The 2018 Halloweensie Contest WINNERS!!!

Somehow it is the 19th of November, and I’m sure you all know what that means!

It’s time to start getting ready for my long winter’s nap!

Yep.  Me and the bears.

Preparations are well underway!  We’re putting on our flannel jammies, getting out the fleece blankets and the down comforters, fluffing up the extra pillows, selecting which books warrant inclusion on the bedside table (or in the extra pile within reach on the floor), making sure the nightlight has a fresh bulb (because no one wants to come briefly to the surface at 1:37 AM on a cold night in January in utter, complete, and total darkness!), and negotiating for space with the dogs.  They are winning.  My portion of the sleeping quarters is currently 2 inches wide…

But we interrupt these proceedings for an important announcement from our sponsor!  Because it’s not quite nap time yet, and I have a sneaking suspicion there’s some interest in what I’m about to say… 🙂

As you are all aware by now, we had an amazing turnout for the Halloweensie Contest – 237 entries!  Golly gee willikers!!!

I was thrilled beyond measure to see so many wonderful stories and meet so many new writers!  And I don’t know about you guys, but the Halloweensie Contest always makes Halloween so much more fun for me!  I mean, fun-sized chocolate is fabulous on its own, but it’s even better with entertaining stories to read! 🙂

With large entry numbers come hard choices, though.  My assistant judges and I worked hard to winnow the total down to a manageable number of finalists that we felt were truly all-around deserving of that distinction, and those were the ones we presented to you on Thursday for your vote.

There were, however, many other entries that were outstanding in certain areas even though they might not have qualified all-around for one reason or another (one reason being that, at a certain point, we just had to stop adding finalists to the list! :))

So my assistant judges and I would like to award recognition and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:

1.  For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole: (all-around well-written stories we loved that just missed the finals for one small reason or another!)

Jenna Waldman for My Best Trick Yet (also great use of language!)

Mia Geiger for Guess Who?

Maile McCarthy for Halloween Banquet

Katie Engen for Pirate’s Halloween Mutiny

Pat Finnegan for Midnight Fright

Nannette Brophy Major for Fright Fight

Jennifer Raudenbush for Little Miss Halloween

Jean James for Tricks On You


2. For Best Ending Lines!:

Henry Herz for When Candy Goes Bad

Jim Chaize for Are You Sure?

Susan Valli for Eat Up Your Carrots!

Lauren Neil for Trick-Or-Sweet


3.  For Best Descriptive/Mood Piece:

Heather Kinser for Fearsome Brew

MaryLee Flannigan for The Gathering

Sarah Tobias for Dancing With The Night

Mary Ann Cortez for Halloween Party Scene

Laura Bower for The Halloween Ship


4.  For Great Use of Language: (not already in the finals)

Diana Gibson for Chef Crone


5. For Spookiest Entry: (not already in the finals)

Delfina Salimbene for The Dancing Figurine

Michael Neuenschwander for Full Moon Rising

Ella Hron, age 9, for Untitled


6. For Funniest Entry: (not already in the finals)

JC Kelly for No Bones About It


7. For Sweetest Entry: (not already in the finals)

Jessica Reiner-Harris for A Calm Halloween

Anne Bromley for Halloween Stew For Two

Joan Leotta for Wolfie’s Pumpkin


8.  For Unique Character: (not already in the finals)

Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez for Needed (MC is a lonely umbrella!)

Jill Lambert for The Candivore (MC is The Candivore)


9.  For Best Entry In Fewest Words! 🙂 :

Su Moon for Three Pig-Witches (47 words)

Michelle S. Kennedy for Halloween Haiku (11 words)

Anna Hron, age 11, for Untitled (13 words)


10. For A Little More Appealing For Grown-ups But Well-Written And Enjoyable!

Sherry Howard for Love Potion Number 9


Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories!  You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com subject line Prize Winner to collect your prize, which is your choice of one of the following: (the titles are all links so you can go see what they’re about.). If you choose a prize that must be snail mailed, please include your address in your email!

