Horror Writers Association Blog

Posts byMichele Brittany - Horror Writers Association Blog [ 33 ]

“Why Do We Love Halloween?” By JG Faherty

As a horror writer, it’s kind of expected of me that I’ll be enamored of the Halloween season. And it’s no secret that I am! But I loved Halloween long before I became a writer. Even as a little kid I looked forward to Halloween as much as I did Christmas.

The question is, why?

For a child, the reasons are pretty easy to figure out. Lots of candy. Lots and lots of candy! The chance to dress up in a costume and run around the neighborhood relatively unsupervised (at least back in my day). Halloween was the only cool …

“How We Made a Monster (and scared the bejeebers out of an entire high school)!” By Lloyd F. Ritchey

We watched with glee as a man scooped up a little girl and bolted for the door. The kid was kicking and screaming with fright. “Ah,” I thought. “Another successful show!”

I was a high school junior, and my esteemed institution was holding a Halloween-themed open house. The classrooms were crammed with the usual flaccid haunted house stuff: “Come inside kiddies, feel the witch’s guts.” (Bowl of cold spaghetti). Her eyeballs—hard-boiled eggs. Yawn.

My friends, Warren and Pete, and I had presented the school fathers with a proposal: we would produce Halloween shows a-la Frankenstein that would run about five …

“Underworld Gothic” By Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray

Lee Murray: We’ll probably shock our American colleagues by saying Halloween isn’t really a thing down here in New Zealand. No neighbourhoods of kids out Trick or Treating. No pumpkins on the doorstep. For HWA members this is akin to blasphemy. Do you think they’ll revoke our memberships?

Dan Rabarts: Well, we’re here to shock a little, aren’t we? In New Zealand we’re starting to see a bit of Trick or Treating on Halloween, but for whatever reason, it’s never really caught on. Halloween in the Southern Hemisphere comes about in late spring, so it’s not dark or cold when …

“A Halloween Ritual” By Naching T. Kassa

Halloween is a magical time for children. October chill fills the air, frost glittered pumpkins wait in the patch, and disguised friends roam the streets. Halloween traditions increase the enchantment. In my family, one ritual stood out above all others. This was the Halloween ghost story.

The tale was always told before bedtime, when shadows had extinguished the light of day. My mother, the storyteller, made sure we were snug in our beds before adopting a suitably spooky tone. Sometimes, the story was lighthearted with a silly twist at the end. Other times, the story was more frightening, much like …

“The 1970s, The Goatman, and Me” By Sheri White

The 70s were a scary time to be a kid. It was an era of urban legends, UFO sightings, Bigfoot, and demon possessions.

In my town, our urban legend was the Goatman. Half-man, half-goat (obviously), he lived in a derelict shack in the woods behind my elementary school. According to those who had “seen” this creature (usually older kids), it had the head and chest of a man and the body and four legs of a goat. And he would kill you if he caught you.

How he was supposed to accomplish this, and why he wanted to were never …

“Season’s Change” By Kristine Smith

Halloween never seemed to be a big deal when I was a kid. I grew up in Florida during the mid-1960s, and recall maybe a week or so of festivities. We were able to wear our costumes to school for one day. One year, my folks arranged a party for me and my friends complete with a cookout and bobbing for apples and other games. After that, it was time to go out into the neighborhood and collect candy. The heat had abated somewhat by then, but the shiny synthetic of a store-bought costume trapped what remained, especially if you …

“In Loving Memory: Morbid Anatomy Museum” By James Chambers

This year marks the Horror Writers Association New York chapter’s first Halloween without the Morbid Anatomy Museum since we reformed a few years ago—and the dark country of October feels emptier without it.

Located in Gowanus in Brooklyn, the Museum and its board welcomed the HWA and its members for numerous readings, book launches, and other events almost from the day it opened its doors. Thanks to the incredible enthusiasm and generosity of HWA member Tonya Hurley, a Museum founder, Morbid Anatomy provided an early and vital focal point for our chapter. Those who ventured inside the Museum found a …

“Friendly Neighborhood Spooky Cemetery” By Heddy Johannesen

Merry meet all,

I live near the Mount Olivet cemetery with its own claim to fame. It is where the Titanic victims were buried. I often visit there, and stroll near the graves down a path littered with tree roots, dead leaves and rotted apples. Apple trees grow on the other side of the stone wall. Though the trees appear to grow in and out of the cemetery.

A brook runs on the other side of the cemetery. The brook gurgles. I like to think of it as a vessel for spirits to travel to the Underworld.

Trees line the …

“Tis the Season for Chills and Thrills” By Lincoln Cole

Dictation Lesson:

This Halloween, I decided to try out something new that had always scared me: dictation! I’ve wanted to try writing my books by speaking the words aloud and see if that would speed up my process, but I was always worried at how bad it would come out. This time, though, I was determined to make it work.

So, I got my microphone, downloaded the dragon software, and set about making it work.

It was terrible.

Like, really bad. The sentences were almost nonsensical and occasionally it read more like I was just rambling out ideas than actually …

“Why Fear?” By Lisa Lane

I was only twelve at the time, but I remember thinking that haunted house in The Enchanted Forest, a theme park our family happened upon during a family vacation, was the most terrifying experience I could encounter. The walk-through building had actors popping out at every turn, haunting audio-visual effects, and a final room that required its visitors to find an escape door in pitch darkness. The level of fear had bled from fun to uncomfortable, leaving me feeling unsettled but safe. I never expected the real terror that lay just ahead.

A bridge overlooked a massive slide, and I …

“Horror and Academics Do Mix” By Nicholas Diak

It’s February 2009, and I’m sitting behind a table in a small conference room at the Albuquerque Hyatt.  I’m knee deep into the masters program at the University of Washington, and I am presenting at my first academic conference, the South West Popular/American Culture Association. In the room are roughly fifteen other scholars, students, teachers, independent scholars and my thesis advisor, anxious to hear my topic: an analysis of Antonio Margheriti’s James Bond/Raiders of the Lost Ark knock off, Sopravvissuti della città morta aka Ark of the Sun God. My PowerPoint beams with pictures of David Warbeck winking, …

“No Place to Go for Halloween” By James Dorr

And what did you see at the movies on Halloween? For me, with a screen time beginning at 11:59 last night at the IU Cinema, the midnight showing for All Hallow’s Eve was a strange one, the 1977 Japanese film HAUSU. And yes, it means “house.” It’s an “evil house” movie, but with a big difference. This one combines the expected tropes with a weird undercurrent of surrealism, including cartoons, a demon cat, telegraphed punches — all clearly intentional — even slapstick humor in a tale of seven schoolgirls’ summer outing at the home of one of the girls’ maiden

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