Bilingual Programs Chapter

By Priscilla Suárez and Vanessa Sáenz

Elementary Program: ¡Uy, Cucuy! / Oh! The Boogeyman!

Books to Share

Ghost Fever / Mal de Fantasma by Joe Hayes.

Ghost Stories of Old Texas by Zinita Flower.

The Kingfisher Book of Scary Stories by Chris Powling.

Juan and the Chupacabras by Xavier Garza.

La Llorona by Joe Hayes.

My Mama Monster Loves Me So by Laura Leuck.

Spooky Texas Tales by Tim Tingle.

Books to Show or Booktalk

Creepy Creatures and Other Cucuys by Xavier Garza.

El Cucuy by Joe Hayes.

Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems.

Mexican Ghost Tales of the Southwest by Fred Alfred.

Prietita and the Ghost Woman = Prietita y la Llorona by Gloria Anzaldua.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz.

Bulletin Board

Ghoulishly Good Reads

Cover the bulletin board with black butcher paper. Cut out the words “Ghoulishly Good Reads” from bright or fluorescent lime construction paper (available from Blick Art Materials, Use a scary font like Chiller or Ravie to create the letters.Cut out sets of eyes from different colored construction paper and scatter them around the bulletin board. Add jackets from scary books or use construction paper with book titles to simulate book jackets.


Little Monsters!

Use the pattern provided at end of program. Let the children color their own monster to use as a nametag.

Find the little monsters nametag pattern at the end of this program.


Cover a table with black butcher paper. Display some of the books mentioned in this program, along with others on monsters. Decorate the table with plastic skulls and unlit candles in various sizes.


Decorate the library with monster cut-outs or printouts of monsters. Hang spider webs, available from party supply stores or made from cotton batting, on some of the shelves.


Ants in My Brains

Also known as arroz con leche, this rice pudding with raisins is a healthy snack. The raisins look like ants crawling around your brain!

  • Plain instant oatmeal (enough packets for anticipated participants)
  • Box of raisins
  • Honey or sugar, to taste
  • Small Styrofoam plates
  • Plastic spoons

Prepare the oatmeal according to the package directions, reducing the water slightly to create a thicker mixture. Place about 10 raisins per package of oatmeal in a small bowl or microwave-safe plastic bag. Heat for 30 seconds. Add the raisins to the cooked oatmeal. Add honey or sugar to sweeten the oatmeal and raisin mixture. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes and then shape the oatmeal to form a brain. Add the remaining raisins to the top of the “brain” to resemble ants crawling around. Refrigerate the rice pudding for at least 30 minutes. If desired, use a novelty brain Jello mold for a more realistic look. These are available from novelty stores like Prank Place, Place the “brain” on a plate with a few extra raisins scattered around like ants. Serve on small plates for all to enjoy.

Jello Eyeball Supreme

  • Springform cake pan (optional)
  • Yellow Jell-O
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Whipped cream
  • Small paper plates
  • Spoons
  • Knife

Prepare three packages of yellow Jell-O according to the package directions. This will serve about 20 children so make a second batch if necessary. Pour the Jell-O into a Springform cake pan, such as is used for cheesecake, as this will allow the Jell-O to release easily. Chill until the mixture is semi-solid. Drain the juice from a bottle of maraschino cherries. Remove the stems, if necessary, and stir the cherries into the semi-solid Jell-O mixture. Chill completely. Release the Jell-O from the pan onto a large plate. Slice and serve with whipped cream. Alternately, eyeball molds are available from Halloween novelty suppliers like Yankee Halloween,

Stories to Tell

A Lechuza Tale

(By Vanessa Sáenz.)

Buenas noches, I have been called many names in my life. Some call me harpy, crone, strega, ve’dema, baba yaga, hag, minx, siren. But, of course, here in Texas, I’m usually known as bruja.

Many tales are told of me and my sisters, but so many of them are untrue. Like when they say that we are old, ugly, toothless hags. Ugly and old, me! Puh-leeze! I’ve got magic powers to keep me BEAUTIFUL and young.

The other things they say! That we are heartless and cruel, evil and mean, and that we like to scare and torture people, especially children. Well, I just call that having a little fun. I mean, come on… everyone likes to have a little fun, no?

There was this one time that I’ll never forget. It was such a scream! In fact it didn’t happen very far from here. This story involves a brat and, of course, moi.