If you are age 11 or under and received Honorable Mention, you may choose any book on Amazon you’d like to read that is under $10 if you prefer that to the prizes listed below 🙂

For Kindle:

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

How To Query An Agent Or Editor: A Children’s Writer’s Insider Guide From Mentors For Rent by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Getting Published: How To Access Editors: A Children’s Writer’s Insider Guide From Mentors For Rent by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

The Easy Way To Write Picture Books That Sell by Robyn Parnell OR

Self-Publish Your Book: A Quick And Easy Step-By-Step Guide (Writing In A Nutshell Series Book 6) by Jessica Bell, OR

The Write Ideas Creative Writer’s Toolkit: A Genre-Spanning Box Set of Writing Prompts And Creative Exercises by Kate Krake

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi , OR

The Postitive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Attributes by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To City Spaces by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Personal And Natural Places by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone, OR

Writing In A Nutshell: Writing Workshops To Improve Your Craft (Writing In A Nutshell Series Book 4) by Jessica Bell, OR


Show And Tell In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Telling To Showing by Jessica Bell

The Six Senses In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Bleak To Bold Narrative by Jessica Bell OR

Adverbs And Cliches In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Subversions Of Adverbs & Cliches Into Gourmet Imagery by Jessica Bell OR

Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR

Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt, OR

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard


Magnetic Poetry – Little Box Of Awesome Kit – Words For Refrigerator


If you already have all these, or can’t decide, or want to build up your wish list fund:

A $5 Amazon Email Gift Certificate

Now then.  A word about the prizes before I announce the winners.

We have 11 fabulous prizes, generously donated by authors and various professionals in the writing field.  My policy is to let the first place winner have first pick of all the prizes, the second place winner have second choice, etc.  That way hopefully nobody gets something they already have, and hopefully everyone gets something that’s valuable to them.  All prizes are listed at the bottom of this post for your convenience in perusing the goodies 🙂 The reason there are 11 prizes for 10 places is because one of them can only go to an unagented unpublished writer and may therefore not qualify depending how things work out…



Onto the moment you’ve all been waiting for. . .

. . . the reason you got out of bed this morning. . .

. . .  in spite of shadows under your bleary eyes. . .

. . . and the candy corn that is stuck in your hair!!!

. . . THE WINNERS OF THE 2018 HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST as chosen by you, our esteemed voters!!!!!


In First Place, winner of the whole entire contest and top of the heap who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Jennifer Broedel


Stitchy Witchy Brew

Congratulations, Jennifer, on a fabulously written, entertaining entry that was all around well done and clearly very popular with judges and voters alike!!!

In Second Place,

Keatley Eastman


Belinda’s Broken Brew

Congratulations, Keatley, on a creative, wonderfully written entry with a great sense of humor! You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Jennifer chooses!

In Third Place,

Susie Sawyer

The Scariest Night Of The Year


Congratulations, Susie, on a beautifully written entry with great use of language that we all loved!  You made our hearts pound and included a nice message for kids!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Jennifer and Keatley choose!

In Fourth Place,

Kirsten Ealand
Halloween Prize

Congratulations, Kirsten, on a fun story with laugh-out-loud ending!  You get to pick a prize after Jennifer, Keatley, and Susie!

In Fifth Place,

Kelly Conroy
Witches’ Brew

Congratulations, Kelly, on your delightfully well written entry that cast the spell to begin Halloween!  You get to pick your prize after Jennifer, Keatley, Susie, and Kirsten!

In Sixth Place,

Kalee Gwarjanski


Dracula Wants Pie

Congratulations, Kalee, on your fun entry for younger readers! You get to pick your prize after Jennifer, Keatley, Susie, Kirsten, and Kelly!

Now… just to be difficult, there was a 4-way tie for Seventh Place and the remainder of the prizes!  I mention this because technically all four of the following entries received the same number of popular votes and should be thought of as having earned 7th place.  But for the sake of choosing prizes which a 4-way tie makes extremely difficult, the judges put their heads together and placed them 7th-10th. So…

In Seventh Place,

Debbie Day
Broken-down Broom

Congratulations, Debbie, who knew broomsticks required gasoline? 🙂 You get to pick your prize after Kelly!

In Eighth Place,

Charlene Taber
The “Wolf” At The Door

Congratulations, Charlene, for a beautifully written kid-friendly entry! You get to pick your prize after Debbie!

In Ninth Place,

Jen Bagan
Gordie Goblin’s Potion

Congratulations, Jen, on nice use of misdirection and cooking up something in the cauldron that no one else thought of 🙂   You get to pick a prize after Charlene…!

In Tenth Place

Linda Staszak
If You Can’t Beat Them…

Congratulations, Linda, on making us laugh at your opening line!  You get to prize pick after Jen.

