Horror Writers Association

Archive for October, 2020 [ 38 ]

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 …

Halloween Haunts: Once in a Blue Moon

by Lou Rera

Those of us who live for this time of year when we can be someone or something else without raising eyebrows, know full well, Halloween is a day unlike any other. I suspect most HWA members are card carrying night people to some degree. This year Halloween and a full moon crash into our lives on the same day! Can you believe it?

Some people might treasure the full moon the way the heretic pharaoh, Akhenaten (1350 BC) adored the sun. He tried to convert Egyptian society to worship and bring into daily life, the God RA …

Halloween Haunts: The Owl

By Jeffrey LeBlanc

Children of Horror,

The leaves are crisped and sere with a harvest moon brilliantly glowing. Goblins, ghouls, and ghosts trek chilled, fog-filled streets to trick or treat. And the living and undead dare the decrepit crypt and the haunted house to test their nerve on this unholiest of magical and macabre nights—Halloween!

Hopefully…or not…they survive.

Happy Halloween HWA family! We want to share with you fiends and friends this horrific poem in tune with the terrifying season.

Being a child of Poe, Machen, Lovecraft, King, Anne Rice, and Matheson, we channeled our inner madness on Christmas Eve …

Halloween Haunts: Halloween Records!

By Dr. Greg McWhorter

Heh…heh…he…The wind is starting to blow. The bats are flapping around in the moonlight. Distant howls from wolves can be heard late into the night. Ah, yes…it’s Halloween time once again! And what better way to spend the witching season than by spinning some dead wax! Although I am a horror writer, I also have a radio show called the Record Graveyard where I play the vinyl records I collect as the Crypt-Keeper. In 2013, I shared some of my favorite Halloween records as part of the HWA Halloween Haunt (HWA 2013). Now I …

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