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The halloween sun isn't fully set and already the candy wrappers blow over the leaf-strewn sidewalk. Tonight I am a ghost, concealed and shrouded like the dead I pretend to be. Around each wrist hangs a chain to clank as we walk. With the sun so low in the sky the scene reminds me of years ago, the picture before me is almost sepia toned. Only the new-model cars give it away that this isn't nineteen seventy something. Next to me walks the most important vampire in the world, seven years old and she wears the false fangs like a pro. She's a strange one though, for her it isn't even about the chocolates and lollipops. Tonight the world is her stage and she feeds on the drama through her skin. She doesn't really walk either, she stalks, head high, chin out, arms moving like she's conducting the clouds above.

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I'd never heard metal scream until Halloween night. I'd never imagined our street to look like a Salvador Dali painting...

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It was Halloween night when the plants began to grow. We didn't notice them at first, too content with our costumes, candy and chatter. But soon we heard the deadly whispering of the vines that began to choke anything in their reach...

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It was Halloween when every door disappeared. Every house, jail, store and asylum was open. Then the whispering began, little voices in everyone's ears, no two people hearing the same thing...

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It was Halloween when the bone snapping began. At first we thought they were freak accidents, but soon the awful truth dawned on us - an unseen enemy walked...

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Dressed up to trick or treat they stepped out of the house. It was cold even for the end of October, as if all the heat had been drained away into the earth. Thinking nothing of it and chattering excitably they made their way down the sidewalk. When one lamppost went out they hardly noticed. Two blinked out, then three, until the only light in the entire street was the gentle yellow flicker from within the garish jack-o-lanterns. Forgetting about candy entirely they stood with bemused expressions, glancing at one another, waiting to be let in on the joke. Then feeling their feet to be hot they began to dance from one foot to another, they cried out in terror and ran for the house. With violent speed the air around them became colder than ice. Their muscles froze, crumpling them to the concrete. Then through the road rose the ghouls, the undead, the vampires and the monsters. They had no masks or fake glitter, they had come for vengeance and blood.

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Tyler stared at the faces around him. They were grotesque, disfigured and unsmiling. Some were plastic and the people were carrying bloody knives and moaning. He turned and buried his head into is mother's knees. When she pulled him away and bent down to see his face he was pale and shaking. "Are you cold little pumpkin?" she asked. Then the tears flowed. All he could get out was "m-m-monsters." Then he buried his head again. As he did so a passing ghoul rattled some chains in his direction and cackled. He clung tighter. His mother scooped him up and carried him home, face hidden.

By ryanthomas36, October 19, 2014.
General

Halloween night was kicking into high gear when Sarah got a nosebleed, no-one noticed at first, not with all the fake stuff she was wearing. Garish against her white make-up, it dripped down her front, coated her hands as she pinched her bridge. There was nervous giggling and sick jokes until Luke's nose did the same...

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Between the hoods of the cold cars run children in costumes. On this dark halloween night there is only weak moonlight and the aging lampposts for illumination. The warmth of the summer left a fortnight ago but it is only tonight for the first time since last winter that I can feel the frigid concrete through the soles of my shoes. The air flows through the fabric of my clothes just like it did in the summer and early fall, but now I can't help but notice it. I turn to smile at Tommy but he isn't there. My heart skips, then pounds. He must have gone to one of these homes for candy. I tell myself to remain still, he'll find me. Before even a few seconds have passed I'm calling out, "Tommy! Tommy!" With every repetition my voice rises an octave, straining against the freezing fog that comes from nowhere...

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It was Halloween night when we lost the stars. Hardly a soul noticed as the children moved in candy-craving herds of ghouls and superheroes. The air had felt close, sticky despite the chill. The first ones to notice were the astronomers, the fishermen, the country folk who craved their speckled sky. Then came the demons fashioned on our worst nightmares, skeletal with the odour of decaying flesh...

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I love halloween better than Christmas. There are no gifts or special meals to prepare. I get an excuse to read scary stories in my pyjamas all morning and practice making wounds with my special effects kit. Sometimes me and my friends record a little skit for our youtube channel and post it to facebook. That always get's tonnes of likes. I get to dress up like a ghoul and party the night away, dancing like crazy until my feet hurt.I don't trick or treat any more but my kid brother does and he brings back a haul big enough for the whole family. So the next day I pig out on candy for breakfast before heading out for a pumpkin spiced latte in my favourite coffee bar. Don't get me wrong, I go to church every Sunday, Jesus is my main man. But Halloween is what I look forward to the most.

