Horror Writers Association Blog

Halloween Haunts: Three Ways Anyone Can Have an Awesome Halloween by Lincoln Crisler


Halloween can be a galvanizing time of year for some. People who don’t go to church except maybe on Christmas and Easter suddenly RISE UP! against the blasphemous evil nature of the holiday. Others, who may be fairly apathetic though the rest of the year awake from their walking slumber sometime around mid-September, attacking a flurry of party arrangements, costume decisions, decorating opportunities and meal options with the drive and ambition of any ten normal people.

To me, Halloween isn’t about the Hairy Goat Man (or any other deity, though as a student of many religions, I’m well-versed in the holiday’s pagan roots), nor is it about doing my best to scare the crap out of my neighborhood (though I can certainly make allowances for individual situations!). However, I’d be a fraud if I didn’t admit to having my own peeve about the holiday (though admittedly, it’s the same peeve I have about all of them)—the rampant commercialism that goes on this time of year. If I can get over my foibles, though, maybe I can help you get over yours, too.

If you do a big Halloween celebration every year or are otherwise comfortable with the day, this short list might give you a new idea to use. If you’re the sort who’s stumbled across the HWA Blog because Hey, it’s that time of year, maybe I can help you rediscover an old holiday in a new way:

Get Crafty/Creative: Lots of people do this already, but many others just go through the motions and pick something off the rack to get it over with. Make something, instead. Halloween’s not my Kryptonite. Christmas is. What gets me through it is Christmas dinner. I love planning and cooking it. Making costumes might get you through Halloween. Plus, it’s something you can do as a family—whether you’re going trick-or-treating, to a party, or just watching a scary movie and answering knocks at the door. Here’s a site to get you started.

Push a Boundary: Halloween originated as a pagan holiday currently termed Samhain, a Gaelic harvest festival that also symbolized the time of year when the border between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its thinnest.  Your mileage may vary, of course, on that particular matter, but why not be inspired by the spirit of the holiday to push a boundary of your own? Not social? Go to a Halloween party—or even host one. Read a spooky book. Watch a scary movie. Dress up as something completely opposite your personality—or as something that expresses a part of you that’s normally hidden. You get the idea.

Hook Someone Else Up: Most people think of the holidays following Halloween as a time for giving, but that’s no reason not to start early—and if you think about it, Halloween’s a time for giving, too; the candy and all that. Of course, you can take this way past simple bags of candy from the store. If you know your neighbors well or are attending a party with friends, you might be able to make your own candy (ties into that crafty thing) without anyone being scared that there’s rat poison in it. You could clean out the old paperback horror novels in your closet and hand those out to some of the older kids, instead of candy. And of course, the Live-Action G.I. Joe would be seriously failing in his mission if he didn’t point out opportunities to share Halloween with men and women serving overseas—AnySoldier.Com and  Books for Soldiers are two great sites for anyone wishing to send candy, books or movies to deployed warriors. In addition, check with your local libraries about anything they might need help with—reading stories to young children is a frequent possibility.

What do you like to do for Halloween that doesn’t necessarily occur to most people? Feel free to share with us in the comments!

Read an excerpt from Queen by Lincoln Crisler.

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Lincoln Crisler is giving away a digital copy of his latest book, FOUR IN THE MORNING. To enter post a comment in the section below or e-mail memoutreach@horror.org and put HH CONTEST ENTRY in the header. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.

LINCOLN CRISLER’s body of work consists of over thirty short stories, two novellas and editorship of two anthologies, most recently Corrupts Absolutely?, an anthology of dark superhero fiction. A United States Army combat veteran and non-commissioned officer, Lincoln lives in Augusta, Georgia with his wife and two of his three children. You can contact him at lincoln@lincolncrisler.info.


3 comments on “Halloween Haunts: Three Ways Anyone Can Have an Awesome Halloween by Lincoln Crisler

  1. I love the idea of passing out old horror books!
    Some snotty kids are sure to be brats about it – but to awaken the love of reading a good horror story in a new generation is brilliant.
    I think I will set out a prop of some sort, to showcase all the books I can part with, and I’ll still hand out candy – but if any of the trick-or-treaters would like a book… more power to ’em! I started reading horror very young, because that’s what my mom had in the house. I have carried my love of reading & horror through my entire life. I hope I’ll ‘breed’ a whole tribe of little horror fanatics!
    Thanks for the ideas!

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