But the real question is this. How should I start my story? Once upon a time, gives the hope of a happy ending, and this story definitely doesn’t have one of those. It was a dark and stormy night would also be wrong, considering that I caused a major drought that year. Hmm…well, I think I shall start this way:

There was once an orphaned girl named Petra. She lived in the small town of Peñitas, just west of Mission, and a short walk north of the Rio Grande. She lived with her tío abuelo, Calixto. How she came to live with him is a long and boring story, so I’ll just skip to the good parts. That is when I entered their lives!

Petra was a horrible little brat. She never did her homework, she talked back to her tío Calixto, she never minded her elders, and she most definitely never visited the library. If she listened to tío or visited the library she might have known about me. Alas, the poor lass didn’t, and that’s how I got her. (Laugh maniacally.)

Early one evening, Petra was bullying some younger children. They were in a small montecito,a meadow, near my favorite herb-gathering place. One of the younger children just happened to be one of my many god-children. Sometimes I feel like being nice and will become someone’s “fairy” god-mother. I told you I had a lot of different names.

Well, there she was. That little brat was picking on one of my favorites. I was not going to tolerate that. So I went over and told her to stop being mean or she’d regret it. My god-child and his friend immediately gave me some space. They were good brats and actually listened to their elders. And do you know what Petra told me?

She said, “Whatever, old woman.”

Gasp! Me, old? My god-child and his friend also gasped.

“Do you know who I am, brat?” I asked her.

“No, and I don’t care, vieja.”

Double gasp!

“You better take that back,” said my prudent god-child.

“You hush-up,” said Petra.

“Go home,” I told my god-child. Of course my order was immediately followed. So it was just me and that impudent brat.

“I’m gonna give you a chance, because I happen to be in a good mood, and you wouldn’t be so obnoxious if you knew who I am. Ask your tío Calixto about la Lechuza, and if he can’t tell you, go to the local library and ask your librarian for help researching la Lechuza. But be warned, I’ll be watching you.”

And with that I turned and left, and I swear I heard her say, “Whatever,” under her breath. So just for that I gave her a ginormic pimple right in the middle of her head!

Now if she had been a good girl and listened to me, she would have found out that as a bruja I am able to turn into a Lechuza, or as they say it in English, an owl. As the Lechuza I am able to fly, I can see at night, and I am the most deadly creature in all of creation. Humans never pay attention to animals, and as la Lechuza the trees at night camouflage me. I hear every secret, see every sin. As the bruja, I am able to punish you for those secrets and hurt you for your sins. Petra would have found out how to stop me, not that there really is a way, but she would have at least read those silly folk tale remedies about how to get rid of me.

But she didn’t, and that’s how Petra became a pulga. Let me explain. A week or so had passed when I heard crying coming from my montecito.I walked over rapidly because, while usually I enjoy hearing the wails of a child in pain, these were my god-child’s cries. Sure enough, there he was on the ground with a busted lip, and that brat, Petra was standing over him laughing.

“Where’s your tía Lechuza now, lloron, you cry baby?” she mocked.

“Right behind you, you ignorant little fool,” I said in my sweetest voice. “Go home.” I told my god-child and my instructions were followed immediately. It was just me and the little unicorn. Her pimple was huge and stood out from her head. I knew it was painful, because I made sure of it.

“I take it you didn’t ask your tío or go to the library.”

“Whatever,” she said.

“Apologize, and I won’t hurt you.”

“Whatever, vieja.

That did it. I whistled for my dog, Oso. When he was at my side, the brat began to laugh.

“Ha,ha,” she said. “Let me guess. Your little Chihuahua is gonna hurt me. Eww…I am soooo scared.”


I turned the little brat into a pulga, or as you say in English, a flea. And that little pulga leaped on my dog. Now I couldn’t let my dog get flea bitten, could I? (Say this with all innocence.) So I dipped my dog in flea solution!

“Bye-bye, pulgita.

So the moral of the story this. Knowledge is power! Visit your library and find out about everything you want to know. Ask the librarian for help, if necessary. That’s what they are there for. And, oh! Always be on your best behavior, because you’ll never know when I’ll be watching you.

Ciao, Amores! I’ve got some more brats to scare. (Wave, blow kisses, and waltz away.)

