Horror Writers Association Blog

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“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

“The Real Headless Horseman” By Roh Morgon


My earliest memories of our favorite holiday revolve around waiting impatiently in my homemade costume for the evening to get dark enough to go trick-or-treating. The frenzied rush from house to house with my friends, amassing our candy hoards in pillowcases, was fraught with laughter and squeals of childish terror during the spookiest night of the year.

When I was twelve, my family moved from our little Orange County suburb in California to a semi-remote canyon just thirty minutes away. We might as well have moved to the moon, as far as I was concerned. There were only two …

“When You See a Chance to Slay It…” By David Boop

Apologies to Mr. Steve Winwood, but while the arc of a diver might have been effortless, the arc of a story rarely is, especially when it’s your own.

In 2008, I began of my career as a novelist with the release of “She Murdered me with Science.” That year I also lost three people who mattered to me: a long time friend, a mentor, and a former boss. In 2009, I had started work on an outline and first draft of a second novel. That year, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and a daughter I barely knew was …

“Cheap Plastic Costumes and My Imagination” By Damian Serbu

As a professionally trained historian come horror writer, I recently reflected on my childhood and what created the writer inside of me. I concluded that some of the imagination that inspired that writer stemmed from my Halloween experiences as a child. So many horror fans loved Halloween growing up, and I was no exception. I thrilled at finding my costume, putting it on that night, and transforming myself into another being, thrusting myself into another reality, with the trick-or-treating as almost an afterthought.

Except, instead of having the time and means to create a fantastical costume and generate a look …

“The Late, Great Halloween Costume Massacre” By Maria Alexander

September 1976

Los Angeles, CA


“Sit down, girls. We’ve got something serious to talk about.”

My younger sister and I sit cross-legged on the scratchy brown carpet of our tiny apartment as Mom and Dad sit on the couch. Barely four years old, my sister Danielle yanks on the hair of her doll as she alternately slams it against the floor to what is surely the dismay of our new downstairs neighbors. I sit upright and listen. My mom’s normally moon-like face darkens as she speaks. My father slumps backward, reading his newspaper. I’m just grateful he isn’t screaming, …

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