3 Tips for Writing a Halloween Story

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Yesterday I read Rayne Hall’s Fiction University Post, 13 Tips for Writing a Halloween Story. Not surprisingly, I thought of several additional tips for kid specific slants.

Turn Tradition Sideways

Halloween makes a great setting for a story largely because once you mention it, people are conjuring up a set of stock images – spooky graveyards, haunted houses, and gothic mansions.

Take these traditions and shake things up to create your own story. Instead of being spooky, the graveyard is festive and fun as young ghosts flit from crypt to crypt shouting “Trick or Treat.” What kind of trick would a ghost play on other ghosts.

We think of Halloween as cold and dark. But what about October 31 in the Southern Hemisphere? What would happen if a zombie ended up south of the Equator for Halloween?

It Doesn’t Have to be a Ghost Story

Whether you are writing a picture book or a young adult novel, it doesn’t have to be scary. I’m currently listening to a Halloween romantic comedy. There may be a haunting but even when the hero nearly gets crushed by a statue of his ancestor it is much more funny than creepy.

You can use Halloween as your background for a story of any genre. Don’t be afraid to play around. Write humor or science fiction.

Draw on Your Childhood

Even while you contemplate the world of possibilities, don’t be afraid to draw on your own childhood for your story problem. Maybe your character doesn’t want to wear the costume that four older siblings have worn. My sister was not thrilled to be presented with my witch costume. A certain other person I know what much less excited to be sibling #3 presented with a bumble bee costume.

Yes, a bumble bee.

My friend’s daughter has tree nut allergies. Another family friend was terrified of Halloween decorations long before she could understand what they were. My son had a tendency to make up strange Halloween costumes. One year he was a fire ghost. Another year he was haunted homework.

Love it or hate it, Halloween is sure to conjure up a few story ideas if you give it a chance.