By james, October 19, 2014.
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It was halloween morning when the birds stopped singing, stopped flying. By the afternoon there was no wind, not even a breeze to move the fall leaves that were scattered over the sidewalk. When night came there was no twilight, no sunset, simply a blackness that wrapped snuggly to to world...

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Borris examined the pumpkin guts in his hands, slippery and gross. His mind being the way it was, he started working on uses for it - many uses - and none of them helpful. He knew that roasting them was the grown-up thing to do, but he was twelve. Frankly, being an adult lasted long enough and he wasn't in a hurry to be more "mature." Like a gift from above he imagined Stacey covered in the goo. A slick smile spread, dimpling his cheeks in a way his mother found both cute and concerning at once. A plan was hatching, a beautiful plan. And she'd find it funny, right? The urge to do it overrode is nagging doubt so fast he never really noticed it. He was like Fred from Scooby Doo, he had a plan. But since he had no gang he set about making his trap himself.

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Though Nancy had carved the scariest faces she could into the pumpkins, they weren't nearly frightening enough. She wanted them to make those trick-or-treaters jump, because only then would they laugh and cling to one another all the way to her front door. And that was just the start. She had a door bell that would activate a smoke machine and shriek, then she would make the big reveal in the costume that had taken so long to make - a witch with warts and all. She had spider candy and slug marshmallows to give out too. But first thing's first, the pumpkins had to glare with soulless eyes. She huffed and stuck her hands on her hips. They were too round, too friendly, they were about as scary as a chocolate knife.

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From the darkened room I watch; with no light in here curtains are unnecessary. It is my night, Halloween night. With scaly hand I wrap the cloak around my boney form. No mask is necessary tonight. My "costume" will be the finest on the street. They'll just love the rattle of my breathing and the way my eyes glow like hot coals. They'll laugh at how realistic my cloven feet are, clacking on the sidewalk. My knuckles creak as they close around the scythe and finally it is time to enter street. The children move about in shoals, each with a chaperone. They have nothing to fear from me though, unless they refuse to hand over the candy - then I'll find out how crunchy they are with ketchup.

General

On halloween night the rain froze in the air, not hail, but simply not moving at all. The children pushed at the frozen pellets that hovered and watched them bounce back into the exact same spot. When the streetlamps winked out the only relief in the darkness was a soft green light shining from each icy drop...

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The skeletons danced on plasma screen closer and further away again. Talia giggled, "Scary skeletons, spooky skeletons." Already she was in her halloween costume and had eaten too much sweet pumpkin pie. She twirled at a giddy pace, almost missing the curled brown leaf that tumbled to the tile and crunched under her socked foot. She stopped. The only leaves to be seen were the ones on the television set, tumbling in crazy motion around the old bones. She shrugged and continued to dance, "Spooky skeletons! Scary skeletons." Another leaf fell.

Talia stared at the screen. The skeletons were doing some kind of jive as the autumn leaves tumbled around them, a last hurrah for October. She was about to turn away when she saw several leaves fall from the screen to her feet. She opened her mouth to scream but nothing came out. She knew she should run but her feet wouldn't move. The skeletons stopped dancing and walked to the screen, poking yellowing finger joints into the heated room. Soon a long arm dangled from the screen and the skull was emerging, no longer pixelated but real...

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Halloween night, on the rain-kissed street, sat a ghoul of charcoal skin to match the fading tarmac. Soon his "candy" would come...

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We know something's different when the road becomes black with ice and quiet laughter echoes between the old mansions of "Dream Hill"...

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October had almost evaporated into November and the air temperature was noticeably cooler. Halloween had fallen on a Saturday and the homes were more elaborately decorated for all the extra time and attention: garages had become demonic dungeons, severed limbs poked from closed doors and dire warnings to trespassers were pasted dripping red paint. Before the colours of the day had even softened or the shadows become giants on the cold sidewalk, the pre-school children already skipped between pumpkin marked homes.

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Halloween brings out the neighborhood freaks in all the best ways. Lawns become graveyards, corpses dangle from trees and cobwebs span every doorway to candy should you dare enter. This year was no different until The Man came, a man with skin so white it was almost translucent...

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The candle flickers, briefly showing Sandeep. I can't see laughter in his eyes or a smile twitching at his lips. Instead he appears skeletal, deranged. His sockets lie as inky pools, the weak yellow glow only illuminating enough to make him more spooky than blackness alone could ever be. I know this is his idea of fun, and perhaps it will be. His halloween stories are legendary.

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Working feverishly the girls are scraping the sinewy gunk from their pumpkins. Their movements are quick and furtive, they giggle often and compete with one another to tell the scariest tale. Mila tells of a vampire who only comes out on Halloween night, he drinks the blood of an entire family then drapes their bodies over the grass. Her voice becomes increasingly dramatic as she demonstrates the childrens' squeals of delight to see such realistic decorations. Then she get's up to act out the next bit, bouncing in exaggerated fashion to show them and trotting up to rap on the door. She raises her eyebrows so hight they almost disappear into her thick brown hair while she delivers the punch line in the huskiest voice she can muster, "They soon discover that they are the treats!" Then before the other girls can recover she flicks out her fingers to send pumpkin seeds and slop raining down on them. Now it's mayhem and no-one is carving anymore.

General

October 31st and the wind is sufficient to make the trees moan. Late into the autumn as we are, the leaves were either loose on the ground or hanging by the loosest of threads. Now they whirl, confetti for the wedding of a ghoul. The strange thing is that there is no mention of the gale on the internet, the television or the radio. There are no weather warnings. Then the oddest thing, old Mrs Thompson from three doors down walks down the street. It isn't the walking that bothers me, it's that her hair is perfect and unruffled. She strides as if it were a balmy "indian summer night" as it was just yesterday...

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From the darkness that lurks between the sallow pools of lamplight lie the critters. They don't want your candy, they don't admire your costume, but they like the way you smell of milk and soap. Each one has a way of moving unseen until its victim is quite alone, then it takes the form of their school teacher and smiles sweetly, bringing them in closer. I only know this because I saw one. It was just like Miss Jones but the lips were wrong, you have to watch for that. The critters can shape shift but they're no good at smiling. If they do they just show all their teeth like a corpse with the flesh pulled back. I almost didn't run in time, Miss Jones just looks like that most of the time anyway. Nope. What tipped me off most was the tail of a kipper poking up from her breast pocket. You see, the critters are no good at detail. They don't know the difference between a stinky fish and a pocket hanky. Lucky for me, I do.

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I know its Halloween when I'm wiping pumpkin "puke" onto my pants and I don't care. Outside is dark as this eve should be. The ambient day has given way to a frost and fog twists around the lampposts like cat-tails. At first I don't notice the colour draining from the street, things always look more grey in the twilight...

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Halloween night was for the gang: The Scream, Death Himself and Zombie Axe Murderer. In the street of ghouls that swarmed the Jack-o-lantern marked homes we were simply one group of many. Then the lights went out, all of them except the lanterns and black mist rolled in over the hill stealing the warmth from our skin...

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The old man with the scythe limped toward them with the sound of grating bone. Around him was a black haze, like he walked in his own shadow...

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That Halloween people became whatever they dressed up as. Adults became zombies and murderers while the young children got superpowers...

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When night comes to Skeleton Avenue on October 31st the road is at fever pitch. Given the street's name and our proximity to the graveyard we put on the best show in town. The end of the street is blocked to cars and children move about like water currents, making small eddy's at the pumpkin lanterns. Then from the gloom comes the most remarkable skeleton costume I've ever seen, each footfall jars like bone on concrete and his wristwatch dangles onto the skeletal hand, almost falling off. When he stands before me I laugh out loud, I can see the street behind between his ribs. There just has to be a television camera somewhere, it has to be some elaborate hoax. Before I can call out, show that I know this bag of bones is some halloween trick, it grabs my wrist so tight I almost pass out from the pain. Slowly the skeleton fills with organs, pink and bloody, before finally new skin stretches over his bones. Only his eyes are still empty. He smiles and shows me my arm that is only bone. Then with dry lips he says "I'll be needing those eyes." Blackness. Only blackness...

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I died on Halloween with my legs dangling in the breeze over a carpet of reds and golds, an itty bitty girl from the bough of an oak. Now this Halloween, my dear one, I have come to find my playmate. Can you play games, my love? I hope so, and remember, it isn't the winning or losing that counts, it's the taking parts...

General

Jack-o-lanterns are curious to me, a vestige of the childish brain seeking faces in the inanimate. We cling to them, vegetable "teddy bears" with their features glowing into the final eve of October. Children dressed as monsters and departed souls skip and laugh, oblivious to the meaning of death and bodily harm. In the dying sun the street is a B-movie scene. On this damp wall, eating ice-cream in a black woollen coat, I am the freak. I am the outsider watching with a cool gaze as if separated from the scene by a television screen that isn't there. Surrounded by reanimated corpses, vampires and pimps, I'm the one that puts them on edge. They see me and their smile fades faster an instant tattoo. Some years I change the colour of the coat, but every Halloween I take my pew on the same aging garden wall. The real trick is to stash an ice-cooler behind the wall. It just wouldn't have the same effect on the locals if the ice-cream were to run out.

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On every tree and roof top sat the crows, their cries dominating every other sound. The trick-or-treaters peered from their windows and not a jack-o-lantern was lit. No star or moonlight penetrated the inky cloud layer above and at first it had appeared that the street was empty...

General

It was Halloween, all hallows eve, when the things and people of the world started to warp. They didn't disappear, neither did people, but not one thing remained the same. It was like a close cousin of reality but with deliberate errors...

Ghost

Under the halloween moon the graveyard shifts uneasily. Plants rustle, birds fly into the fast fading light, startled by the unseen. Violent eddies of wind gust dirt and leaf into mini tornados that die before suspicion is roused. Only when the soil cracks along graves long overgrown with weeds do the children telling ghost stories around a candle experience the gut churning transition from excitement to fear. With a creak that could wake the dead a crypt opens and from the darkness comes only the stench of the dead at first, then a single pair of glowing eyes that change from amber to scarlet with the frequency of a beating heart.

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The city over the way is still burning, the smoke filled air gives us this halloween blood sun - how fitting. On this, the holiday that was supposed to respect the dead, the holiday that has become the worship of carnage and horror, there won't be jack-o-lanterns. There won't be a need for damaged and tatty clothing, or fake dismembered limbs. There is no shortage of the real thing, of the blood that congeals and browns. The very air we breath is pungent with the odour of the recently deceased and no-one can figure out how we earned this ticket to hell. It's been days since any new food arrived. If anyone has candy they aren't giving it away tonight. So on this final day of October we have run full circle to our ancestors who lived as close to death as we do in these dark days of war. We live moment to moment on cold ashes that fall with the grace of snow, yet lies over everything living and dead.

Fantasy / Paranormal

It was halloween 1978 when the clocks stopped ticking and the light that lingered from the setting sun refused to quite reach the ground. Though the tree tops were a blackish green, the soil was as black as walking in a coal mine. I was a child back then, barely tall enough to reach the light, to catch the frozen rays on my chestnut hair. All was quiet until the howl of the werewolves came from over the hills of gorse and heather. We stood in our jeans and shirts, few dressed up back then, and in the dream-like way that was that night we moved and talked as if time itself was no longer ran in linear fashion but was tied in knots. Afterwards people insisted it was a nightmare and resisted the knowledge that we all remember the same thing. The mind is so poor at holding onto things it can't compute in the normal way, it struggles to reassert the previous understanding of reality. But that night, October 31st 1978, we lived a nightmare and I can tell you what really happened.

General

On halloween night the moon was a silver arc behind the thinnest of grey cloud. The wind was more of a breeze and old man winter was taking his sweet time arriving. The children paraded in polyester smocks and none felt even a shiver. It was quite the most balmy evening as things turned out, in both senses of the word. There was something about the lack of cold that brought the silly out of people: the roars were bigger, the ghouls more ghoulish, and the candy ambitions larger. With weather that nice why only do your own street, what about the next, and the next? With everything so gay, Mateo, Silvie and Leon found themselves in a street the didn't recognize and no matter how much they walked in either direction they couldn't find how they got in.

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Travis noticed a hag, as a halloween costume it was out of this world. She walked like a young woman but her skin was thick, gnarled, with a greenish tinge. Her eyes shone golden, catlike, and her hair hung in matted tatters down her back. He positioned himself for a photo, this his friends just had to see. The had stopped and elevated her wand. Travis grinned, she was posing, or so he thought. As he pressed the button he felt his knuckles crack, almost splinter. His vision blurred but through the haze he could see a young man like himself laughing at him like he was the funniest damn thing in the world. The young man drew closer, brandishing a stick. "Damn I was ugly," was all he said before departing into the October chill.

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Ghost, vampire and demon, enemies united by a common hatred. The underworld had too long been banished to the realm of fantasy. Reality, they knew better than the living, was more fragile, more malleable. Should belief shift in their favour they could feast. The ghost fed on fear and revenge, the vampire wished to drain blood from the tender young and the demon desired a world without love and hope. When the seance began in the basement of number four, Miles Avenue, the trio whispered through the cracks between the real and unreal. The ghost took the lead and offered money, then the demon told sweet tales of power. The children, giddy with halloween sugar, thought it a prank and made a gracious invitation for the trio to enter. I'd love to tell you their names, the children that is, but no-one knows anymore. Those three tore through the sleepy Californian town leaving not a soul. Even the righteous who called on divine strength never made it out. All we have are the snippets from social media...

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Days ago we trudged the pumpkin patch, sinking into the mud that had already been blessed by the October rains. Each one of us wobbled and slipped under the weight of swollen a pumpkin back to the car, tossing them with empty and stretched arms onto the dog towels in the trunk. Finally the thirty-first is here and we are set for our "family showdown." Carving tools at the ready, Mom begins the countdown. Now Halloween has truly begun...

General

It was Halloween when the animals learnt to talk and the people were struck dumb. The people got paws and their animals got hands...

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Through teeth that can't bite comes the sallow glow of candles. They struggle against the wind, protected though they are in their caverns of gold. On the eve of October, the dawn of November, the witches and ghosts are abroad, not caring for who should see. It is their night of "mischief." It is a cruel mischief, cold and indifferent. It is how they stay amused for the rest of the year, meeting around fires for a peasant-roast and competing for the most vile halloween tale of them all.

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I'd always loved Halloween as much as horror movies until The Things came. Not everyone could see them, but I could...

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Mum stole the halloween candy. Oh, she gave us 10 pieces each and a bag of chips and put rest of it in a bag in the garbage. But I know the truth. As soon as we're in bed she opens that garbage pail and pulls out the halloween candy, protected in plastic. Then she sits with a mug of coffee and stuffs her face. Yes, I know what happens to my halloween candy.

By arpel, September 28, 2013.
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Carving the halloween jack'o'lantern so it looks like it's vomiting it's insides all down the concrete steps to the house. The smell of pumpkin pie wafting through the house. People with painted faces, masks and wigs.

By arpel, September 28, 2013.
General

Darkly brooding vampires cloaked in black, fangs oozing with blood, brain devouring zombies moan and grope, Little Dead Riding Hood stalks with a carving knife, blood thirsty ghouls stagger and clang, head-less horseman on a soulless march, red devils in sequins give an unnerving smile, wart faced witches jibber and jibe, bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, spiders, cobwebs and gore.

By loki, December 1, 2011.
General

Jack 'o' lanterns, puking pumpkins, tombstone islands in manicured lawns, fake limbs protruding from earthy flowerbeds. Children scamper in costumes, fairies, ghosts, pirates, cowboys, super heroes. Chill October air, seasonably cool, door to door, trick or treating, halloween wreaths on the doors, orange fairy lights, fake spiders and cobwebs garnish the porch, costumed adults cradle bowls brimming with candy, children laugh, shriek, run away with their haul. Hot chocolate, pumpkin pie, candy wrappers on the floor.

By angela, December 1, 2011.
General

It was halloween and the rain gave icy kisses, washing make up into little rivers on frozen cheeks. Last year it had been dry and warm, the leaves crunchy underfoot. This year the golds and scarlets were gone already, trodden into a slimy film of brown goo. From the houses came spooky music. Under the newly naked boughs of the avenue, leaning against the wintry wind, came the trick or treaters. Their polyester costumes clung to them as garish second skins, ghouls before their time. We were about to give up, the sugar high not being worth the pain of getting it, when Mavis suggested we take shelter in the old crypt and tell ghostly stories. I guess that's when things started to go wrong...