Julie Showalter’s Halloween Reading On NPR’s This American Life

Reviewing Julie’s archived work after her death, I happened onto a 1996 e-mail exchange between Julie and staff from WBEZ, the Chicago NPR station responsible for This American Life. In that correspondence, Julie agrees to the NPR producer’s proposal that she adapt what was originally a segment of her short story, “A Christian Education,” into a freestanding reading, renamed “The Evil Within,” appropriate for the show’s Halloween theme.1

That reading was well-received and led to Julie making further appearances on This American Life (see last portion of this post).

It was, however, especially heartening to unexpectedly receive, almost 13 years after Julie’s 1996 Halloween reading, the following email, which the author has graciously allowed me to post:

I love This American Life radio archives and just heard Julie’s Halloween story from 4th grade last night. You know the one I’m sure, but just in case: This American Life Archives: Halloween 1996

What a well-told story. I have listened to it three times in the past 24 hours. Oh, it just transports me right back to my own youth and of being crushed by adults who I admired and sought approval from.

And the thing is, those adults probably have no idea. Maybe Mrs Wells from the story was almost always wonderful but was just too wrapped up in her own ego at that moment to see the damage she was inflicting.

Those stories are such important reminders of the frailty of children.

I Googled Julie to find an email to thank her for the story, found your lovely site, and was sad to see that Julie is gone. Your site is a lovely tribute though, for a wonderful woman, so thank you for that.

Janet James

Julie Showalter’s Halloween Reading
This American Life – Oct 25, 1966

This reading can be heard from this embedded player:
Halloween By Julie Showalter



Or via the NPR web site: This American Life Archives: Halloween 1996


Julie Showalter

Julie Showalter was the fiercely intelligent, sexy, and loving woman with whom I had a outrageously wonderful marriage that ended with her death in late 1999 from cancer diagnosed the week of our wedding nearly 20 years earlier. She was also a brilliant scholar, the mother of our two sons, and a prize-winning author. Many posts on this blog are about her and still others consist of her writings. Julie’s Story is the account of our unlikely romance, Information can be found at Julie Showalter FAQ.

Note: Originally posted Feb 8, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of AllanShowalter.com


  1. The published version of Julie’s story, A Christian Education (which does not include this Halloween segment), can be viewed in manuscript form or downloaded as a PDF at A Christian Education: A Short Story By Julie Showalter []

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