Horror Writers Association Blog

Halloween [ 211 ]

Halloween Haunts: The King of Halloween

Halloween Haunts: The King of Halloween

By Mark Onspaugh

The Wolfman roared, his eyes glowing bright red, his massive yellowed fangs slick with saliva and blood.

My little brother Matty, who had been checking out a costume, jumped, the plastic Iron Man mask clattering to the floor of Target’s Halloween department.

The werewolf ripped his head off, revealing the laughing face of David Destler.

“Some Avenger you’d make! Bet you wet your Pampers!”

“Come on, David, give him a break,” I said. I was holding a zombie makeup pack and trying to figure how much that and the Iron Man costume would be with tax.

“Aw, …

Halloween Haunts: Souled by Tonya Hurley

Hurley_amityWe almost drove past it until I noticed the line snaking around the side of the nondescript-looking Dutch Colonial house on the canal. It hardly looked like the scene of any crime let alone that crime — The Amityville Horror.

“112 Ocean Avenue.  That’s it!” I shouted with half excitement and equal parts guilt.

The latest family to own the house was moving out and this was hyped as a yard sale guaranteed to top them all.  Shoppers and rubberneckers from miles around gathered to land a piece of horror history, joking with each other, retelling tall tales, mixing myths …

Halloween Haunts: How I Decided To Never See “The Exorcist” Again by Glenn Benest

It was Halloween of 1973 (I know, a long time ago).  It was Halloween, my favorite holiday in Covina, California, a small working class town in the San Gabriel Valley.  We used to have a blast on this favorite night of the year, getting lots of caBenest_coverart1ndy, of course, committing small acts of vandalism (like knocking down mail boxes) and basically causing whatever mischief we could.

On this particular Halloween though my buddies and I decided to watch The Exorcist. What could be better on this particular night? Halloween during my teens was nothing like it is today, …

Halloween Haunts: Which Witching of Which Witches? by Nancy Kilpatrick

WheKilpatrick_1374590n I was seven years old, I saw a witch. I mean a real witch, not one of the politically-correct Wiccans we have now, or the evil glam witches Hollywood offers up, or the (mainly poor, old, single-by-choice, physically impaired, deranged or feisty) women of history who were burned at the stake because they were outside the collective in some way. No, this was a real witch, not pretty, not pleasant, not a herbalist in a conical hat, and she appeared on Halloween!

Halloween was always a fun time for me as a kid. I remember dressing as a …

Halloween Haunts: Living in Halloween Central by J.G. Faherty

HH2104_FeaturedImageI can honestly say I live in Halloween Central. No, I’m not referring to how extensively I decorate the house for my favorite holiday (although my wife would beg to differ); I’m referring to my geographic location. Specifically, the Lower Hudson Valley region of New York State.

It is, without a doubt, the perfect place for a horror writer to live.

The area comprises several counties – Rockland, Westchester, Orange, Dutchess, and Putnam—and all of them have a history rich in haunts, spooky tales, and strange phenomenon. North of Manhattan, south of Albany, it’s an area whose history of ghostly, …

Halloween Haunts: Crossing Over: Halloween and Ghosts by Lisa Morton

Morton_lisabyellensmall-213x300Ghosts have become one of Halloween’s most beloved icons, and each October we see them manifest in everything from terrifying haunted attractions to whimsical decorations. Haunted locations boast increased traffic, and ghost-themed movies scare up box office dollars. But were these elusive spirits of the dead always a part of Halloween?

The answer is a resounding “yes”.

Scholars are divided on whether Halloween derives more from the ancient Irish Celtic celebration of Samhain or the Catholic observance of All Saints Day (on November 1st)/All Souls’ Day (November 2nd)…but both of these festivals involve ghosts. Samhain was the Celts’ New Year, …

Halloween Haunts: What’s Halloween Good For, Anyway? by Matthew Warner

Warner_bioHorror industry laymen offer me a standard observation when Halloween rolls around.  “This is like your high holy day, isn’t it?”

Why, yes, Mr. Joking To Cover Up Your Discomfort, when I’m not carving upside-down pentagrams into my 4- and 6-year-old boys’ heads, you’re exactly right.  In a way, Halloween is our “high holy day.”   It’s an important springboard for our family traditions.

But it ain’t holy for us.  We’re not religious, so we’re gonna burn, you know.  Wikipedia says the holiday has something to do with Christianity and Samhain, but all we care about is the candy, man.  (And …

Halloween Haunts: Graveyard Horrors by Loren Rhoads

Rhoads_photo copyFrom vampires, plague victims, ghosts, golems, and the gate to Hell, some of the best stories are buried in cemeteries.  These are some of my favorites.  All of these burial grounds are open to visitors.

Chinko-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

(http://cemeterytravel.com/2014/07/02/cemetery-of-the-week-142-chinko-ji-temple-cemetery/)

This small Buddhist temple stands just south of Kyoto’s Gion neighborhood. The plaque at its gate says, “Kyōto’s Bon Festival, the Buddhist observance honoring the spirits of ancestors, begins with the tolling of this temple’s bell. The area is called ‘Rokudo-no-tsujii,’ or ‘the place where this world and the other world meet.’”

Chinko-ji Temple, founded in 836, was home …

Halloween Haunts: Ghosts Of Hallowe’ens Past by Darren Madigan

Madigan_hnkindlecover2Hallowe’en never really meant that much to me when I was a kid… well, not when I was a teenager, anyway.

I was born in late 1961.  My childhood, as it turned out, was one of above average mobility — not as rootless as that of a military brat, certainly, but due to the vagaries of my single parent mom’s social life, as well as our extreme poverty, we tended to move around a lot.  We didn’t cover a lot of geographical distance… I don’t think I ever left Western New York State until I was an adult (other than …

Halloween Haunts: Whatever Happened to Mischief Night? by Charles Christian

HH2104_FeaturedImageDuring the late 1970s and 1980s, the city of Detroit was plagued by Mischief Night or Devil’s Nights riots that saw widescale arson attacks taking place over the Halloween period, kicking off the night before on 30th October). The worst year on record was 1984, when over 800 fires were started. It was Mischief Nights like these that provided the setting for the cult 1994 Brandon Lee movie The Crow. But, Detroit was not the only place that used to have a Mischief Night.

Growing up in the North of England, in the 1950s and early 1960s, one of …

Halloween Haunts: Want Some Candy, Little Boy? by E. F. Schraeder

candyman001_38041aHalloween offers a perfect time to ponder haunting images and innermost fears, probing the question, what scares you?  The question “want some candy, little boy?” is the stuff of urban legend, though each Halloween the promise of treats sends children door to door taking candy from strangers. By turning to the history of the holiday, we are reminded that sometimes the most frightening horrors involve a treat and a trick.

Asking children if they want some candy provokes tingles up the spine, for it rests on a fine point between gift and threat.  Melting the distance between strangers and children, …

Halloween Haunts: Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, Don’t Give Me Peeps To Eat! by Pamela K. Kinney

Kinney_HeadshotWhen one is a child, Halloween is about trick-or-treating for candy. Treats as in Halloween, and not from any other holiday. Except in 1965, I learn the horror of Easter peeps. Those marshmallow treats in shapes of yellow chicks.

We lived in Ontario, California. Friends of mine, Jenny and Cindy, lived with their parents in the same complex as my parents and I did. We had agreed to go trick-or-treating together and my mother would be shepherding us, to make their parents happy. Wearing our costumes and bags in hand, we left the complex after a quick trick-or-treat there. I …

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