The End


Paper Bag Cucuy

Paper Bag Cucuy - Cucuy means Monster in English, it has purple horns, red eye lid, blue eyes nose, tongue, and random green, orange, red, cyan, and yellow shaped designs below tongue,

  • Small Paper Lunch Bags
  • Assorted Wiggle Eyes
  • Eye Templates
  • Mouth Templates
  • Horn Templates
  • Assorted foam shapes (optional)
  • Crayons or Markers
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors

Provide each child with a set of the face templates provided in this program. Use the crayons to color the eyes, mouth, fangs, and horns. Cut out the pieces. Glue the pieces on to the paper bag, as illustrated. Use the assorted foam shapes or crayons and markers to decorate the rest of the bag.

Find the paper bag cucuy elements pattern at the end of this program.

Games and Activities

Ghost Buster Balloon Game

  • 10 large air-filled white balloons
  • 2 chairs
  • Questions based on the book Juan and the Chupacabras by Xavier Garza.
  • Pencil
  • Pad of paper
  • 2 small trash bins
  • Prizes, such as bookmarks, wrapped candy, pencils, or stickers (optional)

If the library doesn’t own Juan and the Chupacabras by Xavier Garza, select another scary book. Develop ten to fifteen questions based on the book you will read. In advance, set up the room with two chairs at one end. Create a “starting line” by putting masking tape on the floor about 8-10 feet away. Before reading the book, tell the children to pay special attention to the story as they will need to answer questions during the game. While reading the book, repeat or otherwise emphasize the passages on which the questions are based. After the reading, divide the group into two teams. If the group has an odd number of kids, one team member in the group with the lesser amount of children can participate twice. Line up the teams in two single file lines behind the starting line. Explain the rules of the game. Each team will have a chance to answer the questions that are asked. As the question is asked, the first person in each line walks forward to whisper their answer to you or one of the staff members. If the answer is correct the child receives a “ghost,” one of the white balloons, and is awarded one point for the team. Note the point on the pad of paper. If a child does not answer the question correctly he or she returns to the end of the line and waits for another question. If a child answers correctly, he or she returns to the beginning of their line, places a balloon between their knees, and walks to the chair at the opposite end of the room. When the child reaches the chair, he or she must sit on the balloon and burst it. They receive only three tries to burst the balloon before it must be returned to the librarian. If the balloon bursts, the child picks up the pieces and throws them away. The team receives an extra point for bursting the balloon. The child returns to the line and awaits another question. The team with the most points when all of the questions have been asked wins.

Cucuy Activity Book

Find and print out the word jumble, the word jumble answer key, the word search puzzle and the word search puzzle answer key materials at the end of this program. Staple the papers together and hand out to the children. If desired, the children can also use Superkids,, and Crossword Puzzle Games,, to create their own puzzles and game sheets.

Professional Resources

American Folklore

This site provides the text or podcasts for a variety of creepy stories.

How Chupacabras Work

Everything you need to know about the infamous Chupacabras, or goat suckers, is provided here.

La Llorona, Weeping Woman of the Southwest

A storyteller provides in depth details about the Southwest’s weeping lady, La Llorona.

Monster Librarian

This site is dedicated to helping librarians with horror genre collection development and readers advisory, as well as helping readers of horror find another good book.

Texas Haunt Society

Information is provided on haunted areas, cemeteries, abandoned houses, and other weird and strange places in Texas.

Program Materials

¡Uy, Cucuy! – Little Monsters Nametag Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (19 KB)

little monsters - on sheet there are two monsters with two eyes, and two monsters with one eye, their heads are overlooking a small square wall with fingers holding onto wall

¡Uy, Cucuy! – Paper Bag Cucuy Elements Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (14 KB)

Paper bag cucuy elements pattern - on sheet there are horns, tongue,two eyes, five monster spots, and nose

¡Uy, Cucuy! – Word Jumble

Printer Friendly PDF Version (26 KB)

Word Jumble Sheet - unjumble several words

¡Uy, Cucuy! – Word Jumble Answer Key

Printer Friendly PDF Version (28 KB)

Uy Cucuy, word jumple answers

¡Uy, Cucuy! – Word Search Puzzle

Printer Friendly PDF Version (49 KB)

uy cucuy, word search puzzle

¡Uy, Cucuy! – Word Search Puzzle Answer Key

Printer Friendly PDF Version (50 KB)

uy cucuy puzzle answer sheet

Texas Reading Club 2010 Programming Manual / Catch the Reading Express!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011