Being from Australia, a land where celebrations centre more on sport than the change of seasons, I never had the pleasure of indulging in trick or treating. I knew of Halloween from seeing it on US television shows growing up, but it just wasn’t practised in Australia. “It was an American thing”.
That’s not to say that no one in Australia celebrates Halloween, but I’d hazard a guess that those that do are in the minority. However, I have over the past few years, seen a return to Halloween, but its re-emergence seems to be sadly rooted in commerciality.
As a child I was jealous of those Americans who got to don scary costumes and go and knock on their neighbours’ doors for chocolates and candy every year, but if anything it helped spur me on to learn more about Halloween and its true meaning.
As an adult my recognition of Halloween is solely from a spiritual standpoint – it’s a time to remember the loved ones we have lost. The pumpkin carving, costumes and sweet-collecting make it fun and perhaps empowers children to do away with their notions that monsters are real (they’re not real – right?)
Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but I wonder if Halloween is just humanity finding a way to cope with our impending mortality; a colourful reminder of the fact that beneath the veil of flesh and blood is a skeleton waiting to be exposed.
Oh, for Pete’s sake – enough with the philosophising!
From an author’s perspective, Halloween is the perfect fodder for a great horror story. One of my first published short stories was about Halloween, but in my story, the children were demons and the houses they knocked on belonged to some of history’s worst killers.
At the moment I am writing a story set during Halloween night and I’m very eager to capture that traditional Halloween ideal of spooks, trick or treating and costumed children discovering what might reside on “the other side”.
Halloween has also influenced my artistic pursuits. There’s something about those sneering pumpkins that instantly appeals to the artist in me and whenever Halloween comes around I always feel the need to draw something.
When I was asked to create the art for the Halloween Haunts advertising campaign I jumped at the chance. I hope it puts everyone in the mood for Halloween and encourages newcomers to the Horror Writers Association family.
Even though I don’t live in a country that celebrates Halloween as much as it’s other western counterparts, I’ll still celebrate Halloween in my own way; by reading a piece of Halloween-themed fiction, writing my own tale, watching a horror movie or two, or sketching a pumpkin head. I might even don a Scream mask and chase my kids around the house, (but I doubt the wife will let me).
Wherever you live and whatever you believe, just celebrate Halloween your own way, but most of all make it fun.
GREG CHAPMAN is a horror author and artist from Central Queensland, Australia. His first two novellas Torment and The Noctuary were published by Damnation Books in the United States in 2011. His third novella Vaudeville, was just published by Dark Prints Press. His short fiction has appeared in The Absent Willow Review, Eclecticism, Trembles, Morpheus Tales 2011 Christmas Special. His comics and illustrations have appeared in Midnight Echo, Decay and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. His first graphic novel, Witch-Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written by Bram Stoker Award® winners Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton, was also published by McFarland Publishers in May this year. After joining the Australian Horror Writers Association in 2009, Greg Chapman was selected for its mentor program under the tutelage of author Brett McBean. Since then he has had short stories published in The Absent Willow Review, Trembles, Eclecticism, Bete Noire and Morpheus Tales and comic artwork in Midnight Echo Magazine. “Torment” is his first novella-length publication in the United States. It was published on March 1, 2011 by Damnation Books. Chapman’s second novella “The Noctuary” was published on December 1, 2011. Greg’s home on the web is www.darkscrybe.blogspot.com
TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Greg Chapman is offering one digital copy of his novella, “Vaudeville.” To enter post a comment in the section below or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and put HH CONTEST ENTRY in the header. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.
Vaudeville is an e-novella by Greg Chapman, published July 2012, by Dark Prints Press, ISBN: 9780987197641, For More information: http://www.darkprintspress.com.au/books_novellas.html
One year has passed since Anthony Moore’s father was found hanging from a tree in Keaton Woods.
On the anniversary of his father’s death, Anthony ventures into the woods in search of the truth about how his father died, but the truth is hungry – and waiting for him.
Vengeful demons, exiled to the woods more than a century before, are eager to escape and Anthony considers giving them their freedom, when they offer the answers he seeks.
“The All-American Travelling Trobadours” have a dark story to perform – all they need is audience of four young souls.
Vaudeville is a coming-of-age horror tale, touching on themes of grief, loneliness and the darkest days of the American Civil War.