Horror Writers Association Blog

SALE! Special Ad Rate Extended for the HWA Newsletter

SALE! Special Ad Rate Extended for the HWA Newsletter

HWA Librarian’s Day Postponed

HWA Librarian’s Day Postponed

Darren Shan Interviewed by Dave Jeffery

Darren Shan Interviewed by Dave Jeffery


Recent Posts

Halloween Haunts: Dive Bombed in a Nightmare

by Damian Serbu

Halloween often brings to mind memories of past frights and haunts. As a horror writer, I find myself drawn to moments that scared the crap out of me, so I can relive the intense thrill and ponder anew its meaning. I am not talking about actual-horrific events that I experienced in life, but false alarms or watching a horror movie or going to a haunted house. Something frightening without a real threat of violence to myself.

This summer’s publication of The Bachmann Family Secret and the arrival of October has me thinking about one particular recurring nightmare …

Halloween Haunts: Thank You, Horror

by Tom Leveen


The thing is, the non-readers of horror don’t get it. They don’t get our attraction to the darkness, to the monstrous. They don’t get that we, more than they, are attuned to the human condition. To mortality and disease and the unfairness of monsters in our midst.

They don’t get that that’s why we write it, why we read it. It’s our inoculation. It’s our telescope and microscope, making the distant loom large and the subtle come to life so that we can study it and, perhaps, sublimate it.

We are healthier and stronger for it. …

Halloween Haunts: Everybody is a Book of Blood

By B.R. Yeager


Each October, we immersive ourselves in narrative. Yes, yes—those classic and cult films, those new and beloved books. I don’t need to tell you. Search “best Halloween movies” and Google spits out 186 listicles before asking you to be more specific. Search “best Halloween books” and you get roughly the same result. But an important aspect of this month gets neglected: narratives come unglued from consumerist machinery to spill out into the rest of life.

We tell each other stories.

One particular house in my neighborhood sticks out: it’s an average bungalow, apart from a large …

Halloween Haunts: Short Stories, Long Journeys – Halloween Lights

by Anna Taborska

Halloween has been lucky for me as a writer. The first story of mine ever published was a Halloween-themed story, and it came out in time for Halloween.

            When an author publishes a novel through a publisher, they usually sign away their rights for many years, sometimes indefinitely – if they’re not careful. This is generally not the case with short stories, where a publisher might ask for first rights to a book for a year after publication or perhaps even ask for non-exclusive rights to a story. Thus short stories (and the rights to them) …

Classical Frights — Halloween Poetry by the Great Ones

By David E. Cowen, Bram-Stoker Nominated Author of Bleeding Saffron

Every October social media sites become saturated with celebrations worthy of Samhain (pronounced “so-win” in Gaelic I am told). The HWA has a rich tradition of dark poets who all relish this season. Not a single member of the HWA I would wager would not include Edgar Allan Poe on a short list of dark poets, probably then jumping to Robert Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, George Sterling and H.P. Lovecraft. But would you jump to Samuel Taylor Coleridge with his The Rime of the Ancient Mariner? What about Robert

Halloween Haunts: Halloween Then and Now and in the New Now

by Kate Maruyama


We do enjoy Christmas, but the most wonderful time of the year for my family is the Halloween season. When we first moved to the neighborhood, my husband and I would rent a pile of scary movies, and hand out Halloween candy (as well as eat our share of it).

Then we had kids. Every season (they’d have to wait ‘til October 1st!) we’d decorate the house, make decorations, fabric ghosts one year, a haunted candy tree another. We’d start making treats, planning costumes (always homemade,) and we’d make a gingerbread Halloween house. This …

Halloween Haunts: On Treats and Tricks

by Christopher Hawkins

Trick or treat. We say the words, but we don’t often give a lot of thought to them. They’ve become generic holiday words, not much more than a tidy slogan written in orange on black napkins or spelled out on window clings amid bats and spiders. For the kids that come to the door, they’re the gateway to getting candy in their bags, like the password spoken at the door of a speakeasy. As adults, we say them with a self-aware little laugh, borrowing a bit of that youthful insistence and making it our own, if only …

Halloween Haunts: Haunted Houses

by David Sharp


One of my favorite Halloween traditions is going to haunted houses—not breaking and entering into an abandoned places where ghosts may dwell, but going to the commercial ones. Chasing the dragon of the adrenaline of fear is harder with age. In youth, I could find terror lurking in the shadows after watching a scary film or riding a roller coaster. Finding the frisson as an adult takes more effort. One of the best ways is to feed off the fear of a like-minded group—Imagination is the key. An ideal setting to psyche myself out into the …

Halloween Haunts: The Halloween Party Guest

by R.A. Stafne

Sometimes Halloween plans just don’t work out. Indeed, they sometimes fall completely apart. This does not necessarily mean that Halloween won’t end up being scary and memorable, for that is just what happened to my husband and me one October 31.

We invited a couple dozen folks to attend our Halloween party. Oftentimes in a new town, especially a small town, making friends with people to invite to a Halloween party can be difficult.  Thus, as in previous years, we found ourselves inviting a few people we didn’t know very well.

One invitee in particular was an …

Halloween Haunts: Hallowmas

By Katherine Kerestman

The Hallowmas Feast was held in The Cauldron Black, an occult shop in Salem, Massachusetts, on the wharf in Salem Harbor.  It is a close space with black walls and a sound system playing chanting New Age music, an emporium selling shirts, hoodies, and other garments black and screen-printed with white occult symbols.  The ware also includes wands, candles, boxes with many compartments, jewelry with pentacles and powers (crystals, pewters), books on various forms of witchcraft, incense and burners, poppets, many Egyptian figures, and oils.

The Hallowmas Feast began with participants processing into the inner room, …

Halloween Haunts: How Grandma Made Me a Horror Writer

by Jeremiah Dylan Cook

I didn’t know true horror until the day my grandma died. Up until that point, no one I’d known closely had journeyed into the great unknown. That’s not to say I didn’t understand the concept of death. I’d learned that lesson when I’d watched the film adaptation of Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come at the age of eight. As the credits rolled on that bittersweet Robin Williams film, I burst into tears over the realization that my days were numbered. A year later, my grandma, Linda Springfield, would pass suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart …

Halloween Haunts: Quarantine Halloween: Trick ‘r Treating During an Outbreak

by Clay McLeod Chapman


In our home, it’s always Halloween. The ceramic pumpkins and paper spiders tend to stay hung up throughout the house all year round.

I have two sons. These boys were born in the Halloween season. They identify as Halloween children, born amidst jack o’ lanterns and candy corn pacifiers. When their classmates ask when’s their birthday, rather than give an exact date, they simply say—


This is mostly my fault, I’ll admit. I’ve nurtured a culture of creepiness in our home. I’ve tried not to exert my own affinity for all-things horrific into our …

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