Horror Writers Association

Halloween Haunts: Can Halloween Be Pandemic Proof?


By Pamela K. Kinney


I always loved Halloween. When people asked me as a child what my favorite holiday was, I knew they expected to hear it was Christmas. I mean, Christmas is Santa Claus, gifts, and other things that excite a kid on this holiday–right?

But no, I always answered, “Halloween.”

Their mouth would drop open, same as did some of my childhood friends. But there was something about Halloween growing up in the Sixties, when in October they brought out the wax Halloween harmonicas, wax vampire lips, and cardboard skeletons and cats to hand on your windows.

Then the 1970s arrived, and although I was a teenager and a young adult, heck, even married by ’77, Halloween held a spot in my spooky heart. Still a time when adults didn’t figure in Halloween as they do now, I still found myself involved in the 31st–through my son. Between 1978 through 1990, there was trick-or-treating, school Halloween carnivals, even church ones, and making him costumes.

Now the son is married and spends Halloween his way with his own family, but now being an author of dark fiction and nonfiction regional ghost books as of 2007, I find myself spending October Country with events and book signings. I always managed to squeeze in a local ghost tour, even did paranormal investigations, a few fun things, to keep my love of Halloween as a fun time in my life. I assumed 2020 would be the same.

And then the pandemic hit. Conventions I had after March dropped or changed to 2021. A new ghost book, Haunted Surry to Suffolk: Spooky Tales Along Routes 10 and 460, was released in April from Anubis Press, but there were no live book signings or conventions to promote it. There were only online events to do and promoting online. I saw others figuring by Fall the virus would be gone, but I sensed it wouldn’t go the way of the DoDo bird. For Covid was a different sort of monster that even a horror writer couldn’t handle, much less the rest of society.

It doesn’t help reading when the CDC says it might be best not to have our typical Halloween this year. That meant no trick-or-treat for the kids or gathering at parties with a lot of people. After all, the invisible monster that stalked the world was still out there.

I defied the monster. I refused to succumb to its jaws and be another victim. I bought items for Halloween and decorated. Having all the scary decorations brought me comfort. And when I got emails and Facebook messages about doing a couple of book signing and talk about local ghosts at a third, adding to the one live event at a Fall Festival, it hit me how I could defeat the virus and help others enjoy Halloween.

Books. Ghost stories. What people did way before there was trick-or-treat. Give books for others to spend Halloween night reading something scary or more about the ghost and legends that abound in Virginia. Because if nothing else, people can still read get away from the threat of a virus within the pages of a book. My books would be that storyteller who sat beside the fire and told scary stories. Albeit a social distancing form of storytelling.

So, next time you feel they are stealing your Halloween, it can still happen. It will just be done more quietly, with movies with loved ones, making popcorn balls and pumpkin everything, sipping regular apple cider or the hard kind, carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, and you’re your costumes inside you house, even let the kids trick-or-treat you. People can still do a ghost hunt with a few socially distanced ghost hunters—because pandemic or not, ghosts still do haunt on Halloween.

Have a spooky Halloween!


Although at other places, you can find any of her ghost books, including Haunted Surry to Suffolk: Spooky Tales Along Routes 10 and 460, or fiction at AMAZON


Pamela K. Kinney gave up long ago trying not to listen to the voices in her head and has written award-winning, bestselling horror, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, along with six nonfiction ghost books ever since—Haunted Surry to Suffolk: Spooky Tales Along Routes 10 and 460 being the newest and from Anubis Press. One of the other ghost books went to a second printing last year, with new stories and ten new photos added. Her horror short story, “Bottled Spirits,” was runner-up for the 2013 WSFA Small Press Award and is considered one of the seven best genres short fiction for that year. Her latest novel was an urban fantasy, How the Vortex Changed My Life. In 2019, she had a science fiction novella, Maverick Heart, and a horror story, “By Midnight,”  included in the Christmas horror and fantasy anthology, Christmas Lites IX, and a nonfiction story, “The Haunted Cavalier Hotel,” included in the paranormal nonfiction anthology, Handbook for the Dead. Five micro horror stories she’d written made it into the anthology,  Nano Nightmares, released in March 2020. She will have a horror short story, “Hunting the Goatman,” in the anthology, Retro Horror, a horror short story, “A Trick, No Treat,” plus three horror poems of her, in Siren Call Publications in their 2020 Halloween issue, and a poem, “Dementia,” in Horror Writers Association’s horror poetry anthology, HWA Poetry Showcase, Vol. VIII, all are coming soon.

Pamela and her husband live with one crazy black cat (who thinks she should take precedence over her mistress’s writing most days). Along with writing, Pamela has acted on stage and film and investigates the paranormal for episodes of Paranormal World Seekers for AVA Productions. Although at other places, you can find any of her ghost books, including Haunted Surry to Suffolk: Spooky Tales Along Routes 10 and 460, or fiction at AMAZON

Learn more about Pamela K. Kinney at http://www.PamelaKKinney.com.


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