LEMONT – When coming up with ghost stories this Halloween, Lemont residents needn’t look farther than the village limits for inspiration.
The Lemont Historical Society will host Fright Nite, a celebration of spooky stories steeped in Lemont history, on Tuesday.
Local storytellers will share old favorites and some new tales. The winner of a scary story contest will also be announced.
Historical society President Susan Roy said the stories are meant for all ages and the event attracts families and adults.
The historical society will serve up popcorn, refreshments and some surprises, she said.
Participating storytellers agree that it is Lemont’s long and sometimes sordid history that makes it a good source for ghost stories.
“It was kind of almost a ‘Wild West’ feel back in the canal days,” storyteller Joe Deskovich said.
Historical society member Richard Lee said the size of the town also plays a role in building legends.
“When (weird things happen) in a small town, it tends to shock people,” he said.
Some of the storytellers draw on recent or personal experiences for their tales.
Lee has thought of a new story based on an abandoned house in Lemont where he spent time.
“I usually have been telling the story of the ghost of St. James,” he said. “But people were telling me, ‘Oh we’ve heard that before. Don’t you have something new?’ I suppose it’s run its course.”
For Deskovich, the audience reaction to the stories is the best part.
“It’s great to watch the faces of the kids,” he said. “It gets the community together. It showcases a big part of what makes the town unique.”
If you go
What: Fright Nite
When: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29
Where: Lemont Historical Museum, 306 Lemont St.
Cost: $2 adults, $1 children
More information: www.lemonthistorical.org
Spooky Story Sampler
Storyteller: Richard Lee
Story: "The Flies House"
Preview: The new story is about a formerly abandoned house on Walker Road in Lemont that Lee visited. Lee said he calls the house the Flies House because it had flies covering the windows.
Storyteller: Sue Donahue
Story: "Masquerade Ball"
Preview: The story concerns a masquerade ball at Tedens Opera House and the tragedy that happened there.
Storyteller: Joe Deskovich
Preview: The man behind last year's story about Potato Bill will have another original centering around Lemont's canal and quarry.
Storyteller: Gary Roy
Story: Hitchhiker on Route 83
Preview: The former Lemont Police officer tells the tale of one of his experiences on duty.
Storyteller: Jackie Uznanski
Story: Resurrection Mary
Preview: Uznanski returns to tell the popular Chicago area ghost story about the unfortunate female hitchhiker.