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Tag archive: Halloween Haunts 2014 Archives - Horror Writers Association Blog [ 35 ]

Halloween Haunts: The Masque of the Red Horde by Gene O’Neill

Halloween Haunts: The Masque of the Red Horde by Gene O’Neill

O'Neill_bioDim light spilling through a red-stained Gothic window cast a ghastly pall over a heavily shadowed long hall. At the center of the room, bathed in the bloody illumination, a naked woman lay down on a black velvet covered dais, her ritual complete except for the final oral incantation. As she finished murmuring the last of the ancient spell, a phantasm suddenly appeared from the shadows. The tall, gaunt figure, cloaked in a black shroud, features hidden by a corpse-like mask, moved effortlessly to her side, accompanied by a chilling draft. Without a word, the masked specter bent over the

Halloween Haunts: The Phases of Halloween by Peter Adam Salomon

Halloween Haunts: The Phases of Halloween by Peter Adam Salomon

Salomon_cvr‘Baby’s First Halloween’ This entails adorable costumes, miniaturized, and usually pumpkin shaped. While there’s no need for candy, there’s an intense desire on the part of parents to show their little bundle of joy off. This particular phase is more pronounced with an only child. A second child will be shoved into the same pumpkin, a couple obligatory photos will be taken, and then the younger child will be buckled in a stroller while their older sibling collects all the candy.

‘Baby’s Second Halloween’ Baby no longer quite fits in the adorable pumpkin costume, plus it says ‘Baby’s First Halloween’ …

Halloween Haunts: I’m Old Now and Halloween was Better Once… Really by John F.D. Taff

Halloween Haunts: I’m Old Now and Halloween was Better Once… Really by John F.D. Taff

Ok, you know, it’s true what they say about growing old. Yes, about the aches and pains.  OK, yes, about the fossilfication of your music choices.  And, sigh, yes, also about the general jadedness about life and jaundiced viewpoints about…well, let’s not stray too far, here, shall we? Also part of growing old is a distressing tendency to digress…

No, what I’m talking about here is how those of us who are older—and at 50 years old I count myself amongst them—have a tendency to view our past as some sort of privileged golden age that was there only for …

Halloween Haunts: Tamlane and Alison Gross: Halloween Ballads by Lisa Morton

Halloween Haunts: Tamlane and Alison Gross: Halloween Ballads by Lisa Morton

Although magazines and books like to tell us that Halloween is an ancient festival with pagan roots, the truth is the holiday as we know it is really only a few centuries old, especially in terms of being a night that incorporates dark enchantments and spooky tales. Combining the Celtic Samhain with the Christian All Saints Day and All Souls Day (the latter wasn’t instituted in the Catholic Church until 998 A.D.), references to the holiday are basically nonexistent prior to the 16th century, and those few scarce mentions hardly sound at all like the holiday we love. For …

Halloween Haunts: Halloween in Rockhampton by Greg Chapman

Halloween Haunts: Halloween in Rockhampton by Greg Chapman

chapman_cvrHalloween is spreading like the branches of an ancient bay tree across my hometown of Rockhampton, Australia.

Last year was the first time I decided to put up a Halloween display outside my house, because, much to my amazement, the fun of the season was finally starting to rear its (decapitated) head. People really came to my house – in costume! It was truly something I never thought possible in Australia.

As my friend Lisa Morton will tell you, Australia is the only English-speaking nation that hasn’t completely embraced Halloween traditions. Well, Lisa, I’m happy to report that the times, …

Halloween Haunts: Trick-or-Treating of the Dead, A True Account by T. Fox Dunham

Dunham_cover_StreetMartyrFew of you know that I am a real zombie. It’s true. I hide it. Now, I don’t eat brains or human flesh though. I generally dress well, though my suit jacket is a bit tattered and ruined; my Allison plans to fix all that. I do stumble when I walk at times without my cane, and I still get a glazed look in my eye now and again, mostly from medications or Long Islands. Oh. And I’ve been legally dead a few times and come back, not in a messiah-way but more in a—my-heart-didn’t-know-when-to-quit-to-kind-of-way.