And, I don’t think I need to remind anyone that in addition to all these fabulous prizes, everyone mentioned on this page has bragging rights as having won or placed in the Pretty Much World Famous Halloweensie Contest!  Not just anyone can say that 🙂

All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes!  Finalists who did not finish in the top 10 (Jennifer (Potion Commotion), Joy (Next Week), Laura (Monster Vacancy), and Debbie (The Halloween Shack)) may also contact me for their choice of the Kindle or paperback prizes listed above.  If you choose a prize that requires snail mailing, PLEASE include your snail mail address so we don’t have to email back and forth too many times 🙂

Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest.  You all deserve a huge round of applause, a confetti parade, and a large amount of chocolate cake 🙂

Thank you to everyone who helped make this contest SO MUCH FUN, whether by writing an entry, reading people’s stories, leaving comments for the authors, and/or voting in the finals, or by donating a prize!  It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!

And before we go, I will give you all advance warning so you can start planning a little time into your December schedule…

Assuming you guys are up for it – and you’d better let me know in the comments!!! – the 8th Annual Holiday Writing Contest will be coming up sometime in the neighborhood of December 7 so we can all fully enjoy it and still have time for last minute holiday things.  I will do my best to post the rules well in advance (maybe the Saturday after Thanksgiving, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise! 🙂 ) so you all have time to work on your stories!  But please let me know if you feel like it’s too much and you’d rather not do it!

Have a terrific weekend everyone, and thanks again for making the Halloweensie Contest such a wonderful time for all! 🙂

The Prizes:

(NOTE: There are 11 prizes listed for the 10 winners because one of them is only available to an unagented unpublished writer, so may not be applicable to all.)

Skip The Slushpile with Hannah Lambert, Senior Editor at Little Simon!!!

Hannah Lambert            Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 7.32.05 PM
The lucky winner of this prize will get to place the picture book manuscript of his/her choice directly into editor Hannah Lambert’s hands!  (FYI, Hannah is the editor of all 4 of my books in the WHEN YOUR… series.)  Hannah will read the manuscript and then send you an email to let you know she’s read your story.  She will include a brief mention of something she likes, and something you can work on. (Not a full critique.)  Of course what makes this prize so incredible is that if you send her a really, really good manuscript the dream could come true!  You’re putting your ms directly in front of a senior editor.  This is your chance! – knock her socks off! 🙂  And if your ms isn’t for her at this time, she will still know who you are should she see your work in future.  So good luck to whoever wins this!  Hannah is particularly interested in mss with a very low word count and/or board book potential, and always has an eye out for excellent holiday stories.
(with thanks to Tania Guarino for thinking up the idea of skipping the slush pile!)

PB MS Critique – from Cori Doerrfeld, author/illustrator of The Rabbit Listened, A New York Times Editor’s Choice, An Indie Next List pick, and A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018, and many other wonderful picture books including Penny Loves Pink, Little Bunny Foo Foo: The Real Story, and Good Dog.

0c24b-cori_bio_pic  Rabbit

PB MS Critique – from Heather Ayris Burnell, author of Bedtime Monster, Kick! Jump! Chop!: The Adventures of the Ninjabread Man, and the forthcoming Unicorn and Yeti books (an Acorn Chapter Book series). Heather is also the founder of SubIt Club

heather burnell  Kick Jump Chop

– PB MS Critique – from Melissa Stoller, author of Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush, Ready, Set, GOrilla, and the Enchanted Snow Globe Collection (a chapter book series)

Picture2     Picture1

15-30 Minute Your Questions Answered Phone Call – with Ryan Sias, author/illustrator of Go Greenie! Are You Eating Something Red?, Go Greenie! Are You Eating Something Green?, Balloon Toons: Zoe And Robot, Let’s Pretend, Sniff Sniff!, and the Woof And Quack beginning reader series (Green Light Readers) He has worked in animation, film, and television, including Sesame Street 🙂

Do you have questions about writing, revising, submitting, whether or not to try for an agent, what happens after the sale, or anything else publishing industry related?  If so, this is your chance to ask away and get answers from a professional!

85044-ryan_headshot   SniffSniffcover-300x300

Extra Entry into Writing With The Stars – Tara Luebbe (only for unagented, unpublished writer)


“Writing with the Stars is a mentorship opportunity for aspiring picture book writers and illustrators to win a free, three-month mentorship with a published author or author/illustrator. Mentors will help mentees further develop their craft and share invaluable advice and insight into the publishing world.” (~from the website)

Writers are allowed to enter 3 times, but the winner of this prize will get an extra 4th entry to this amazing writing mentorship opportunity!!!

