Horror Writers Association Blog

Halloween [ 317 ]

Zoinks! By David Ghilardi

            Mitts was dressed as the Fonz, but now lolled at me like Droopy Dog.

            I couldn’t figure why. We’d decided Halloween was done for us. We were hungrily stuffing our faces. It wasn’t time to consider anything other than sugary satisfaction. We’d worked hard for our huge bags of swag. Enjoyment was set to last until Thanksgiving, at least. Mitts had decided to be like Ewell Gibbons, chomping into the toffee apple oozing with caramel and nuts.

            There was a pulpy crunch, then my friend turned towards me.

            “Roo rushes id luhg?” He garbled.

            I guffawed out a chunk …

Ghost-Inspired Fiction by Loren Rhoads

Once I paid for the initial Haunted Mansion Writers Retreat in 2010, I worried what I’d do if the mansion really was haunted. What if things got really bad and I was afraid to sleep? Since I couldn’t drive myself up there, I couldn’t slink out to my car and sleep in it. I’d be trapped for the weekend.

As the retreat drew closer, my new worry became that I’d spent a couple hundred dollars to write for a weekend in a haunted mansion — and nothing would happen. The ghosts would ignore us, or they’d prowl around downstairs while …

Interview Spotlight: Ashley Dioses

Happy Wednesday! Today Halloween Haunts features an interview spotlight with poet Ashley Dioses whose poetry has recently been featured in Weirdbook 41 from Wildside Press and The Audient Void: A Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy (Issue Six).

Halloween Haunts:  Welcome Ashley! Having started writing during your pre-teen years, what drew you to the poetry format?

Ashley Dioses:  Thank you!  My dad was a poet and wrote a lot of children’s poetry that he read to me and my brother when we were young.  When I read Poe for the first time when I was twelve, I didn’t realize …

When I was a Witch By Paul Dale Anderson

Among the many reasons I became a board-certified hypnotist, hypnosis instructor, and past-life regression therapist, was a life-long fascination with witches.

I’d always suspected that my grandmother had been a witch, my aunt had been a witch, and my wife was a witch. It wasn’t until I experienced past-life regression that I recalled I, too, had once upon a time been a witch.

Writers, like witches, live most of their creative lives in altered states. We walk between multiple worlds. We bend and shape reality with our imaginations. There is nothing we cannot do when we set our minds to …

Gamers Guide to Halloween Video Games (That Actually Take Place on Halloween) By Nicholas Diak

Introduction

Year after year, various online periodicals compile lists of the best video games to play during the month of October. Typically, these articles mostly adhere to listing universally renown survival horror titles from popular franchises such as Resident Evil, Fatal Frame, Silent Hill, Dead Space, Alone in the Dark, and Dead Rising. While these games are scary in their own right and are perfect to celebrate a month of frights, they all have one thing in common: none of them take place on Halloween. In reality, while there is an abundance of horror …

10 Things to Do on Halloween by Joanna Parypinski

It’s that time of year again when horror lovers have to decide what they will do to make the most of their precious Halloween time. Sure, there are tons of activities available, from parades to theme parks to haunted houses, but let’s face it: most people will probably come home after work and stay in to hand out candy. This list of 10 things to do is for those of you who appreciate the simple things in life and in holidays! A Halloween itinerary for your Average Joe:

  1. Wear a half-hearted costume to work because you’re not sure if anyone

The Challenges of Writing a Spook Show by David Lucarelli

Before there were TV horror hosts, haunted houses, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, there were spook shows. Now a nearly forgotten bit of Americana, these once incredibly popular shows toured around the country on the movie theater circuit from the 1940’s through the 1960’s. In some ways the last vestige of vaudeville, they featured comedy, spooky magic, a little burlesque and often a séance. A half-century before it was a term, the spook shows were also on the cutting edge of “immersive” theater. The climax of every show was a “blackout sequence,” in which the audience was placed …

Halloween in the Shadows by Amanda Trujillo

“My name is Victoria Winters and my journey is beginning…a journey that will take me to a strange, dark house, high atop Widows’ Hill.  A house called Collinwood…”

So begins the first episode of “Dark Shadows” (DS), a popular 1960’s soap opera featuring an otherworldly cast of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches and other spooks germane to the Halloween season.  As each episode opens with a monologue to set the scene, so it opens with a view of “Collinwood,” the sprawling chateau where the show’s action unfolds.

The image of Collinwood, with its tower, dormers, and multiple chimneys, is as iconic …

Too Close to Home by Marlena Frank

I love reading about haunted houses. The Haunting of Hill House is still one of my absolute favorite ghost stories. But I find it very difficult to write about them, especially since I grew up in a haunted house in a very haunted neighborhood.

I hadn’t realized when I was younger my hometown was as haunted as it is. My family had a number of strange, unexplainable events happen when we lived there. We encountered shadows on the road that headlights couldn’t pierce, disembodied voices in the house that sounded like family members who weren’t there, and even saw full …

Interview Spotlight: Rhonda Jackson Joseph

Happy Wednesday! Welcome back to another interview spotlight, a new feature for this year’s Halloween Haunts. Today Halloween Haunts catches up with Dr. Rhonda Jackson Joseph who is a Texas-based HWA academic member. Her poetry is featured in the recently released HWA Poetry Showcase V.

Halloween Haunts:  Welcome to Halloween Haunts Rhonda! We met at the Ann Radcliffe Academic Conference earlier this year when you co-presented “When We Are the Monsters: Female Monsters and the Subversion of Patriarchy” with Elsa Carruthers. As a professor by trade, I thought we could start with what drew you to become a member of

Sounds of Halloween by Naching T. Kassa

The room is dark. Dim, red light shines from the electronic device as it whirs softly. White noise sounds followed by a menacing voice. Gooseflesh rises with that tone.

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

The Shadow knows!

Muhahahahahahaha!

So began one of my favorite programs. And, no, it wasn’t on television.

In the days before cable television, satellite television, and streaming Netflix, there were (depending on where you lived) only a few channels on the dial. Most entertainment came in the form of a VHS tape if you didn’t like the TV shows, but there …

Horror World Building Tips by Joanna Nelius

I tend to look at world building in horror as half technical, half psychological. We’re writing about fear at its core, trying to tap into what makes us the most afraid. But we can’t do that without knowing how to capitalize on all that adrenaline just waiting to be released.

  1. One of the main things to remember when world building, especially for horror, is to strike a balance between the suspension of disbelief and logic. If you’re creating a serial killer or monster with supernatural powers, for instance, there should be some limitations on what they can and can’t do
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