Horror Writers Association

Halloween

Halloween Haunts: The Ghost with One Bloody Finger by Naching T. Kassa

When I was a kid in the 1980s, long before the advent of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps, my friends and family told scary stories with a funny twist. Some were rather dirty like, “The Ghost in the Walls,” while others were clean and spooky like, “The Man with the Golden Arm” and “The Ghost with the Ruby, Ruby Lips.” The story I’d like to share with you today, has become a Halloween tradition in my family. I’ve even told it to my son’s class during Halloween parties at his school. It’s called, “The Ghost with One Bloody Finger.”

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Halloween Haunts: Halloween Transformations by Adele Gardner

From my very first Halloween, I learned how important sewing is to that special night.

My mother wore an elaborate clown costume, complete with a separate neck ruffle with ringing bells. Her mother had crafted this costume for her when Mom was in the eighth grade, for a stage performance at school. Mom also owned a child-sized devil costume of fluffy red that Grandma sewed for my Uncle Dan in 1948, when he was five, and Mom, age three, portrayed a Little Dutch Girl; Mom wore the devil costume the next year, and Uncle Dan became (through Grandma’s wizardry) the …

Halloween Haunts: Transcending Tropes by Kodie Van Dusen

To say that I never saw myself writing horror is an understatement.

My earliest memory of horror was at my best friend’s birthday when we were children. I don’t remember exactly how old we were, but I doubt we could have been much older than ten. A gaggle of girls huddled in her basement for a sleepover (which was already something that made me uneasy, being the introverted homebody that I was) to watch a special movie picked out by the birthday girl.

The film? Halloween.

You can imagine how well that went over with me, watching Michael Myers running …

Halloween Haunts: October Baby by Melissa Pleckham

Like many people born in October — all of us beauty-loving Libras, all of those mysterious, sexy Scorpios — I grew up thinking that Halloween was my special holiday. Like I had some sort of corner on the market. Some of my earliest memories involve inhaling the smell of greasepaint and latex masks in drugstores, crunching through the corpses of once-green leaves piled on lawns in knee-deep mounds, the dull sweetness of soft wax lips clutched tightly between my own baby teeth.

My childhood birthday parties further blurred the line between birthday and Halloween, especially as I got older, serving …

Halloween Haunts: A Taste of Halloween Beyond – The Talking-board by Lisa Morton

I’ve written a lot of Halloween fiction, and I do mean A LOT. As in, I’ve already had one entire collection of just Halloween short stories and novellas – The Samhanach and Other Halloween Treats – published (by JournalStone) in 2017, and I’ve written a bunch of new Halloween fiction since. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that I’m both a horror fiction writer and an expert on Halloween history (with three non-fiction books on that subject to my credit).

When I’m asked to contribute a new Halloween story to something, I always stop first to think about some …

Halloween Haunts: Believing Myself to be a Writer by John James Lane

I always wanted to be a writer, but deep inside for most of my life, I was constantly in a struggle with my own demons. Demons of being “less than”.

Once when I was in sixth grade, our English teacher wanted us to write a story. In a ruled notebook, I chose one in which a knight fought a dragon, a basic medieval type story. After she reviewed all our stories, she handed the notebooks back, one by one. When it was my turn, she had a smile on her face. The page with the ending had words marked in …

Halloween Haunts: Like All That Lives, We Eat Death: The TTRPG by Emily Flummox

I came home for the first time to celebrate Samhain, one week after someone died there, on that land.

 

If I were ever to write a tabletop role-playing game based on Halloween, I think I’d forego the use of dice or cards or resource management, all those usual ways by which TTRPGs introduce chance into their narratives.  Instead, I think I would instruct the players to cover up all their clock faces, remove all their watches, turn off phones and computers, and when they wanted their character to do something, they would peek at the time, the ones digit …

Halloween Haunts: Of Horror, Hope, and Halloween by Dave Jeffery and Lee Murray

There is nothing that says ‘horror’ more than the Halloween holidays. Ask any fan of all things macabre for their favourite time of year and their obvious response is October, the Season of the Witch. Take this annual blog series, for example. Halloween Haunts exists as a celebration, a cornerstone of the horror writing community, a time of year when all of our passions are distilled into a month of festivities.

For horror fans, especially writers, Halloween lauds the awe and wonder of the fantastic and the innate terror of something unknown and otherworldly, and in doing so has us …

Halloween Haunts: Hauntingly Normal by Susan Schwartz

Writing and researching the paranormal always seemed natural to me after growing up in a haunted house. We moved after the previous owner had passed away. She was a sweet elderly lady, who was well-loved in the neighborhood. The owner didn’t want it empty for too long a time. Being right down the street, the move didn’t take too long at all.

I noticed the strange sensations after a couple of weeks. Nothing specific, I would just get weird feelings about the house and the strange noises it made, especially after dark. Why is it always after dark? Footsteps down …

Halloween Haunts: Beheading Delight by Rosemary Thorne

I love to time-travel to be beheaded: I use the thin veils that Halloween procures for the living and the dead to go through the portals after pronouncing the right words and spells.

For a good decapitation, my favorite destination is London 17th century. I used to go to Paris 18th century just because it has a better reputation, madame Guillotine and all. Still, after a couple of decades of being chopped off in continental Europe, I began to look for a different experience. I don’t know: the French became too passionate for my taste. I look forward …

Halloween Haunts: A Halloween Urban Legend: The Bunnyman by Pamela K. Kinney

Everyone knows the urban legends of the man with the hook in Lover’s Lane, the Halloween campus murder, and the babysitter story. Still here in Virginia, we have the Bunnyman. This serial killer wears a bunny costume.

I know; you ask what’s scary about someone dressed as the Easter Bunny? What does he even have to do with Halloween anyway? Well, for one thing, he carries a hatchet, and not an Easter basket of decorated eggs. You never want to meet him at the Bunnyman Bridge when the clock strikes midnight on Halloween. Otherwise, he might add you to his …

Halloween Beyond: Beyond Last Year’s Haunt by Kate Maruyama

Last year, I wrote a Halloween Haunts about my favorite Halloween traditions at my friend Miguel’s house, and how I missed it so much during the pandemic. Last winter, I wrote a novella set against that very Halloween, starring Beto, the King of Halloween, based on Miguel.

The novella: Halloween Beyond: A Gentleman’s Suit, is part of a triptych of novellas by myself, Lisa Morton and Lucy A. Snyder. Each novella is its own story but all pass through a Halloween Superstore called Halloween Beyond and all our protagonists encounter a tricksy clerk there, named Maeve.

A Gentleman’s Suit

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