Horror Writers Association Blog

Tag archive: children's horror Archives - Horror Writers Association Blog [ 21 ]

Scary Out There with Sarah Rees Brennan

Scary Out There with Sarah Rees Brennan

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees BrennanIt’s Scary Out There had a witchingly good time talking character, lore, and more with Sarah Rees Brennan, author of Season of the Witch, the tie-in novel for Netflix’s hit show, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

With books like How to Hang a Witch, The Price Guide to the Occult, and Conversion, witchcraft in YA seems to be more popular than ever. Why do you think that is?

Witches are figures of female independence and social disobedience! I think whenever society is having a big conversation about how just our system actually is, how power …

Surviving Records: Found Footage in Print

Surviving Records: Found Footage in Print

found footage illustration through a shaky cam view screenShaky camcorders, baby monitors picking up paranormal activity, mysteriously unearthed videos—it’s no wonder found footage flourishes so well in cinematic horror. It’s visually compelling metafiction that doesn’t undermine audience immersion.

It can be a little harder to pull off in print (especially because the author name on the physical book is rarely also the name of a character inside of it, a limitation The Blair Witch Project marketing team didn’t face when they released fake missing posters of their leads and even convinced some that the actors were dead). But, it can still be a lot of fun and provides …

Q&A for Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies

Q&A for Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies

Jorge and Megan Lacera with a copy of Zombies Don't Eat Veggies

We all know that zombies eat brains. But zombies that eat veggies? Now that’s scary! I recently had the chance to sit down and chat with husband and wife team Megan and Jorge Lacera about their debut picture book, Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies! (Lee & Low, 2019). We also talked about what it’s like writing horror for little kids and why diversity in horror is important.

You don’t see a lot of horror picture books out there for little kids. What made you want to tackle zombies?

Jorge: From the beginning, we knew we wanted to do something that was

Five Great Children’s Poetry Collections for National Poetry Month

Five Great Children’s Poetry Collections for National Poetry Month

I love poetry. Good poetry, like good prose, makes you think and makes you feel. With April being National Poetry Month, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look at some excellent horror poetry collections for young readers.

Writing horror for children is a unique balancing act of being scary but not too scary. Add in meter, rhythm, and often rhyme and it can be difficult to pull off. Each of the books below have definite creep factor while still being fun and accessible to the younger reader.

So if you are thinking of writing your own young horror poetry,

YA Writing Prompt: Cabin Fever

YA Writing Prompt: Cabin Fever

Young Horror brings you writing prompts to energize your week with spooky writing idea inspiration. Are you writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, or YA? Your next great idea could be sparked right here.

The Horrors of Winter Break

Ah…take a breath, because December brings with it Winter Break. There’s a short vacation for kids, teens, and parents from the usual routine of packing lunches, school buses, and homework. Picture togetherness, smell the holiday spices, taste the hot cocoa, feel the soft flannel of matching family pajamas.

Sometimes, there can be TOO much togetherness.

If the weather’s terrible …

Murder Most Fowl and Other Holiday Horrors

Murder Most Fowl and Other Holiday Horrors

demonic turkeys with overlaid flamesSomewhere in the United States this moment, a large turkey—with glorious plumage, I would like to imagine—doesn’t know that he’s already been selected for presidential pardon for the American Thanksgiving holiday next week. In classrooms across the country, kids are consuming read-aloud picture books about other turkeys running from feast centerpiece fates. Many classroom games and educational activities are built to the theme of staving off the imminent death of the turkey—hide the turkey, disguise the turkey.

Can you, young schoolchild, alter this bird’s fate and save his life?

It’s all fun and games, and then we expect the child …

Evil Teachers and Beyond: 5 School Scare Sources

Evil Teachers and Beyond: 5 School Scare Sources

Scary school bus

The days are getting shorter and cooler, and ravaged store displays are picked-over, having only straggling survivors among the pencils, notebooks, and backpacks. Children and teens have mysteriously vanished from public places on weekdays… It’s Back to School season! In honor of returning yellow school buses, here are five school aspects to be mined for your horror stories.

1) Mind Control

Kids in classroom

From preschool to high school, kids spend a large portion of their day having someone else tell them what to do. Wear this. Eat now. Do this work now. You need the bathroom? The break’s in 15 minutes, so

The CreEpy Catalog: Frozen Charlotte

The CreEpy Catalog: Frozen Charlotte

In order to write great children’s horror, you must READ great children’s horror. To help you out with this, we’ve invited our very own middle school librarian to take you into the deepest, darkest corners of the stacks to see what frightening fiction kids are reading. Welcome to the CreEpy Catalog!


Everyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot for dolls. Even the ones that look “creepy” find a home with me because I can’t bear to have a representation of someone’s childhood go abandoned and unloved. I love reading horror stories that feature creepy dolls, and

Writing Prompt: Ice Cream Truck

Writing Prompt: Ice Cream Truck

Young Horror brings you writing prompts to energize your week with spooky idea inspiration. Are you writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, or YA? Your next great idea could be sparked right here. Check back every Monday for new writing prompts. Share your ideas and discuss in the comments below.

Writing Prompt: The Ice Cream Truck

Ice Cream Truck

Last week we discussed beating the summer heat of these dog days by eating popsicles. Popsicles with dire consequences! Another source of scorching heat relief is the always creepy Ice Cream Truck.

Driven by a stranger. Driving slowly down residential streets. …

Writing Prompt: Dog Days of Summer

Writing Prompt: Dog Days of Summer

Young Horror brings you writing prompts to energize your week with spooky idea inspiration. Are you writing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, or YA? Your next great idea could be sparked right here.

Check back every Monday for new writing prompts. Share your ideas and discuss in the comments below.

Dog Days of Summer

For today’s writing prompt, turn on the sprinkler, because we’re in the dog days of summer. These “dog days” point to the rise of Sirius, the Dog Star. Sirius ushers in the hottest 40 days in the Northern Hemisphere. Time to avoid heat

A Flash of Fear: Why Write Short-form Horror

For many (if not most), the first introduction to horror doesn’t come from a book or movie, but from a brief scary story told to them, perhaps around a smoky campfire in lonely–or are you alone after all?–woods. Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories collections include many of the selfsame creepy jewels of storytelling’s oral tradition, and have inducted many a child into the ranks of the horror lovers.

Sometimes, what readers really need is unfiltered, filler-free horror delivered directly to the brain.

Short horror is also popular in amateur circles, via various user-driven websites and podcasts. So, even though word counts …

Q&A for The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael

Q&A for The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael

It’s Friday the 13th–the perfect day to reach down into the grave dirt and resurrect the Young Horror (formerly YA Horror) blog and to talk about NEW BOOKS.

Hop aboard the Thirteen bus and drive through the brand new spooky picture book The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael (Candlewick 2018). Author Bonny Becker and Illustrator Mark Fearing give all the gory details to HWA YH blogger Shanna Heath below.

Whether you write horror for young people, or want to share more horror stories with the kids in your life, check in every Monday for Young Horror Writing Prompts and every …

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