Halloween Fun For Writers

by | Oct 25, 2012 | Poems, Short Stories, Writing Contests, Writing Prompt | 48 comments

Review Board Is Now Open! 








Deadline: Thursday, October 21st

Share your favorite/funniest/most memorable Halloween moment in our comments section below by Tuesday, October 30, including the words “Halloween” and “Writer’s Relief” in a poem or short prose comment under 250 words.

Not sure what to write? Here are some prompts to help get you started:

Did you have an allergic reaction to your Incredible Hulk face paint?

Did you spend one Halloween explaining to everyone that you were a moon rock and not a piece of cheese?

Did you spend a special evening with a child who was just starting to learn how much fun Halloween can be?


We’re looking forward to reading your Halloween stories!

Submit to Review Board


  1. Patricia Florio

    A Day of Fun on Halloween

    I need “Writers Relief” on “Halloween”
    a day filled with energy and fun!

    To sport my witches’ wear o’er land and sea,
    on the beach where I live and run.

    If the sand is dry, I will attempt
    to fly above the surf, o’er the dunes
    in my colorful hot balloon;

    There will be no witches’ broom for me.

    I’ll share this day of trick or treat
    with a delightful little girl;
    Amelia’s her name and grandma’s
    my claim, to the child that brings
    joy to me.

  2. Shirley Smothers

    “Writer’s Relief” and “Halloween

    The Creepy Old House

    In a creepy old house I
    found a creepy old doll.
    I bent to pick it up
    and boy did I take a fall.
    I stood up, had a lump
    on my head, but
    otherwise alright.
    I looked out the window,
    day had turned to night.
    I looked and looked but
    did not find the doll.
    I turned to leave and there
    it was hanging by its neck
    against the wall.
    Its creepy smile seemed to say,
    “Come and play with me, my friend.
    We can play forever without
    any end.”
    To get out of this house
    I ran for the door.
    But there was no way out.
    It was not there anymore.
    Through the window I
    threw a heavy bust.
    The window smashed and
    there was a ton of dust.
    I looked out the window
    but there was no ground,
    we seemed to be
    floating in air.
    I said, “No, no,
    this just isn’t fair!”
    I felt a hand upon
    my shoulder, I let
    out a scream.
    I heard someone say,
    “Wake up, honey,
    you’re having a dream.”
    I opened my eyes
    to see my husband’s
    concerned face.
    I breathed a sigh of
    relief, I was in
    a safe place.
    My eyes grew heavy
    and as I was returning
    to sleep, I heard
    my husband say,
    “Go back to sleep,
    my friend,
    then you
    can play forever
    without any end.”

  3. Kevin Whitfield

    Good grief….Writers Relief…It’ Friday the 13th on Elm street on Halloween…and I’m the candy man…
    Like Freddy or Michael my head will go Physco…Norman bates your estates and escape in the night though…might chase like Jason you’ll be facing a knife, no…goalie mask
    Slowly slash ya limbs by the light pole…might leave you bloody be like Chucky and swipe souls…So even after life…Im will be after your life bro…now every time it gets dark or the lights low…I’ll be around the corners, gonna get ya…that’s right, Go…
    But, there’s no where to run…and no where to hide…from a poltergeist that’s live…be inside of your mind…this a tales from the crypt and keeper revived…revise the chain saw massacre divide you in five…leave some parts over here some parts over there…beware the hell raiser invade your nightmares…I swear, who dare dreams me, gets there’s easily…see a pumpkin head at ya bed, that’s where he’d be…with a ouija

  4. Julie Atkinson


    Black cats prowl and witches fly
    Across the eerie moon lit sky
    And down below in darkened light
    We hear the screams of kids delight

    Here on this night called Halloween
    With bags for candy children glean
    Jack ‘o lanterns beckon all
    Whether big or whether small

    In houses old with long dark halls
    Are heard the eerie moans and calls
    Of wispy ghosts with clanking chains
    That chill the blood within our veins

    A tap, tap, tapping can be heard
    But this is not a Raven bird
    This finger tapping causes grief
    It’s contest time at Writer’s Relief!

  5. Harley Hoehn

    Writer’s Relief poem

    The littlest one

    The night has risen
    and the moon is full
    The crypt is woken
    by a wailing ghoul
    One by one the vampires rise
    but one is in for a big surprise
    It’s her first night out
    so children beware
    the little ones are in for a scare
    The littlest vampire takes flight
    off into the moonlit night
    Happy Halloween everyone
    and to all a good fright!

  6. Amy Nicholson


    If I write it
    Will they read it,
    Though a classic
    It won’t be yet?

    A Poe poem
    Like the Raven?
    Mine is sure to
    Be a cave-in.

