31 October 2022

Garlic and Silver Bullet at the Ready: It's Halloween!

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Halloween fiction, as its contemporary street "decorations", can be cute or can be gory. 

Or thoughtful. 

Or unsettling. 

Its aim is not to make readers flinch, but to make them read on, knuckles tensing, while the hairs on the back of the neck prickle and rise. 


Its main ingredient is dread, the anticipation of the inevitable, signalled at the edge of vision by a series of tiny markers that may, or may not, be fact. It is the... not knowing. The... should we laugh, or should we run? 

Inevitably, it starts with normal life. Or what passes for normal.


Fine art assessor, Kristin Jeffries, arrives at an address to report on a group of paintings. Why is police tape hanging from the door? Should she trust the anxious client who admits he's not the owner?

Dizzy females are often portrayed as idealised victims in Halloween fiction. Yet, some rise to match the all-pervading inevitability of their situation.


Elaine haunts auctions held in crumbling country mansions, dreaming of a find that will make her and Gary rich. An iron-banded trunk has no key. What might it contain?

Short fiction can play to its constrained time frame, introducing the reader to genres not usually considered wedded to the Halloween theme.


Dark tales for a dark night. Don't look here for happy endings, just an unsettling sense that, once opened, there's more that might arrive, unbidden.

I trust you enjoy your Halloween. If Halloween has not enjoyed you.