Horror Writers Association


Halloween Haunts: Suburbia is Hell by Randee Dawn

Suburbs are hell.

This said by someone who grew up on cul-de-sacs, down streets named after Ivy League universities, on parcels of farmland carved up into intentionally bland, vaguely descriptive development names, on land that was almost certainly stolen from the original inhabitants, then re-distributed and tamed. Or attempted to be tamed

Planned idyllic lifestyles, conformity to the nth degree. All in the name of safety, if not community. All in the name of keeping the kids corralled and controlled, even if most of us keep them indoors and on screens these days. A classic example of a good idea …

Halloween Haunts: Murder, a Cemetery, and Halloween by Lou Lrera

There is a cliché specific to writing we’ve all heard; write what you know. How does a writer of horror, know? Horror research can take the writer, as investigator, down some extremely disturbing rabbit holes of discovery. I hope it goes without saying, writers of hideous crimes and murders, obviously don’t commit the crimes to document the details and horror of torturing and ending lives. Horror authors have produced classic tales of mayhem, and it would be ludicrous to think one would need to build a Poe inspired dungeon, cleave some poor soul in-half under the blade of a swinging …

Halloween Haunts: MAMA AND THE MATCHES by Rosemary Thorne

She had never been fond of Halloween, my poor dear, and as the season approached she used to get thinner and thinner, bluer, much more translucent, her fair skin producing an effect of iridescence, as if she were turning into an ultraviolet bulb, and some would say that it was just because things get busier in the Fall, and she was busier, anyway, she had many more visitors because October is the right time to see the mummy and its light breathing and to get a scare of two if it happens that it opens its eyes, it would look …

Halloween Haunts: Hating Haunted Houses by Kerry E.B. Black

Hope sprang eternal for my father, because every autumn, he’d take my siblings and I to our area’s haunted houses. Designed to raise money for charity and peopled by local talent, including many kids, these weren’t what one could call high theatre, nor were the scares elevated affairs.

However, since I was a child with a far-too-active imagination, I conjured all sorts of terrors.

There were the obligatory witches who feasted on the flesh of children. Headless Hessians mounted Nightmares. Mummies dragged bandaged legs to enact ages-old curses. Creatures, monsters, ghosts, and Dracula. Hammer-style bloodbaths and immortal killers intent on …

Halloween Haunts: Spooky Box Tradition by Brianna Malotke

One of my earliest memories of spending time with my mom was also my first ever haunted house. I was probably the youngest person in line, but I was over the moon to venture out with my mom and her friends to prove I was fearless. I had made it all the way through the line, even with some very animated characters, creepy light effects and bloodcurdling screams coming from within the house looming in front of us. We were finally at the front, ready to enter the scary haunted house. It didn’t take long until I was absolutely in …

Halloween Haunts: If That One Halloween Didn’t Kill Me… by Brandon Ketchum

…I might yet fall victim to a future Friday the 13th.


One night, long ago (the early ’00s), in a place not so far away (Erie and Edinboro, Pennsylvania)…

My late best friend, may he rest in peace, once shared with our little college group a wicked cool tree. This huge, gnarled specimen of unknown species invaded the ground with dark, barky tendrils; from its colossal bole-torso reached giant, twisted limb-branches; in the fall, these bare branches extended into thin, insidious offshoots ending in skeletal wood-fingers and bark-nails. All ’round this Witch Tree, as it was dubbed, …

Halloween Haunts: The Queer Monster Within by Damian Serbu

What if I could become the monster of a horror film?

Perhaps a lot of kids growing up in the 1980s fantasized about the question; many youngsters must have pondered the idea in their make believe realms.

But for me the question contained more potency. More potential. Because I knew such a monster lurked under the surface of my being. Caged. Waiting to erupt. Wanting to scare everyone around me. I knew such a revelation would thrill and empower me.

The notion first hit at a young age, before I recognized the beast within. Something attracted me to the …

Halloween Haunts: Name Me Haunted by Michael Rook

Maybe I love Halloween because I was named after a dead kid. Maybe my fascination with horror comes from the same root. I think about these things between July and October. Where I’m from in Ohio, summer football practice and Halloween are just plain linked in one big thing we call Fall. This year I’m thinking about those links in a new way, and the links to why we write what we do. Years in, do we know all of our influences? Do we want to?

It’s all thanks to a story Dad told me this summer, if not for …

Halloween Haunts: Short Halloween Treats by Galadriel Faye

“We find delight in the most loathsome things” –   Charles Baudelaire

‘Tis the season for all things that howl, bite and go bump in the night. Grab a pumpkin spice Latte and pull up your reading chair.   Here are a few fun, dark and tasty treats to help you get in the mood for the real most wonderful time of the year.

  1. Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne probably already evokes terror in you – just not in the right way. You probably break into a sweat remembering being trapped dissecting The Scarlet Letter in your high school

Halloween Haunts: Blood-Drinking Freaks by Loren Rhoads

There’s a snapshot of me when I was 10, sitting on a boulder outside of Grand Teton National Park. The picture was taken from the passenger window of our family’s pickup, parked in a long line of trucks with campers on the back, waiting for the day’s campsites to be released. I sat under a pine tree with a hardcover library book open on my lap, irritated to have been distracted from my reading. I was in the midst of discovering Dracula.

I’d grown up watching Sir Graves Ghastly on TV on Saturday afternoons. Sir Graves hosted an endless …

Halloween Haunts: Ghosts Are People Too by Amanda Desiree

Ghost stories go together with Halloween like “trick” and “treat.” The image of the sheet with eye-holes is as much a staple of the season as pumpkins, bats, and skulls. When horror films invariably possess the airwaves, they usually feature menacing, spirted icons like Candyman and Sadako/Samara. Ghosts typically figure in novels and movies as such supernatural villains, from the vengeful phantom seeking to perpetuate destruction (Kayako Saeki of The Grudge) to the restless wraith demanding closure (Joseph Carmichael of The Changeling).

In true-life anecdotes, the role of the ghost is less clear-cut. For one thing, the spirit’s …

Halloween Haunts: Working in a Haunted House by F. D. Gross

For some it’s such a strange concept, working in a haunted house where the general populace relates to it as something truly horrific and exciting, something you go to during the haunting season of October to get entertained, where you go with friends and family, walking through narrow hallways and stooped corridors, experiencing strange music and sounds, and then, sprung upon by the freaks lingering in the darkness…that’s where the work comes into play (aside from other things). And I am proud to say I work at one of the best Haunted Houses in South Florida, Enigma Haunt.

Being a …

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