    Sleepy Hollow
    Just eludes me.
    Mister Irving
    Was so good, see.

    The Inferno
    Of Dante? Right.
    I could never
    Soar to that height.

    Halloween poems
    Cause me such grief.
    I need your help,
    Writer’s Relief!

  7. Patricia Crandall

    “Writer’s Relief” and “Halloween”


    like spiky teeth,
    Skeleton bones
    rattle beneath.
    A black cat stretches
    across Willa Witch’s hearth
    where skulls are brewed
    and crossbones stewed
    by this Uzbekistan,
    wart nosed sorceress!

  8. wilma blair-reed

    The hour is bewitching
    I’m concerned about my fate
    Ghost and goblins fill my thoughts
    There’s too much on my plate

    The chills and thrills of Halloween
    Distracts me from my task
    So why not get in the “spirit” of things
    And don myself a mask

    Sometimes we need to take a break
    That is my staunch belief
    And I will return with fresh ideas
    Because I got some Writers Relief

  9. Patricia Anne Elford

    The Hollowing
    Terror shakes the door.
    What Halloween horror awaits me?
    I answer.
    My worst fears leer around the door frame— scratching, snickering, sucking.
    All creative thoughts are vacuumed from my numbing brain.
    All ideas, edits, market lists, spontaneous jottings, shriek from my mind— out into the blackness.

    Pounding vibrates the half-latched door.
    Aperture widens!
    Writer’s Relief, clad in glowing white armor,
    Pours my creative memories back into my hollowed head,
    The images and ideas circle and spin, bounce like billiard balls into tidy mental pockets with a satisfying snick—organized, improved, sparkling, ready for submission.
    Revived, renewed, I lift the candy bowl.
    “No treats for me”, cries my hero. “I live to serve”.

  10. depax1@netzero.com

    Witches flight,
    Vampires bite,
    Holiday of Dentist’s delight!
    Jack-o-lantern smiles,
    kids for miles,
    all collecting goodies in piles!
    It’s my belief,
    the Halloween grief,
    will earn praise from Writer’s relief!

  11. Jill Jeffrey

    Crackly leaves swirling before us as we contemplate stopping at one last house this dark and stormy night. It is not fit out for men nor beasts, nor writers. Relief is in sight at the top of the cobblestone walk in the guise of a very tall zebra brandishing a large bowl of full-sized Hershey bars. Halloween rocks!

  12. Lori Noreika

    Trick or Treat

    I have lived on this street in Linden, Iowa for over twenty years and every year Sam, my husband, goes out with the boys from the Penitentiary, and I have a glass of merlot while passing candy out to the neighborhood kids, my writer’s relief.
    Have you seen my blue jeans?” Sam shouted from the bedroom.
    “Check the closet” I sighed, “Where they always are!”
    Sam’s promotion to Lieutenant was partly due to his involvement in catching a convict that had attempted an escape last month. The convict, Thomas Mullen, was sentenced to seventy-five years with no chance of parole for manslaughter. Apparently, Mullen had an issue with the volume of his neighbors TV.
    The doorbell rang, must be kids already. I walked to the door and attempted to turn on the outside light, strange the light was not working. Slowly I placed my hand on the door knob, as the door swung open by the force of an outside entity.
    “Sam home?” the voice said in a long, low chuckle. “I can see that he likes to keep the TV on quite loud in the evening”.
    Mullen pulled the shotgun out from under his coat and I fell to the floor, spilling the candy bowl of jawbreakers in front of him. One movement, his foot hit a jawbreaker, he flipped into the air and came down on his own gun as it went off.
    Looks like his sentence had just been suspended, I huffed.

  13. D. Valdez

    Getting Ready for Halloween

    The kids are excited for this time of year,
    For this one exciting day.
    The costumes, the candy, the tricks, the fear,
    And the ‘trick or trick’ that they’ll say.

    We have a Halloween box of paint supplies,
    Of hats and masks and gowns.
    Amidst head-scratching and giggles and sighs,
    My kids create getups of their own.

    First I have my butterfly
    She’s dressed in pink, with wings.
    Her costume was thought of on her own….she’s five;
    After considering many things.

    My boys…there’s three…go for the scary side;
    They’re into gory and cool.
    After selections of things that they’ve tried
    I now have a wolfman, a vampire and a ghoul.

    Writers Relief, I love that they love it, the excitement;
    Remembering eons ago when it was me.
    By watching them and their enjoyment,
    Through them I live vicariously.

  14. Christopher Reilley (@Reilley)



    Now, Jack was a no account lad, it’s true,
    Everyone in the little village knew it.
    He could talk a streak until your ears were blue,
    But if there was work to be done he wouldn’t do it.

