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August 30th, 2014 marks Mary Shelley’s 217th birthday and what has become known as Frankenstein Day.
 
Frankenstein was always one of my favorite books to teach, and it was fun to go crazy with it around Halloween. One year my students were treated to watching a “Grow Your Own Monster” that I picked up for a dollar get pretty scary as it took over a grimy jar of water.
 
Here at Quirk, we’ve got a few ideas that will make your celebration come ALIVE.
 
Ghost Story Challenge: One of the most exciting parts about Frankenstein is the actual novel’s creation story. Legend has it that Mary and Percy Shelley were visiting Lord Byron when they decided to challenge themselves to a horror story competition. At just 18 years old, Mary Shelley experienced a kind of waking dream that gave birth to her horrific tale of creating life from death. She won the competition and Frankenstein became one of the first works of Science Fiction, as well as a chilling tale of science without boundaries. To honor her creation, what kind of beast can you conjure up?
 
Exquisite Corpse: Expanding on the idea of literary party games, invite your friends to piece together your own exquisite corpse. Write an opening sentence and then pass it to your friend. Your friend will add a sentence and then fold the paper to conceal yours before passing it along. While each individual piece of the story might be lovely and expertly crafted, it could be ghastly when it comes together.
 
Scream at People: Throughout the years, many people have confused Frankenstein as being the name of the monster. Taking inspiration from Pee-wee’s Playhouse, make that confusion the new secret word as you try to trick people into the mistake. When they call the monster himself Frankenstein, you can take the opportunity to scream gleefully, “FRANKENSTEIN IS THE NAME OF THE SCIENTIST.”
 
Literary Mashup: Following in the tradition of Quirk Books classic, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, try to create your own literary mashup with Frankenstein as your inspiration. It already has a monster, so try adding in some romance instead. 
 
Eat Cake:  A birthday celebration is not complete without cake. In honor of Mary Shelley’s creation, try cobbling together a monster cake from a variety of flavors. This example from Cakejoy would be perfect for a 217th birthday party!

Jennifer Morell's picture

Jennifer Morell

Jennifer Ray Morell is a teacher and writer from Queens, New York. Her work has appeared in Slate, Tin House, Trop, Newtown Literary, and Underwater New York. Follow her on twitter at @heyjenray or at jenraymorell.com.