 – 2-Pack of Personalized Signed Picture Books by the lovely and talented Tania Guarino, author of MEET THE QUACKERS (Spork, 2017) and GARDEN PARTY: A COUNTING ADVENTURE (Spork, 2018)
tania-guarino_1_orig Quackers Garden Party

a personalized signed copy of NOT SO SCARY JERRY by the wonderful and gifted Shelley Kinder

shelley-kinder_orig   Jerry



Surprise Bundle Of Books – assorted PBs, MGs, YAs  – generously donated by Elaine Kiely Kearns and  KidLit411

Yes You Can


Making A Living

Please join me again in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

75 thoughts on “The 2018 Halloweensie Contest WINNERS!!!

  1. Corine Timmer says:

    Congratulations to Jennifer 🎃 and all the other finalists and honorable mentions! Thanks to Susanna and the other judges for another fabulous contest.

  2. MD Knabb says:

    Wasn’t the Halloweensie Contest a blast! Congratulations to all the winners and everyone who entered. Thank you, Susanna and judges who spent so much time reading the terrific entries.

  3. Lucretia Schafroth says:

    Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you, Susanna, for all the time and effort you put into this very fun contest!

  4. Kelly says:

    I love the Halloweensie contest! Thanks so much, Susanna, and congratulations to Jennifer, the other finalists, the honorary mentions and everyone brave enough to enter!

  5. Diana Lynn Gibson says:

    Congratulations to all the winners, honorable mentions, and all the writers who entered this fun contest! And thank you to all the amazing prize contributors and judges, too! This was my first time entering a writing contest! I guess I didn’t understand the system of commenting as I thought the comments were from judges??? I didn’t want to clutter the blog! Silly me! Will change course next time around! Yes, Susanna, please continue with the December contest! The Halloweensie contest spurred my writing as I was in a writing “funk”. I’m looking forward to more contests!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      I’m so glad you had such a good time and found it inspiring, Diana! It IS great to be working alongside other writers and get to see how their stories turn out compared to yours! I hope the “funk” is over! 🙂

  6. Melissa Stoller says:

    Congratulations to everyone who entered the Halloweensie Contest! I loved reading all the entries! And I’m excited to be offering a PB critique as one of the prizes. Kudos to all the finalists, honorable mentions, and winners! And a HUGE thanks to Susanna for all her efforts with this contest and her contributions to our writing community. Looking forward to the holiday contest too! Xox

  7. authorlaurablog says:

    Susanna, you have inspired so many writers with your contests, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Would you read it Wednesday, and your Tuesday Debut posts!
    I read through the finalists for Halloweensie and was so impressed! It was hard to choose just one. Congratulations to all the winners!

  8. Jen Bagan says:

    Thank you so much, Susanna! I’m thrilled to be in the top 10 – and congrats to all of the other winners/finalists. Your contests always seem to come at a time when I really need some writing motivation and I so look forward to them. Count me in for the holiday contest and thank you SO much for all of the work you put into these! 🙂

  9. Sherry Howard says:

    Congratulations to all! Oh, Susanna, it can’t be time for Christmas yet! I still have Halloween mess!

    And PS to Susanna on the adult appeal: I knew that at the time, and couldn’t resist! So, thanks for the mention despite that!

  10. Jennifer Broedel (@JBroedelAuthor) says:

    WOW, thank you so much for this AMAZING honor! Susanna, I adore your holiday contests, and I’m absolutely delighted to have won. Congratulations to all competitors who have been featured here for their skilled work! This was a lot of fun, and now I’m starting the week off on a high note!!

  11. Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez says:

    Thank you for the honorable mention! Needed was inspired by a piece of art we have on our wall, featuring an umbrella it says, “If storms should come, then we shall dance in the rain!”

    Thank you for inspiring us all to keep writing! I’d love to try out the holiday contest, keep me on my creative toes!

    Special thanks to those of you who won, reading yours was so fun and gives me a guide helps me learn how to be better!

    Also, if anyone wants a PB giveaway of 100 Bugs! by Kate Narita, hop on over to my blog:

    Having a blast with all my new blog friends! Thank you all again and congrats at all

  12. Sylvia Howell says:

    Congratulations to EVERYONE who participated in thIs year”s Halloweensie contest!

