My Beautiful Struggle + prize

Haunted Halloween with Kristen Simmons and a giveaway!

The Wax Museum
Kristen Simmons

Admittedly, I am a total baby. I won’t watch horror movies, I can’t read scary books. I have never been able to say “Bloody Mary” three times in a dark. A lot of people love that spine-tingling sense that someone’s lurking in the shadows, that the family dog might turn Cujo, that the little blond child across the street is possessed by the devil. But I don’t. It freaks me out.

So don’t laugh at me when I tell you one of the most terrifying moments of my adult life involves a wax statue.

I was married seven years ago, and for our honeymoon my husband and I went to London (England, not Ontario. Or Arkansas for that matter). It was lovely. We saw the changing of the guard, and Buckingham Palace, and Piccadilly Circus. We went to pubs and toured the Tower of London. And we went to Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum (

If you’ve never heard of Madame Tussaud’s, it’s this great old museum-ish place that is filled to the brim with (surprise!) wax figures. Lifelike wax figures. As in, walking around the floor it’s difficult to discern who is real and who is not. Some of these figures are historical; there are rooms dedicated to British royalty and world leaders. There are also current celebrities: Brittany Spears, Brad Pitt, even Justin Bieber. The Beatles have been made immortal, as have countless athletes (David Beckam looks just as delicious in wax as he does on television FYI).

I cannot stress enough how real these figures appear to be. Many of them are not displayed behind glass or in roped-off areas, as I discovered after I literally bumped into J-Lo and then apologized.

As we wandered around I started getting a little freaked out by their fixed smirks and twinkling eyes. The paranoia started creeping up; what if real people had been encased in that wax? What if those statues weren’t statues at all, but alive?

Silly thoughts, really. I brushed them off.

Then we went down to the lower level. The basement level. Where at the time, they were showcasing a special event: a collection inspired by Jack the Ripper.

I knew who Jack the Ripper was. I’d heard stories about him growing up. How he tortured and killed all those prostitutes in London in the 1800’s. How they never found him (insert spooky laugh here). I was not keen on learning more than that. But by the time I processed this, I had already stepped into the elevator, and was going down.

Then the doors opened. And it was dark. There were strobe lights. And there was screaming, and the sounds of knives sharpening and people begging for their lives, just like in a haunted house. A twisted path led from one side of the room to the exit on the far wall. No problem, I told myself. Just get to the exit.

I took a deep breath and made my husband go first.

The wax figures downstairs were like those that were upstairs, only these were grotesque, mutilated. The further we progressed, the more freaked out I became. Each echoing laugh made my heart beat harder. I feared a nerve-induced projectile vomiting session. I remember gripping my husband’s backpack and pinching my eyes closed.

And then, to my great dismay, I discovered that not all the figures we passed were wax. Some of them were real. So when a woman (with her bowels hanging out of her gut) jumped behind me and wrapped her arms around my shoulders, I totally lost my cool. I screamed of course. And then I ran AS FAST AS I HAVE EVER RUN IN MY LIFE to the exit. I may or may not have knocked my husband down. I don’t suppose it was particularly noble of me not to try to save him from psycho-killer-woman. I ran until I burst out the emergency exit, still screaming no doubt, and slammed on the breaks just before I headed blindly into a busy London street.

Don’t judge me.

Happy Halloween.

Kristen Simmons is the author of ARTICLE 5, the first installment of a dystopian trilogy, which will be published by Tor Teen in February 2012.
Learn more about her at her at or on facebook (

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen (February 14th, 2012)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardback: 368 pages
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Janenings… the only boy Ember has ever loved.


  • 1 winner will receive a SIGNED ARC of Article 5 and a pin.
  • You must be at least 13 to enter.
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  • Extra entries are possible and links must be provided.
  • Contest is US only and ends October 31st.
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  • The form must be filled out to enter.

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Haunted Halloween with Kristen Simmons and a giveaway! + prize