    He had the gift of gab, Jack my lad did,
    He could talk the birds down from the trees.
    But he was lazy as a cat, and heaven forbid,
    If he could not do just as he pleased.

    Well, the Devil met Jack, in the fields one day,
    And he thought he would bargain for a soul.
    They wagered who could count every stalk of new hay
    In the farmer’s field entire and whole.

    Well, Jack climbed a tree, and scouted the land
    Then gave the devil a number quite high.
    He invited the devil to climb up and stand
    Where he could see the entire supply.

    When the devil was in the tree, Jack took his knife
    And carved a holy cross in the tree bark.
    The devil was now stuck, for it would cost him his life
    If he attempted to cross that hallowed mark.

    Well, the devil was angry, and who could be blamed
    Still, Jack bargained for freedom with him.
    He stated his case, his terms he proclaimed
    And the devil agreed, his voice grim.

    Jack had bartered for the safety of his immortal soul,
    Never could the devil do him harm.
    He would forever be outside of the devil’s control,
    A sworn word was as good as a charm.

    After freeing old Scratch, Jack went on his way,
    And lived his long life as he would.
    He never did much harm, you could say,
    But he also never did anyone any good.

    Jack passed on as men do, and went to Heaven’s gate.
    However, they would not let him get through.
    Try as he might he simply could not relate
    A selfless act for St. Peter’s review.

    Denied Heaven’s pleasure Jack turned his attention to Hell,
    Irate that Heaven snubbed his failure to act.
    But the devil gladly turned him away as well,
    For he was still bound by the terms of their pact.

    “And where shall I turn, and how to light my path?”
    Jack complained, although his words Heaven ignored.
    Therefore, the devil decided to vent his thwarted wrath
    And flung a burning coal from Hell into a gourd.

    Now Jack walks the earth, never to find rest,
    His steps lighted by his lantern of shame.
    Of all Halloween traditions, the one that shines best,
    Is the Jack O’Lantern that today bears his name.

  15. Wayne Adams

    I’m a writer! My late father surely is proud.
    He said, “Write your dream! That’s who you are!”
    I’ve no novel or screenplay attracting a crowd–
    In a corporate office I just crank out PR.

    Okay, this job doesn’t fill me with thrills,
    but today I’m on deadline; it’s 10-31,
    and this press release will pay my bills,
    so by this time tomorrow I must get it done.

    I wrote “Acme’s coming year looks bright,
    in all our many revenue streams.”
    But the screen said: “On a dark and stormy night,
    a basement dank was filled with screams.”

    “This computer is crazy,” was my first thought.
    “Some virus must have snuck through the door.”
    I unplugged the keyboard and tried a new slot,
    and then went back to writing once more.

    I typed, “our share of the market’s expected to grow
    in the next few months by leaps and bounds.”
    The screen said: “A huge skull emitted a glow
    and floated toward me with hideous sounds.”

    And so it continued. I’d write something airy
    and then, as if completely deranged,
    the computer would show me something scary,
    and my news release was entirely changed.

    The most frightening story lay there complete.
    Then I looked at the next screen in sheer disbelief.
    It said, “Son, here’s a little Halloween treat.
    Now get it sent in to Writer’s Relief.”

  16. Debbie Wright

    “Writer’s relief” and Halloween

    On one creepy Halloween night.
    i was walking my daughter to a haunted house..
    suddenly, the fence open..
    My daughter smiled said “cool”
    we got to the stairs and the windows
    were foggy.. then the elderly lady opened the door.
    then she replied yes indeed. it is cool.
    so i put my daughter arms around me.
    she looked at me and smiled..
    i grabbed some candy out the bowl..
    a hand in the bowl grabbed me..
    i let out a loud scream. then i dropped the candy
    and grabbed my daughter and we ran.
    my daughter and i never went the house again.

  17. Sharon Rowe

    Im a Halloween avoider
    All the sugar and candy
    The witches just aren’t nice
    I hide at home the curtains drawn tight
    Spying on all the monsters allowed out tonight
    How do we know they aren’t real
    They knock at my door and my hart sinks deeper
    I’m not sure what to do, I hold my breath tight
    I don’t want them to hear me breathing, hiding from sight
    They’ve gone oh great
    My computer flickers on writer’s relief comes into focus
    oh well candy it is for me as I type
    Sitting in darkness incase they return to scare me once more
    I munch on the candy I brought just in case

  18. Marvin Rabinovitch

    When goblins gobble and fierce pirates prance
    Down eerie streets in the milky moonlight,
    In quest of candy and whatever chance
    There is of mischief, why do I just write
    Instead of joining in their grim forays?
    A gentle soul am I, aggressionless,
    And one who shuns the primate’s threatening ways,
    Preferring to amuse, not shock – unless
    The two can be combined, yes it’s been done:
    The poisoned pumpkin pie’s a tasty treat
    And clownish vampires’ nibbles titillate;
    Why should the archfiend’s gang have all the fun?
    We tame types too can thaw in Halloween heat
    And our writer’s relief articulate.

  19. Michelle Barnes

    At 3 a.m. I should be sleeping
    Odd hours I seem to be keeping
    My eyes are not closing
    My mind is composing
    Limericks are silently creeping

    In walks a goblin named Joe
    Who puts on a Halloween show
    His head, it unhinges
    And out jump, like ninjas,
    Huge crickets that breed in his toe

    I feel the sweat bead on my brow
    The crickets are everywhere now
    My heart skips a beat
    But I’m stuck to my seat
    And I think that I’m having a cow

    Staring in pure disbelief
    And shaking like Autumn’s last leaf
    A blood-curdling scream
    Wakes me up from my dream
    And I breathe deep my Writer’s Relief

  20. Alan Meyrowitz


    Another porch, another time
    I was zombie-bumped, would have
    retrieved my candy dropped
    if not for fright.
    Sugar high would take no blame
    for stealing ´way my sleep that night,
    but fear that came to stay in minds
    of little ones like me.
    Writer’s Relief will see my grief
    in grim, despairing poetry,
    more so as each Halloween
    renews the unrelenting curse:
    round every turn expecting there
    a zombie-bump, all sanity dispersed.

  21. Mary Encinias

    There is something inside of me trying to get out! I’m a mild mannered woman, not inclined to outward expression of feelings, but….I feel this rumbling inside my body, inside my soul.
    It’s the end of October and I sense the yearly change of seasons as well. Falling acorns and leaves jolt my peace of mind. Silence is overcome by the crunch of leaves; creatures move in the woods where we live and I can hear their every step. In our small town of Ellijay, Georgia scarecrows have taken over the downtown. Dressed in their finery, hay seeps out of their sleeves during the night. It’s almost Halloween.
    Some kind of ghost inhabits me. New words, ideas,story lines stream out of my mouth inaudible – moonshine, smoke, brews unknown I smell. A fire? Is it inside me or outside in the forest? It whispers, “Write.”
    But I am afraid. What if it doesn’t come out right? What if I never find an agent or a publisher? What if I can’t even get it down on paper? All this angst in my small frame. Again the words, “Write it down! You have a story to tell! Then send it in to Writer’s Relief!”

  22. Diane Green

    The branches of the tree began to bang outside his window. The moon was full, the sky was cloudy and that eery gray that seems so ominious. The perfect setting for a scary Halloween story.He sat staring at the monitor. Ideas floated through his mind but unfortunately none of them stopped long enough to develop into something he felt he could put on paper. Sitting in coffee shops he could jot down story lines like crazy, but the minute he decided to write something for Writer’s Review he became flustered, frustrated and otherwise brain dead. He really needed that $50 and a few more , to pay his rent. He felt claustrophobic. He made all kinds of deals in his mind. God , if you help me free my words into something coherent I promise I will give ten per cent of my winnings to the homeless. “I really want to do this for a living . ” “How badly do you want it?” ” Who is this? where are you?” There was no reply, but suddenly the words began to fly onto the paper as if he had no control over his fingers.

  23. Stephanie Johnson

    A Happy Halloween

    When I was a kid I liked to write and read
    –and every October I could not wait to trick-or-treat!

    Year after year, best costume won an award from the school
    –I went as a witch, princess, cat, even a ghoul.

    Every autumn I would rack my brain
    –boxed costumes (with plastic masks!) bought in vain.

    Finally, when I was nine
    –I told my Mom no, not this time!

    I wore my sister’s white Communion dress and veil
    –a bride! Surely this year I will prevail.

    Yes, the judges were smiling at me
    –a good sign, thought I, perhaps it could be . . .

    “This Halloween,” the judges say
    –“Best costume goes to Stephanie!”

    I accept the award with glee, at last disappointment gets a reprieve
    –to this young Writer’s Relief!

  24. Angela

    The Phantom of writer’s block chased me into the night, its mask twisted under the light of
    of big Halloween moon. Clutching ectoplasmic fingers reached for me. I ran, seeking
    refuge and shelter. A ran to the light ahead, toward the graceful hand coming from the light.
    I took it, thankful for the rescue from Writer’s Relief.

  25. Krista Rupp

    One Halloween night
    A long long time ago
    Something wasn’t right
    Of this, I certainly know

    The treasures of the wait
    Scattered along the floor
    Decreased an alarming rate
    Too soon there’ll be no more

    Two packages of smarties
    For one peanut butter cup
    The candy from all the parties
    Getting all mixed up

    We trade our nightly earnings
    But wake up with quite the fright
    A whole nights worth of yearnings
    May be gone within the night

    Terrified by dawn
    Awoken by grief
    The ending was but a dream
    Much to the Writers Relief

  26. Alison Hicks


    The plastic skeleton on our porch
    asks for a drink in a Philly accent.
    Nice costume! What are you supposed to be?

    In our yard my son scatters plastic bones
    in a Have-a-Heart trap
    marked “Beware.”

    On the other side of the porch,
    the gargoyle made in art class,
    a string of pumpkin lights, a strobe.

    An evil jester, black and red foolscap,
    mask whose eyes we had to widen,
    rallies his troops with a skull on a stick,
    half Shakespeare, half Disney.

    He wants to be something scary,
    the way we might wonder what would happen
    if we drove off the road,

    the way I love bones,
    the skeleton in a marachi hat
    playing mandolin on my desk,

    as I send Halloween submissions
    to Writer’s Relief.



    On Halloween night trick or treaters were walking down the street.Most of the children are out. ”It’s 5;00pm, here comes the kids”. Downtown lit up so bright. Scary costumes walking up and down the boulvard. Little Miss Ballerina all in pink with black shoes, smiles brightly says trick or treat to her neighbor. Mrs G gives her a handful of candy, lots going on at waterpark. Sounds of music. Children playing games.
    The vendors are going strong. All of a sudden a loud shriek of an animal is heard so far. Most of the children look around. It was a teen being a wolve. Everyone started to laugh. Ann decides to walk back up the street and go with litle Miss Ballerina around town. She only got by 2 houses and someone stole her candy. ”That’s it said the wolve teen”. He chased after the tief. The chase is on, after 4 blocks he’s caught unmasked. It was her classmate. The night has only started, . time for writer’s relief, scary night.

  28. Beth Hermes

    First trip in years, just my husband and me
    I tagged along to NYC
    But a large, loud Third Party blustered into our stay
    And forced us to remain at least one extra day
    Our Tuesday night flight now is not in the cards
    As Sandy continues to pound the coast hard
    And we’re ordered to hunker down in our hotel
    Until Mayor Bloomberg tells us all is well
    Halloween in New York, but it’s a good omen
    I packed my Writer’s Relief – my notebook and a pen!

  29. Chris Crabtree

    I spent months researching. I learned whole swaths of Groucho’s dialog, practiced his voice, learned his walk. I grew my hair out to be just the right length and brought a picture of him to my stylist and said, “make me look like this.” I dyed my hair black and learned how to make grease paint mustache and eyebrows. I bought a floppy suit and a tie and wire rim glasses. I WAS Groucho.

    My wife bought a Cleopatra costume on clearance for $3.50 on the way to the party. Guess who won the costume contest.

    Yep, she did.

  30. Jason

    Walked through a pumpkin patch
    None of them were carved
    But i thought I saw a face
    On one of them
    Semi, jagged smile
    Grisly game played on my mind
    Nothing out here to keep me company
    But the yellows, browns and reds
    And they look pretty
    But pretty doesn’t protect me from “The Face”
    A face cut
    With one of those manly, lumberjack hatchets
    Like whoever did “the face”
    Had a good, demented time making
    the eyes, the nose and that smile
    That I saw in the pumpkin patch

  31. Lillian Waugh

    Aardmoore stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, admiring his Dracula makeup. Leaning against the cold porcelain of the sink, he reached with one dirty claw to extract a bit of unidentifiable mossy substance from one of his fangs, absently wiping it on the edge of his black, flowing cape.
    In a few short hours, he would be at the Rictus Writers Halloween party, where the featured speaker was a well-known publisher interested in new writers’ work. Aardmoore was a writer. He just needed that one break. The problem was, Aardmoore had been stricken with writer’s block; his mind cramped, constipated. Dracula stared at him from the mirror, grinning, mocking. Acid of anger and frustration corroded all hope.
    Aaardmoore’s shoulders slumped. He shook his head, disgusted. What was he thinking? It was hopeless. He sighed a terrible gasping sigh, turned, and stumbled out of the bathroom. His flowing cape caught on the doorknob and jerked him backwards. He hit his head against the sink as he fell to the tile floor.
    Head spinning, Aaardmoore sat up, put his Dracula palms against his forehead. A strange sensation filled his brain. To that writer’s relief, the barrier, the block, was gone; his mind flooded with thoughts, ideas, and possibilities. He carefully removed his black flowing cape before he rushed to his computer.

  32. Andrew Rowcroft

    Curved and warped pint poles of limber splintered ash yawn a tunnelled passage ahead; the house is a pristine black and obviously one you avoid. Feeling emboldened (children all of twelve), we move to the door, dressed like death, as witches and skeletons, goblins in cheap plastic and garish paint. Plastic sweet bags are clutched and wound round wrists. We knock and hurriedly reapply masks, brandish broomsticks, prepared to yell and scream, fighting impatience and anticipation.

    A surly man opens, beer bottle in hand. He tells us to grow up, mind our business, stop begging, return home. “We don’t do Halloween over here!” We slink away and try the next house down a long oak-tree enclosed lane. It has snow on the windows like dusted sugar and red brick like candy. A black cat loiters, as we trudge through leaves like fudge to the door. It’s reading and re-reading a Writers Relief placard that limply hangs. It spits and hisses warning us away.

    An older woman, rosy cheeked, has baked especially for young children. Hot raisin biscuit smell perforates the dark and cold air, her face shows kindness and trust. She offers pancakes with sugar, apples, nuts and kind scoldings to mind hot trays and admonishments to wrap up warmly. Gingerbread men are flamed in the top oven, nearly done and flagged by tinfoil. She beckons us inside but we stagger back, take the food and run. We all know how these stories end.

  33. Robert C Hargreaves

    A Halloween Surprise

    The only time I’ve ever been busted was a church student Halloween party when I was a graduate student at Michigan State. The party was at the church’s camp headquarters ten miles out in the woods. The dark, gloomy forest was a perfect spooky setting for Halloween, but our unexpected visitors weren’t spooks or goblins.
    We didn’t wear costumes. In those days costumes were for prepubescent kids going trick-or-treating door to door. We dunked for apples and played pin the tail on the donkey.
    Just as our leader was beginning a devotional, three cars with their headlights off drove up in the dark. The next thing we knew, police were coming in the front and back doors, even the windows, with batons raised. Everyone just sat and stared. Our leader went up to the officer standing in the middle of the room. “Hi, officer. Would you like some cocoa?” “Cocoa!” was all he could say. Obviously he was expecting something else. The officers huddled briefly, then left without saying anything.
    Happy Halloween, Writer’s Relief. Don’t forget to lock your doors and windows.

  34. Joanne Fleck

    Halloween is a time to search through channels and under beds
    Where are found ghouls and goblins and TV talking heads.
    Writers, authors and editors too struggle to figure out
    Each manuscript that’s been edited out.
    Rich man, poor man, beggar–writers all.
    Use computers, ipads or on paper scrawl
    Characters, great ideas or comic relief,
    The plot or point to be kept brief.
    How-To’s, Fiction and New Release
    Their stories keep you shaking like a leaf.
    It’s all found between the pages of Writer’s Relief.

  35. Maribeth

    Porch lights, filled streets, overstuffed bags filled with treats
    Ghosts, goblins and witches who look so mean
    It must be that time of year.
    Yes, it’s Halloween.
    Haunted houses filled with gore,
    Parades and parties
    Kids beg for more
    Black cats, spooky masks, smoke rings
    Pumpkin patches, hay stacks
    Scarecrow sings
    My costume, my costume, what should I wear?
    A clown, a nurse, a fire chief
    I got it, I got it, I know what I’ll be
    The contest winner for Writer’s Relief

  36. Lynn Tippett

    Little Kieran Kelly , A dark little one
    Roamed the Irish Antrim Coast
    For some souling was to be done.
    Dunluce Castle lied just ahead.
    The castle-crowned crag
    that was carved from the sea
    and the 240 souls that lie in the waters beneath.
    A bounding on the door he gave
    A soul, a soul, a soul cake please
    The door creaked open and the mistress appeard
    A soul cake in her hand , and a whisper to hear.
    Take this cake and pray for the soul
    lost in the waters just meters below.
    Little Kieran Kelly whispered a prayer
    before breaking the cake where a ring would appear.
    The ring was a glow and it burned in his hand.
    His mind was weak for what lied ahead.
    The soul of a boy, who’d long been dead
    possessed his soul with a fuming dread.
    His eyes turned darken, black as coal
    His breath was wretched, musty and old
    A fight ensued that no one could see
    and little Kieran Kelly ran for the trees.
    The bonfire was burning in the depths of the woods
    Where dozens stood wailing in cloaks and hoods.
    Golden ambers arose from the trees
    and little Kieran Kelly dropped to his knees.
    A cry came out of the darkness and loomed in the air.
    An elder took a snip of young Keirans hair.
    Throwing it into the fire the chanting began:
    Forest misty dark and deep
    The door between the worlds release.
    Who holds, who holds this soul a captive?
    So say your name for the masses.
    A groveling growl came up from the throat of
    little Kieran Kelly as he spoke.
    My name is Balor the voice said with glee.
    I am king of the demons who live in the sea.
    The invocation began with an omnipotent voice;
    Each leaf that drifts upon the ground will bury all that is unsound.
    Save this soul from which its bound, cast out the demon who holds him down.
    This soul is saved and demon free this Halloween
    This is the Writer’s Relief, I believe.

  37. Connie Pauley

    It’s contest time at “Writer’s Relief”
    “Halloween” is this contest’s Motif
    Time to tell tales of ghouls, goblins and ghosts
    Of bats flying and spooky scarecrows on posts
    Of witches in black hats cackling while stirring their brew
    And Zombies rising from the ground looking to make brain stew
    Heed my warnings, beware and don’t go out alone
    Because once you hear it you’ll fear the undead’s moan
    The Vampires hear the sound of your heart beating
    Then want to get your blood so they can start eating
    Monsters, spirits and Devils all get to roam free
    You hear the black cat meow and the scream of the Banshee,
    The sounds of trick or treating and you see pumpkin light
    You hear something wailing and things that go bump in the night
    The air is crisp you feel the cool breeze blow through your hair
    When you hear an owl hooting and an evil laugh you say a prayer.
    “I’m going to kill you” you think you hear whispered in the wind.
    You glance and see a man that looked at you and grinned.
    You quicken your pace as you hear foot steps following you.
    Your heart is beating much faster than you know it ought to.
    You get to your door and you fumble and drop your keys.
    Something touches you “Don’t kill me” you say from your knees.
    Are you all right? You hear the voice of another?
    And look up into the face of your sweet mother.

  38. Margaretta James

    Our diminutive leader claps her hands to start the rehearsal. To this writer’s relief, she wasn’t asked to script this particular performance. We foreigners are witches, zombies, ghosts, vampires. Inexplicably, our Chinese colleagues are elaborately dressed as insects. The leader’s eyes narrow as she spots Miss Lu who is wearing a frilly, nightclub approximation of Little Red Riding Hood. Her voice is measured but cold as she asks for an explanation. Miss Lu mutters something about torn butterfly wings. She is saved from further interrogation as our leader is distracted by the foreign teachers watching computer satellite images. Four foot surge. Diameter of three thousand miles. We marvel and recoil. The leader steps forward and turns down the volume. She outwardly sighs at the vision of Mr. Graham dressed in his full American football outfit, including blackened eyes. She drags him over to stand beside Miss Lu. The two rebels can walk together. A crane topples. The music begins. Gangnam Style. A Halloween fancy dress parade in China with Korean pop music. We hop and gallop through our paces. The P.E. teachers try gallantly to correct our gait and rhythm. The insects flutter enthusiastically. The foreign teachers canter awkwardly. Waves crash against the Ashbury Park pier. Mr. Graham does ten push-ups then lifts Miss Lu into the air. She blushes redder than the lace on her fairytale costume. The lights dim, accompanied by ghostly sound effects. On the computer screen, real darkness settles in.

  39. Rusty

    There once was a writer named Bean,
    who wished to go out Halloween.
    Taking a cue from Writers Relief,
    he fashioned a costume, quite brief,
    But “Sandy the Storm” blew so mean.

    He raced back home to his lair
    and fashioned a costume like a bear.
    Ready for the storm,
    in his bearskin so warm
    See him slogging for treats in the Square.

  40. Julie Catherine

    On Hallow’s Eve

    ‘Tis certain some do hold belief
    Sure they do at Writer’s Relief
    That wickedness abounds this night
    So gather ‘round, shut off the light
    As in the fog ghosts weep and wail
    And listen close to this my tale—

    Something wicked stalks the night
    As undead spirits wail and keen
    Flee the graveyards, pale with fright
    From visions of a bloodied scene
    Evil prowls in feral light—
    On Hallow’s Eve, on Halloween

    Heed the footfall in the grass
    And shadow vultures high in trees
    Fear the stranger that you pass
    Whose amber eyes your innards seize
    Twist into a gruesome mass—
    As you crawl, begging, on your knees

    Beware! Hades does not ask
    And Prince of Darkness leaves no trace
    Thief of youth in joyful task—
    No trick or treat, just ghoulish face
    In fetid, foul, gloaming mask
    He drags them to this beastly place

    Charon stalks the lonely night
    And undead spirits wail and keen
    Fleeing graveyards, pale with fright
    From horrors of a carnal scene
    Evil prowls in feral light—
    On Hallow’s Eve, on Halloween

    © Julie Catherine Vigna, 2012

  41. Maureen

    Oh me. Oh my. Good Lord. Good Grief!
    A Halloween contest from Writer’s Relief?
    Ignoring the gusts and relentless rain,
    I forget about storm “Sandy” and focus my brain.
    There are so many memories of Halloween night;
    flying monkeys and witches and “the great big egg fight”.
    My favorite of all just has to be
    playing in the leaf pile beneath the Oak tree.
    As the last of the leaves are starting to fall,
    I bid Writer’s Relief, “Happy Halloween all”.

  42. V. Bennett


    My brother was finally grown and had left the nest, much to this writer’s relief. His moodiness was no longer my concern and now I had a bigger room. I wished I could be tucked into that room reading a good book rather than scouring the woods on this cold Halloween night lit by a full moon.
    “Peanuts! Popcorn! Cracker Jacks!” we hollered the names of our missing dairy goats. “Mama! Nuisance!” How could it be that a herd of one hundred fifty dairy goats could go missing all at once? They would be getting sore, needing to be milked. My parents and I scrutinized the eighty acres, calling more names as we went. “Amanda? Jewelina?” We stopped tramping through the fallen leaves to listen.
    The creaking branches of oaks with their arms stretched worshipfully to the moon was the only answer. I thought about my brother and his friend, a truck driver. Could they have snuck all those goats into a trailer? Would they? My brother did have a twisted sense of humor.
    We split up and each took a section of the farm. I called the goats and stopped to listen. I heard my mother trudging through the leaves to my left. Surely the goats could hear us? But the wind was too strong. I walked to the back of the place and towards home again.
    I heard my step-dad’s voice. “What?” I shouted into the wind.
    Mom’s voice was relieved, “He found them!”

  43. Helen Colella

    Fright Night on the St. Johns River

    The creepy building along the riverbank in Vero Beach looked like a typical Halloween haunted house. Yeah, right, Writer’s Relief!

    The outdoor path led me through a scary cemetery where bodies magically erupted from the ground and zombies shot out from behind headstones. I screamed and ran to the front porch. There ugly, cackling witches offered me barbequed body parts, spinach from boiling caldrons, and jugs of red blood.

    Once inside I meandered through a strobe lit maze of rooms decorated with glow paint designs on the walls and floor. I felt dizzy and confused. Eerie music played and gruesome figures appeared out of nowhere, shadowing me. The spider-web room released life-sized black widows. They crawled on the ceiling, walls, and along the floor creating a frenzy and rush to the wish room.

    Here, a family skit focused on two children making wishes:
    “I wish Aunt Jane didn’t have lips to smother me with her kisses.”
    “I hate hearing Uncle Fred’s fishing stories. I wish he were a hooked fish somebody caught.”
    “I sometimes wish Mom and Dad weren’t so strict and that they had to live in a dungeon.”


    Lights on.

    There stood Aunt Jane – no mouth, Uncle Fred – a hooked fish, Mom and Dad – prisoners in a dungeon.

    Horrified, the kids argued the other was to blame and shouted, “I wish you were never born.”


    Lights on.

    Children gone.

    Sinister laughter followed.

    I heard an ominous voice, “Be careful of what you wish for.”

  44. Wayne Adams

    I hope you guys are okay! I hear that Hurricane Sandy made Hackensack into a disaster area. Our thoughts are with you.

  45. Regina Murray Brault


    A strange night this
    even the moon
    keeps its distance
    behind a filmy mask.

    My fractured pumpkin
    with half a grin intact
    rots in the glow
    of the street lamp.

    But this
    like many other nights
    will end in voices calling-
    out in writer’s relief

    when angel wings detach
    to molt in attic boxes —
    ghosts fold away
    to hide in linen closets.

    Tonight, while younger mothers’ children
    chase half-shadows in their dreams
    I hover in my doorway with the light behind me
    like the shadow in an x-ray.

    I turn to face the wrinkles in my mirror
    and wipe the red graffiti heart
    from my pale lips —
    pausing only long enough to wonder
    what good is half a smile.

    If in my dreams I hear a rustling
    like softly fluttering wings
    I won’t bolt upright fearing the unknown.
    I will instead remember this,
    a Halloween of of windswept leaves
    slapping at a broken grin

    with taunts of that which was
    and that which might have been.

  46. Shirley Smothers

    Congratulations Wayne! You deserve this.

  47. Julie Catherine

    Wayne, congratulations on your awesome win! I thoroughly enjoyed your poem! ~ Julie 🙂


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