I wanted to share with you the original poem I entered into Aurora Jean Alexander’s annual Halloween contest on her website, Writer’s Treasure Chest It describes the excitement that various characters feel at the approaching spooky holiday. Please take a moment to stop by and check out the other entries
Is it Time? – by Amy Caudill
Plastic skeletons of varied size,
Pumpkins of sundry hue, with permanent artificial grins
And lights in their eyes,
Rubber bats on string and flocked ravens perching,
Tinsel cats and wired-sheeted ghosts all implore-
Is it time to come out and play?
Little monsters of every style,
Fairy princesses bedecked in their finest and pirates
In the original novel that drove a series of bestsellers, Odd Thomas is a humble soul distinctly lacking in what many would consider ambition. His goals in life are simple: to help others using his unusual gifts whenever possible, to love Stormy Llewellyn to the best of his ability, and to live as normal a life as possible.
When Odd sees a cluster of otherworldly bodachs following a customer who enters the Pico Mundo Grill during his shift as a fry cook, he feels compelled to investigate. Odd knows from long experience that the ominous spirits, which few others can see, are drawn to death and mayhem, and their presence in such large numbers surely heralds an approaching calamity.
Odd quickly finds himself in deep trouble while tracking a serial killer fanboy, who is apparently aware of every move Odd makes. Unfortunately the villain’s intended target is unclear, and to make matters worse, the fanboy killer is not working alone. Also, unfortunately, the conspirators go after the people Odd loves.
This riveting story quickly drew me in, and kept me on the edge of my seat with every page turned. Odd Thomas is a true hero; he doesn’t see himself as such, but he thinks nothing of placing himself in harm’s way to save the lives of others. The fatal flaw in Odd’s gift is that he can’t always tell immediately whether someone he sees is a ghost or the living, leaving a pall of uncertainty over his course of action in this story.
From Koontz’s descriptions of the ghosts and spirits Odd encounters, to the friendly and otherwise-normal nature of his protagonist, to the rich tapestry of secondary characters that surround Odd, the author presents a cast of heartwarming characters made all the more touching by the dangers that lurk around the corner.
This novel represents the best in paranormal thrillers, and I enthusiastically give it five stars.
Forty years after the release of the original movie, Laurie Strode, played once again by Jamie Lee Curtis, faces a final confrontation with her brother and nemesis, Michael Myers, played by Nick Castle.
This new version of Halloween begins with Michael escaping from the sanitarium where he has lived for most of his life so he can continue to kill. Laurie has survived when no one else has, and rather than fearing that Michael will come after her, Laurie actually is prepared and even eager to wage war on the psychopath who murdered their sister among many others. She will fight with everything she has to protect her family and stop Michael.
Michael Myers began his killing spree as a six year old child in the original theatrical release, Halloween (1978), when he murdered his sister Janet. Confined to a sanitarium for fifteen years, he escaped with only two goals in mind, to find his sister and to continue his murder spree. The next few movies weave a mysterious and horrifying mythology around the characters, culminating in a reboot of the series in 2007, with a sequel, Halloween II, in 2009.
This second reboot of the franchise that has sparked eleven movies to date, plus novels, comic books and video games, Halloween (2018), arrives in theatres next weekend. What a perfect way to get into the spirit of the season-just leave younger children with the sitter because this movie is rated “R” for violence and gore.
I remember long-ago nights when, accompanied by my siblings and friends, I walked through the streets of our neighborhood, dressed in an outlandish fashion and carrying a plastic jack-o-lantern. There were usually a few parents along for the trip, but we didn’t fear the night, because surely our large contingent of monsters could handle any truly scary denizens of the dark.
I remember the excitement I felt as a child as I chose a new identity, a new persona I would become, if only for one night. Simply by putting on different clothes, a mask, a wig or a hat, my mind was free to imagine, and I took advantage of the situation to act, to pretend, to become someone new.
Once our baskets were full and we had paid homage to every last house in sight that displayed a lit front porch light, it was time to return home, where our bounty could be inspected before we secreted it away, and removed our costumes and wigs, ready to be ourselves again.
It’s October, and as I wander the aisles of my favorite stores, the displays of colorful seasonal merchandise take me back to those treasured memories of my childhood. I’m not talking about the bountiful Christmas decorations that are often exhibited side-by-side with the other stuff, but rather those items strictly designed especially for the period that begins with the start of autumn and that we are usually ready to store, or dispose of, by Thanksgiving at the latest.
Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of the year, from the neighborhood camaraderie generated by the descending hordes of costumed children seeking sugar, to the imaginative and eye-catching displays some of our neighbors create to entertain, and to scare.
Halloween is one of the few excuses we adults get when it is socially acceptable (aside from Comic-con or Renaissance Fairs) for children and children at heart of all ages to become someone else for a little while. One simply needs to don a mask, and live out a fantasy. Pick up a wand or sword, and become a new character. Put on a costume, and revisit childhood and the world of let’s pretend.
Who would you choose to be if you could become someone else, temporarily? Would you choose to be your favorite character from a book, movie or television show? Would you choose an archetypal character like a generic vampire or pirate? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wander around or simply answer the door as a zombie, a werewolf, or a fairy godmother?
Let’s take this occasion to fantasize, to remember, to return to when life was filled with the joy of imagination. If you have the opportunity to attend a work or community event where you can dress up for a night, why not take advantage? Remember for a little while the joy that comes from such a freeing activity.
If you have children you can take door to door, or through the local mall for trick or treating, consider coordinating costumes with them. I have seen some really cute theme costumes in the past, where every member of a family became a character from The Wizard of Oz, or Star Wars, or Marvel.
Take pleasure in using your imagination. Even if you don’t go out, you always can dress up to hand out candy this year. You may find that you enjoy the thrill your guests get from seeing you as you answer the door. Whatever you choose to do this year, have fun. After all, that’s what Halloween is really all about.