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  • Writer's pictureJ. M. White

Old Fashioned (Children of the Corn)

Updated: Oct 3, 2019

Part V of the #ASD13DaysofHorror Challenge

Prompt: Creepy Kids

Creepy kids are an amazing prompt! And of course, when it comes to this category, it’s hard to beat Children of the Corn. Stephen King absolutely nailed sinister kids in this short story.

The story first appeared in Penthouse magazine, then later in King’s short story collection Night Shift (pictured above) in 1978. Despite its length, Children of the Corn has been adapted into multiple films beginning in the 80’s. They have become somewhat of a staple campy horror classic among scary movie fans. The plot is simple: a bickering couple is on a long road trip when they accidentally run over a young boy in the corn lined roads of rural Nebraska. Knowing they need to report the incident, they make a stop in the nearest town. But something isn’t right. Gas prices haven’t been updated in years and there doesn’t seem to be any adults around. Suddenly, because of one wrong decision, a vacation turns very bad.

"Then he was in the corn and it closed behind him and over him like the waves of a green sea, taking him in. Hiding him."
-Stephen King (Children of the Corn)

Being a horror junkie, I’ve realized there are a lot of people out there who are self-proclaimed “horror-haters”. They are the people that when you suggest watching a horror movie say something along the lines of, "I don’t like scary. Sorry, I just don’t do horror." To just "not-do-horror" always seemed crazy to me. There are so many great horror stories that are well-developed and thought-provoking. There is often more to horror than just a crazy guy wielding a knife. Horror depicts current societal trends and fears in a fictional fashion, almost like a history book. If you read horror fiction from the late 1800’s the topics are vastly different from what they are now. Sure, some of the themes stay the same, but most of it reflects current worries.

Anyway, that’s my long-winded reason as to why I think everyone should give horror at least one try. A good way to introduce the genre to new horror readers is through short stories. It allows the reader to get a feel of the genre without committing to a whole book while giving them the opportunity to sample different sub-genres like hauntings, monsters, possession, etc. In Night Shift, for example, King explores everything from possessed trucks to a serious cigarette addiction to the classic monster in the closet. Reading collections also gives readers an idea of the author’s writing style. So, if you enjoy Night Shift, you will probably fall in love with King’s novels.

Whatcha Drinkin'?

Whiskey is not my usual drink of choice, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pair it with Children of the Corn. Why? Because bourbon is distilled from corn. And what better way to read a classic horror story than with a classic drink—the Old Fashioned. Just think, your whiskey may even be made from corn picked from the very same field these spooky kids are running through.

Old Fashioned


Yield: 1 serving

Total time: 5 minutes

What You Need:

- 2 teaspoons simple syrup* (see note)

- 1 teaspoon water

- 2 dashes Angostura bitters

- 2 ounces bourbon

- orange slices (optional)

- maraschino cherries (optional)

What You Do:

1. Add simple syrup, water, and bitters to a rocks glass. Stir to combine, then drop in ice.

2. Pour bourbon over ice. Garnish with orange slices and cherries (optional, but highly recommended).

**Simple syrup can be made by combining equal parts sugar and water over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Syrup can be kept in an airtight container for over a month in the fridge.


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