When the days grow shorter and the chill wind blows, a writer’s thoughts turn to a favorite holiday–Halloween. This season, 9 mystery writers offer a collection of 9 original stories for those who love a gentle walk on the dark side. MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES is available now for $2.99.
LynDee Walker, Eleanor Cawood Jones, and Carolyn Haines share three of their favorite memories of Halloweens past. The good, the bad, and the…funny. When you’ve read our Halloween adventures, write your own. We’re offering a free Amazon download of the book to one lucky winner who comments.
LynDee Walker’s story: The Halloween House.
Every neighborhood has one. And in my neighborhood, it’s mine.
When the leaves start to tinge with orange and red in late September, our brick-front Georgian becomes a haunted hollow: a 30-foot spider web with giant neon arachnids spreads between two trees, a pirate graveyard takes shape on the lawn, and ghosts and ghouls fly between trees, all illuminated in creepy red-orange or black light.
People come from all over to see it: which I didn’t know until year before last, when my baby’s birthday and a slew of other obligations delayed the decorating into early October. One sunny Tuesday afternoon, the doorbell pulled me away from my laptop and I found a scowling woman on my porch. Since my son was at school, I knew he hadn’t broken any nearby windows, so I raised my eyebrows and asked if I could help her.
“Are you new here?” she asked.
Um. “Not really,” I said, trying to figure out what on Earth I’d opened the door to.
“The people who live here always have the coolest Halloween stuff.” She folded her arms across her chest and actually stomped her foot as she gave me the stink-eye. “My kids have begged me to drive over every night this week so they could see the ‘Halloween House,’ and there’re no spiders, no skeletons—nothing but a couple of pumpkins. Did the Halloween people move?”
I think I laughed, but I was so shocked I can’t remember. I know I managed to explain that we’d get the decorations out as soon as possible—not that she looked too much happier for it.
I did make darned sure they went up on time last fall, and this year, I’m unboxing them as soon as I finish typing this. Irate neighbors are way scarier than goblins, y’all.
Eleanor’s Story: A Different Kind of Bunny
As a sophomore in college I was terrifically excited to be invited to a Halloween party at a fraternity house, and even more thrilled that my roommate volunteered to make us all Halloween costumes. And wow, could that girl sew! Word got out that I would be dressed up as a bunny and apparently that went over big with the party crowd.
With one slight hitch. Back in the early 80s, when you said you were dressing up as a bunny, it was generally assumed it would be of the Hugh Hefner variety: Cleavage, fishnet stockings, and short skirt. Attach ears and tail and voila! Sexy Halloween costume complete!
Innocently, I showed up at the party in my head-to-toe, fuzzy, Easter-bunny-correct Halloween suit. Correct right down to big floppy ears framed by coat hangers, a gray hood and full body suit with plenty of padding, and big bunny feet. The tail made it a little hard to sit down, but I’d be dancing anyway, right?
After the general laughter and open admiration for my friend’s sewing talent died down, a tall young man in a Darth Vader costume asked me to dance, under the stars and in the fresh air on the fraternity house porch. I can still remember the autumn leaves, subdued but still colorful under the porch lights, the chill in the air, and the beginnings of romance as Darth and the Easter Bunny slow danced to a pop song called “True.”
That relationship lasted quite a while, the Easter Bunny suit held up for years afterward and was lent out for many a Halloween do, and to this day I love to dress up for the Hallowed Holiday. Science Fiction companions optional.
Carolyn’s story: Play Dead—and Stay Dead
My family loves scary movies and Halloween. My mother was an artist with stage make-up for fake blood, etc. When I was about eight, my mother made up my older brother and me as ghouls early in the day so we could enjoy our costumes for more than just an hour or two. My hair was teased and powdered, fake blood all over the front of my white dress, my eyes blackened with eye liner pencil—I was officially CREEPY. And off we went to play in the yard.
My older brother came up with the best plan ever! He buried me in the ditch under cover of mountains of leaves we’d raked the day before. And he gave me instructions. Whenever anyone walked by our house on the sidewalk, he would whistle—my signal to come crawling out of the ditch like a possessed thing, growling and snarling as I scrabbled after the pedestrian. Then Andy would rush up with a broom and pretend to chase me away.
It was an exciting afternoon as we terrorized old ladies, the newspaper carrier, one preacher, and a group of high school girls. Until someone called our mother and tattled on us. Grounded! But you know, it was fun while it lasted!
Post YOUR Halloween story below for a chance at a free e-book of MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES.