The Hunger for Hallowe’en

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Tonight is a sacred night.  Tonight they will come.  The little souls full of joy, their bags full of candy.   It waits in the shadow of a bush, mouth moistening at the thought of a tender foot or lean arm.  Chocolate makes the taste oh so much sweeter.

The time for the feast is near.  Down the street the first flock comes into view.  The littlest soul is an angel dusted in pink and white.  She raps on a door and shouts “Trick or Treat”.  It shudders in anticipation, memories of its past feasts.  The ritual has been in place for centuries and a plan for this meal forms in its mind.  Its eyes will target the wee pink one, her energy beckoning.  In an act of independence, the little soul will leave behind the bigger ones to walk on her own.  Proud footsteps will lead away from her protective group, pink tutu bouncing with each step as she unwraps a candy bar.  The toe of her little pink shoe will touch its shadow.  Her white, glittery angel wings will disappear into darkness, leaving only a candy wrapper on the ground.

As a larger female soul screams out, terrified by the little one’s the absence, others will search the vicinity.  But no remains shall be found.  Sated, it will recede deeper into the shadows until next year.

Sharp fangs protrude over its lips as the corners of its mouth curl upwards.  The congregation of souls continue on their course.  The smallest one sings a song as she skips along ahead of the others, pink tutu and white wings bouncing as she nears the shadows with each step.  Salivation drips from its maw.

It is time.  This is is Hallowe’en


 

Wishing you and your family a Happy Halloween.  Be safe and don’t step in any shadows while Trick-or-Treating.

Amanda Headlee, October 31, 2014

– If you have enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out my Flash Fiction Library. –

The Countdown to Halloween 2014

What in the blue Hell?!?!  Once again, I wrote a post and forgot to schedule it!  Publishing this one now, which should have posted at 1:00 am EST this morning.  In about an hour, my Halloween treat will publish.  Apologies for the back to back blog posts.


 

Tomorrow is the big day, so you have to wait one more day for a post! (Don’t look shocked.  Tomorrow is Halloween and I am a horror writer – enough said)

‘Tis the season when I start dancing around my house singing a macabre rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.  There are dead bodies in my window, blood on my tables, and body parts sprinkled around my abode… oh wait – my house looks like that every day.  Ok, that’s an embellishment.  During the “non-Halloween” season the body parts and other creepy things are restricted to my office, the rest of my house is “sterile”.

So if you haven’t picked up on this: Halloween is my favorite holiday.   I can spread my love for the macabre to everyone in the world and most non-horror enthusiasts accept it with a smile.  They say, “Aw, look at how much fun she is having, celebrating Halloween.  Isn’t that just precious?”… such a contrast to them running away, screaming in terror in the “off-season” (though I usually prefer the latter).

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This is a time for celebration, mischief, and mayhem!

To start off the party, here are two cool treats.  The talented Drew Chail has been super busy in Satan’s Workshop.  He and his mischievous demons – ahem, I mean elves – have been cooking up a Monster Mash.  And it is such a graveyard smash…

The Monster Mashup: Classic Monsters Gone Wrong

Monster Mashup Part 2: Monsters taken out of their Element

 

Until tomorrow… muwhahaha

The Synergy of Halloween and Horror

Tonight, the gateway between the worlds has all but disappeared.  Departed souls shall cross over into our world and walk amid the living.  Some Spirits come with peace and love, other come with a more sinister agenda.  A night of terror awaits those of mortal blood who may stumble across the path of a Spirit with an ulterior motive.

Fear, macabre, horror… all characteristics that make up the holiday of Halloween as we know it today.  Yet, Halloween’s roots were not originally embedded within the realm of horror.  The origins of Halloween stems from the Gaelic festival, Samhain (pronounced Sow-en).   This holiday is celebrated at the harvest season when summer ends and autumn begins.  During this seasonal shift, the Gaels harvest their crops and prepare for the approaching winter.  October 31st, was an integral date within this time because it is the day that the Gaels believed the veil between the Spirit and mortal world was at its thinnest.  Spirits who passed during the previous year had a chance on this day to return to Earth.  Relatives and loved ones would beckon the Spirits to come through, and the living would honor the Spirit with Samhain festivities.  This Gaelic celebration is very much akin to el Dia de los Muertos in Latin American traditions, which is a festival that is celebrated to this very day.

Out of this festival of Samhain grew stories that would evolve into modern day Halloween traditions.  Certain stories about this festival have a more sinister side to the Spirits return to Earth.  Some stories say that the Spirits return on October 31st to possess a mortal’s body so that the Spirit can once again enjoy the spoils of the Earth.  In order to thwart possession, an entire village would put out all their lights on this evening, which would cause the Spirits to walk through a dark village.  Seeing no lights within the homes, the Spirits would believe that there was no one among the living, so they would take their leave and return to their dimension.  Other stories say that the Gaels would dress up in costumes of animals and dance around a bonfire in order to scare away any evil spirits that have come to cause harm upon the season’s crops.

Other Halloween traditions grew out of the Christian version of the holy days , All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day.  The two main traditions for these days are gathering “treats” and Jack-o’-lanterns.  Both of these Christian holy days were for prayer to free trapped souls from purgatory.  Soul cakes were baked and collected door-to-door as a means to pray for these purgatory-trapped souls.  In Brittany, children would light candles in skulls and place them in graveyards as a representation of these souls.  This tradition would be one of a few early influences of the modern day Jack-o’-lantern. 

Lighting candles in skulls in a graveyard, of all places, is rather morbid, and the perfect jumping point for tying Horror and Halloween together in a harmonious relationship.

Today we have grown to expect a bit of terror on this day, which was originally established to honor the dead.  We would be too desensitized to go “trick-or-treating” just for soul cakes and then praying for the souls in purgatory.  Over these years we have been exposed to haunted amusement attractions, gory costumes, slice-em’ dice-em’ Halloween based Horror flicks, that praying for a bunch of souls would be rather lost on us.  For the month leading up to this day: the television is plagued with horror movies,  book stores predominantly display Horror novels on their end caps,  horror writing competitions have beguiled the Internet,  haunted houses are popping up along Interstates everywhere…  Halloween and Horror have a true symbiotic relationship today that is deeply ingrained in traditions of antiquity.

So as you get dressed up tonight to go bang on some stranger’s door for some candy that will probably rot out your teeth, won’t you please think of those poor souls who are trapped in purgatory?

Happy Haunting!

©2012, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative – visit Amanda Headlee — It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn for the original source of this content.

An Ode to Halloween

The twilight is upon us, and All Hallow’s Eve is almost here. Tales of yore say that when time is past midnight on the night of October 31st, the veil between this world and the Spirits’ is at its thinnest. The dissipation of this veil allows our Earth’s departed souls to once again be free to traverse among the living. Some great Spirits bring to the living tidings of love, while others deliver messages of true horror.

What Spirits shall you attract on the night when the dimensions converge?

Spirits of the Dead by Edgar Allen Poe (1827)

Thy soul shall find itself alone

‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;

Not one, of all the crowd, to pry

Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that solitude,

Which is not loneliness — for then

The spirits of the dead, who stood

In life before thee, are again

In death around thee, and their will

Shall overshadow thee; be still.

The night, though clear, shall frown,

And the stars shall not look down

From their high thrones in the Heaven

With light like hope to mortals given,

But their red orbs, without beam,

To thy weariness shall seem

As a burning and a fever

Which would cling to thee for ever.

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,

Now are visions ne’er to vanish;

From thy spirit shall they pass

No more, like dew-drop from the grass.

The breeze, the breath of God, is still,

And the mist upon the hill

Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,

Is a symbol and a token.

How it hangs upon the trees,

A mystery of mysteries!

Here is a sweet little prelude to a special Halloween 2012 blog post:  The Synergy of Halloween and Horror

©2012, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivative – visit Amanda Headlee — It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn for the original source of this content.