    I loved reading all the clever entries. Well Done!

    Thank you to the judges, and Susanna for creating a delightful experience.

  13. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Congrats to all the winners, honorable mentions, judges, judges’ assistants, judges’ dogs, and everyone who participated in this fabulous extravaganza! It was a hoot once again this year. Thank you, Susanna and friends, for your most generous hearts. Cheers!

  14. Debora Hoffmann says:

    Congratulations to all the Halloweensie winners! Way to go! And Jennifer–I’m howling a big hooray for you! 🙂 Thank you, Susanna and team, for all your very hard work on the entire contest, stirring the cauldron of entries, and choosing the fabulous finalists. And of course thanks to those who are offering their time and expertise in the prizes for the winners! You rock! Now I’m shivering with eagerness to participate in the holiday writing challenge if you decide to do it this year. I’ll be watching your blog, Susanna! (91 words) 😉

  15. Keatley Eastman says:

    Wow, I was so thrilled just to be among the finalists in this contest full of amazing entries—what a (trick-or-) treat to wake up to today! Thank you Susanna for another year of great writing and hard work (especially on the part of the judges)!

  16. Patricia Finnegan says:

    Look at what you’ve done, Susanna! You’ve taken a solitary activity – writing – and turned it into a community of supportive friends. Thank you for devoting your time and effort to bringing us all together in such a fun and festive way!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! (And, YES! I would love to participate in a holiday contest.)

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      It makes me so so happy if you feel I’ve succeeded in that, Pat! Because that is always my hope. Happy Thanksgiving to you, and I’ll look forward to your holiday story… if I can just think up a good prompt! 🙂

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      It is SO hard, Keila! There are always so many entries we have to cut that are also good… and I always end up biting my nails and second-guessing! But in the end, I feel pretty good about the ones we pick for finalists 🙂

  17. Sarah Tobias says:

    I would love to do a holiday writing contest. I had a blast writing for this contest. Thank you for the honorable mention! Thank you to everyone who donated prizes for this contest. So much generosity in the writing community.

  18. yangmommy says:

    Congrats to EVERYONE, from writers & judges to readers & candy corn eaters 🙂 Personally, I love the challenges of writing a story in 100-w, although 125-w is more my thing 😉 Since Christmas is approaching fast, Susanna, have you ever considered a New Year’s story instead?? Gobble gobble everyone!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Congrats to you too, Jenny! And yes… I’ve gotten into a contest snarl. The fact that the Halloweensie contest ran behind puts it closer than it should be to the Holiday Contest, and the other one I do is Valentines… and then nothing the rest of the year! I keep thinking I should replace the Holiday Contest with something in May… but then I hate to stop running it because I’ve done it for 7 years and it’s an old friend 🙂

      • yangmommy says:

        Susanna, you sound like me when it comes to our annual Christmas party, LOL! We serve 8-10 handmade, fancy-schmancy appetizers to 40+ people, over the course of 2 hrs & it’s a ton of work. Last year we had 60 guests! It’s a lot of fun, but a heckaofalotta work. After 10 yrs, we’re taking a break this year & instead, hosting a Spring Fling party–now maybe this year I can attend Christmas galas instead of hosting 😉 Do what’s “write” for you–your heart will lead the way!

  19. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    I enjoyed reading each and every entry. Congrats to every contestant! These sweet treats made Halloween last longer and be more fun than ever.

  20. jeanjames926 says:

    Sorry I’m so late to this great news! Congratulations to all the winners, so well deserved. The stories were all excellent, and fun to read. Thanks for the honorable mention. Of course thank you Susanna, you make the holidays extra fun!

  21. Traci Bold says:

    Congratulations to all!! I am late in replying due to being in NYC to visit my daughter over Thanksgiving week. You all deserve a HUGE ROUND of applause for your wonderful stories.

    And Susanna,
    YES! please to the Holiday story. 🙂 Looking forward to writing a cool new story.

  22. Traci Bold says:

    Oops, I sent my comment before finishing it….

    To all of the judges and prize donors, and especially Susanna….Thank you for all you do for the kidlit community in spreading joy and encouragement; we all need a boost from time to time. Your continued support is appreciated more than we can say. Though as a tribute to all of you who give back, we can pay it forward as you all do.

    Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Bless you all ❤

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