think you guys need to re think romance now because of laura

Laura: Right? Plus, it would be pretty hard to have arguments with zombies. No more domestics! See, we're solving issues here, people!

As far as horror goes: what's in, and what's tired?

Lissa: Anything works for me, really. There just aren't enough out there in YA

Lennon: I agree completely. Horror is completely underrated in YA.

Katie: i love scary movies and books but it's hard to find a good book, and a pg-13 movie

Cristin: Do you guys ever read the old school horror that was popular back in my day, like the Fear Street books or Christopher Pike?

Lissa: I read Remember Me by Christopher Pike, and hated the second and third stories so much I've given away the book. I have Flowers in the Attic, or whatever that's called, but haven't read it yet.

(Most of our spies expressed an interest in finding more YA horror. We had a hard time thinking of many YA titles, and our spies were really feeling that publishing needs MORE YA horror.)

Should horror books have romance or is that taboo for the genre?

Laura: Ughhh. Maybe a little side romance, but nothing that really "becomes" the book. It destroys the plot.

Katie: you can do romance and horror together if you do it right

Lissa: Romance is fine, as long as it's side romance. Focus on the scary, please :)

Lennon: It depends on the plot. If it's just a side note then yes but if it could be classified as a romance with horror in it, no.


What's cool to do on Halloween? Dress up? Trick or treat? Parties?

Katie: Tomorrow i'm going to a halloween costum dance and then next saturday a halloween party!

Laura: I can totally dress up next week and go to my "school" and freak the heck out of my teachers who would have no clue it's Halloween.  (Laura lives in Australia!)

Katie: I just go to parties. clean parties though 

Alexandra: Katie - are there a lot more of the raunchy parties? Who has the clean parties?

Katie: There are a lot of raunchy parties. i know people who have bad parties and a lot of people who have clean ones. though all the clean ones i've gone to has been hosted by Lalter Day Saints, other wise nicknamed Mormons

Lennon: I go to one party every year with my parents. Some of my friends come with their parents. Ours involves babysitting the younger kids, watching Zombieland, and watching our parents get TRASHED.

Lissa: I'm going trick or treating this year, but only because I have a huge sweet tooth. Will go party next year tho 

Cambria: What is everyone dressing up as? Like, do all the girls dress up in those, um, (what's another word for slutty?) questionable costumes?

Katie: Cam i keep my costums clean, i hate it when girls to that

Cambria: Katie -- doesn't it seem like all the store-bought costumes are super slutty, though? Like, whatever happened to a mouse costume, you know?

Katie: Cam- you are so right they are! i have had to make one at home for the last two years. i wish they would bring back the mouse 

Lennon: Nearly all my friends are being slutty on Halloween, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, stippers. But I'm going as Katniss or gothic tinkerbell so I won't fall into that I hope. Oh, one of my guy friends is going as Santa and they want to be his "ho"s

What about urban legends?

Laura: Okay. So, I live out in a rural area of Victoria where there are lots of old farms and ranches and things, you get the idea. There’s a hill behind my house that is basically forest now but there is this rundown cattle farm in there. When I was a kid, I used to dare my friends to go up there because “legend” has it that there is the ghost of an old farmer in there who cuts up the bodies of little children and throws them in a barrel that he used to use to store cow’s milk. It’s also said that there is a giant pit of snakes under the house that will swallow you whole if you try to escape. Needless to say, my friends didn’t sleepover that night…

So, there you have it. The operatives are very happy that Halloween is still a 'cool' holiday for our spies (at least, the ones who live in North America and actually have opportunities to celebrate!) Though the slutty costumes are rather unfortunate, since we all know it only gets worse in college....

If you're a writer looking for something new to write, it looks like our teens are seriously salivating after some good YA horror! Just as long as there are no vampires in it.

On a last note, I will leave you with this:

Cambria: Wait. So people actually bob for apples?!? *perplexed* It always seem so impossible.

Katie: cam yes people do, don't worry i've never acually got one, the one type of person that seems to alway get them are football players, it seems really weird

The football players are the best at bobbing for apples. A little known fact if you want to write an authentic football player. Do with that what you will! ;)



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