I feel nothing as a …

Halloween Haunts: Halloween – Derivations and Diversions by David Sakmyster

Halloween Haunts: Halloween – Derivations and Diversions by David Sakmyster

I have fond memories of my formative years playing Dungeons and Dragons and romping through some spooky forest only to come across that dreaded Will-o’-the-wisp—whatever that was. The Dungeon Master would go into the description of a bobbing spectral light, sometimes in which you could see a man’s face. Apart from these nasty critters being resistant to normal weapons and damn hard to kill, it just didn’t sound all that glamorous to say you leveled up by slaughtering some Will-o-something. But I went with it. We all did, little realizing that not only does the Will-o’-the-wisp have its origins …

Halloween Haunts: It Takes A Writer: The Legacy of CJ Henderson by Patrick Thomas

Halloween Haunts: It Takes A Writer: The Legacy of CJ Henderson by Patrick Thomas

Thomas_HendersonBioHalloween is a holiday steeped in tradition. The HWA is an organization with many traditions of its own. Arguably one of the most important is that writers should help other writers and that those with more experience should be able to help mentor writers who are just starting out or even those who are simply starting to aspire to one day be writers.

No writer is born knowing everything about their craft. Each of us has to learn through trial and error what works, what doesn’t and most importantly – at least in order to continue writing – how to …

Halloween Haunts: The Betamax Horror by Tom Calen

Halloween Haunts: The Betamax Horror by Tom Calen

Calen_cvrI got my first real taste of fear when I was four or five years old. It was the early 1980s in Brooklyn, New York, and the night, quite fittingly, was Halloween.

My family had joined with three others for the annual door-to-door plea for candy, otherwise known as Trick-or-Treating[*]. All combined, there were eight children in our pack: a quartet of ten year-olds, a trio aged eight, and me–the youngest by four years and the only boy. I don’t remember much about the trick-or-treating itself, which likely means I ended the route with a healthy bag of …

Halloween Haunts: Homemade Halloween By Doug Murano

Halloween Haunts: Homemade Halloween By Doug Murano

Murano_cvrI always feel a mix of giddy excitement and sadness when grocery stores and department stores switch over their wares for the Halloween season. Rows of rubbery fright masks. Aisles of candy branded to sell the latest movies and toy lines. Mass-produced orange banners and black fuzzy spiders stuck to windows with Scotch tape and suction cups. Today’s rampant commercialization of Halloween (every holiday, really) was already underway by the time the mid-80’s rolled around. But I still remember the real goodies—the ones I think back upon most fondly from my childhood.

Those things were always homemade.

In the lead-up …

Halloween Haunts: Blood and Coffee by Alp Beck

Halloween Haunts: Blood and Coffee by Alp Beck

The dimness of the cave made it hard for the old man to see the thing’s details.  The small gelatinous mass was of indeterminate color and shape.  He squinted and poked it lightly with his cane.  Nothing happened.  He poked it again, a bit more vigorously.  Unexpectedly, the mass sprung up the length of the cane and wrapped itself around his hand, sealing it completely within its bulk as the man fell back and screamed.

If that scene seems oddly familiar, it’s because it’s from the film, The Blob, the 1958 cult classic starring a teenage, Steve McQueen in …

Halloween Haunts: What Your Costume Choices Say About You by Jennifer Brinkmeyer

Halloween Haunts: What Your Costume Choices Say About You by Jennifer Brinkmeyer

Brinkmeyer_TraditionalI don’t know how many adults have a costume chest, but I have two. When spring cleaning rolls around, no clothes leave my house that have the potential to make a great costume someday. This is the only area in which I am a complete pack rat. Today I’ll wave my freak flag, and analyze some typical costume choices through my past looks.

1. Traditional
I have been a witch at least four times–for Halloween, that is (ha ha!). Choices like witch, skeleton, or vampire are traditional for a reason. What would Halloween in America be without these archetypes? People …

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