It’s the end of October and writers know what that means. Halloween-sie time! At this time of the year author Susanna Hill hosts a writing contest. Participates submit a short story using 100 words or less in poetry or prose that must use specific vocabulary, for a chance to win prizes. This year the words are haunt, dark, and costume. Read my entry below, then click here to check out Susanna’s page for some delightful stories created by some amazing kidlit writers and writer-illustrators.
“What are you working on Boo?” asked Spooky.
“Tweaking this Fright-O-Meter I created after the haunt contest last year.” she said. “It measures scare responses.”
“Such a dark day losing to those deadbeat zombies.” said Spooky. “Let’s go to the mall to test it.”
Boo set the instrument to super scary. They used chain clangs, shrill shrieks, and windy woos to frighten shoppers. The machine flashed. Her invention worked.
“We’ll lose again over my dead body!” said Spooky.
Boo could see his spirit lift.
On Halloween night, they scared the pants off every human in costume winning 1st place. BOO-YAH!
Title: Los Gatos Black on Halloween
Written by: Marisa Montes
Illustrated by: Yuyi Morales
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (August 22, 2006)
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Los Gatos Black on Halloween is a spooky bilingual Halloween poem that introduces young readers to spooky Spanish words.
Amazon copy: Under October’s luna, full and bright, the monsters are throwing a ball in the Haunted Hall. Las brujascome on their broomsticks. Los muertos rise from their coffins to join in the fun. Los esqueletos rattle their bones as they dance through the door. And the scariest creatures of all aren’t even there yet!
Title: Bone Dog
Written/Illustrated by: Eric Rohmann
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (July 19, 2011)
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Bone Dog is a touching story that deals with the reality of death when a pet nears the end of life and makes a promise to his best friend.
Amazon copy: Gus doesn’t feel like doing much after his dog Ella dies. He doesn’t really even feel like dressing up for Halloween. But when Gus runs into a bunch of rowdy skeletons, it’s Ella–his very own Bone dog–who comes to his aid, and together they put those skeletons in their place. A book about friendship, loss, and a delightfully spooky Halloween.
Susanna Hill is hosting her 4th annual Halloweensie Contest. The rules are to write a Halloween story in 100 words or less including the words pumpkin, broomstick and any variation of creak. Easy, say you? NOT! But I gave it a go. Here’s my entry using 99 words. Enjoy.
Hildy’s Halloween Ride
BAM! Hildy moaned. She picked up her hat, and put it back on. Then holding on to the broomstick once more, Hildy lifted her left foot on top of a pumpkin and carefully raised her right foot up and over. She tried to balance but wobbled. Then suddenly – SNAP!
“Owww-eee.” groaned Hildy.
Hildy’s heart raced. The witches will want to take off soon. She pointed her wand at the broken pieces. Nothing happened. The book of spells might work but she hadn’t yet learned to read. Then the door creaked open.
“Mooooom!” shouted Anna. “Hildy ruined my costume!”
Title: Ghosts for Breakfast
Written by: Stanley Todd Teraski
Illustrated by: Shelly Shinjo
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc. 2002
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: Japanese culture, immigration, ghosts, community, cultural awareness
Brief Synopsis: Neighbors fear there are ghosts in the fields where they farm. A man and his young son go out to prove otherwise.
Opening pages: “PON! PON! PON!
The pounding at the door shattered my family’s peaceful evening
PON! PON! PON!
Who could it be at this time of night? I saw Mama’s puzzled look as Papa opened the door a crack and peered out.
“Ah, Papa delighted, “”The Troubelsome Triplets.”
Why I like this book: Set in a farming town during the 19th century when Japanese families immigrated to the west coast, this story is about how a father and son tackle fear of ghosts that their neighbors are convinced are real..
For more book reviews see author Susanna Hill’s page, Perfect Picture Book page.
Title: Shy Mama’s Halloween
Written by: Anne Broyles
Illustrated by: Leane Morin
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers; (August 1, 2000)
Age Range:4 and up
Themes/Topics: holiday, courage, shyness, immigration, cultural awareness
Brief Synopsis: Anya and her sisters want to go trick or treating in their new neighborhood. Their papa agreed to take them but now he’s sick. Their shy mother overcomes her fear of all things new and experiences her first Halloween.
Why I like this book: A nice story about the holiday seen through the eyes of immigrants new to the United States.
Resources: See the author’s site for a teacher’s guide.
Susanna’s contest rules:
The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words spooky, black cat, and cackle. Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words (you can count black cat as one word) and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!) Get it? Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂 [Note: of you choose to use cackle as a verb, any form is acceptable – cackles, cackled, cackling…]
Here’s my submission…hope you enjoy!! Let me know what you think.
The House on Spooky Lane
There was one house on a hill at the end of Spooky Lane. The windows were cracked, the door crooked and the paint chipped.
“A witch lives in that house.” announced Josh. “Her loud cackles heard every Halloween.”
“Let’s go back!” begged Emma.
“Let’s go to that house.” urged Josh. “You wanted to come and Mama said to stay with us.”
Suddenly Emma’s dog broke off leash to chase a black cat, the kids followed.
When they got to the house, they found the dog. The house was vacant.
“I want to come back next year!” exclaimed Emma.