I apologize for the fact that I am behind schedule posting the finalists. I know you are all waiting. I did not anticipate 324 entries or I would have given myself and the other judges more time. We will do our best to have the finalists posted by tomorrow or Saturday.
Lizard toes and dragon scales! It’s time for . . .
The 9TH Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!
~ for children’s writers ~
The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words potion, cobweb, and trick. Your story can be scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words 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 🙂 (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge! We got over 235 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!) Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. potions, cobwebbed, trickery, whathaveyou 🙂 NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )
Post: your story on your blog between right now this very second and Thursday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below (not your blog’s main url because if you post again after your entry during the dates of the contest, the judges will find the wrong post!) There will be no Tuesday Debut, Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy. If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section below (please include your byline! If your posting handle is something like MamaWritesByNightlight I can’t identify you.) If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you. Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS! And please do not submit entries before the start of the contest! Please submit your entry only ONCE! If you add it to the blog link list, and the comments, and email me to post it, things get very confusing! I try to stay as glued to my desk as possible, but sometimes I have to get up so if I don’t respond to your email or approve your post immediately, don’t panic! I’ll get to it as soon as I can!
The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the coming days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to
3 6 9 12? top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with winnowing, so we’ll see!) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 4th (if the judging takes longer than we expect if could be later…but we will do our best!) The winner will be announced on Thursday November 7th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂 )
Judging criteria will be as follows:
- 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
- 2. Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
- 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂 Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
- 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc. If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂 Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
- 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
- 6. PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS! Large numbers of entries make it easy to cut entries that haven’t been entered as we asked.
The Prizes: SO AMAZING! What a generous community we have to donate so much awesomeness!!! 🙂
Go Directly To Go! Skip The Slushpile at Blue Whale Press and Get Your PB Manuscript Directly On The Editor’s Desk!!!
Submit your picture book manuscript directly to editor Alayne Christian for her consideration and critique. Helpful feedback is a certainty, publication could be a possibility!
Blue Whale Press is an SCBWI PAL publisher of children’s books that focuses on stories involving themes of friendship and/or personal challenge. Most often, stories are selected for publishing due to their inherent educational or moral value. But as a general rule, a good dose of humor or a tug at the heart doesn’t hurt their chances of being published either. While a few chapter books and a middle grade are on their list, their focus is picture books. As a boutique publisher who doesn’t mind taking risks, Blue Whale Press considers itself to be a launch pad for authors and illustrators hoping to establish themselves.
For more info: https://www.bluewhalepress.com/
Hone Your Skills with the Lyrical Language Lab Rhyme & Meter Self Study Crash Course (11 Lessons) from accomplished writer and poet Renee LaTulippe
INTENSIVE RHYME AND METER CRASH COURSE
This option contains all the same lessons as Module 1 of Renee’s fully guided course, including all supplemental materials, downloads, and audio/video components. This is the option to choose if you need to build a strong foundation in the mechanics of rhyming picture books and poetry. The major focus is on the four main types of meter and how to use mixed and varied meter. Other topics include rhythm, cadence, breath, scansion, rhyme, sound devices, figurative language, imagery, and diction.
You also have the opportunity to submit two of your assignments to Renee for feedback, and have email access to ask questions about the lessons as you complete them. Although lessons will arrive every other day, you are free to complete them at your own pace.
See the course description above for more information.
For more info: https://www.reneelatulippe.com/writing-courses/ (scroll down)
Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming, Non-Rhyming, Fiction, or Nonfiction – Vivian is open to any type of picture book critique) from Vivian Kirkfield author of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN (Pomegranate 2019), MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD (Little Bee, January 14, 2020), and more…
Nonfiction Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Christine Evans, author of EVELYN THE ADVENTUROUS ENTOMOLOGIST (Innovation Press, September 2019)
Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Carrie Finison, author of DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS and DON’T HUG DOUG, forthcoming from Putnam in August 2020 and Spring 2021.
Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming please) from Janet Johnson author of HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS (Capstone, March 2020) as well as the MG novel THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB & J SOCIETY (Capstone 2016)
Fiction OR Nonfiction Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming please) from Darshana Khiani, author of HOW TO WEAR A SARI forthcoming from HMH/Versify, Spring 2021
Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming please) from Gabi Snyder, author of TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE, forthcoming from Abrams Appleseed, May 2020 and LISTEN, forthcoming from S&S/Wiseman, Spring 2021
Query Letter Critique from Dee Romito, author of PIES FROM NOWHERE: HOW GEORGIA GILMORE SUSTAINED THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT (Little Bee Books, 2018) as well as several middle grade books.
Book Bundle #1 – Nonfiction
Signed Copies of WAITING FOR PUMPSIE (Charlesbridge, 2017) and THE BOO-BOOS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (Charlesbridge, 2018) by Barry Wittenstein
and JURASSIC RAT (Spork, June 2019) by Eleanor Ann Peterson.
Book Bundle #2 – Board Books
Personalized Signed Copies of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (both Amicus Ink, 2019) by Julie Abery
Book Bundle #3 – Holiday Books
Personalized signed copy of NOT SO SCARY, JERRY (Spork, 2017) by Shelley Kinder
Personalized signed copy of THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE (Albert Whitman, 2018) by Nancy Churnin
The Night Baafore Christmas (WorthyKids 2019) by Dawn Young
Please join me 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, recommending them for school visits, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂
Now then, my pretties! It’s past the witching hour in the dead of night – very appropriate for a Halloween story, don’t you think? – and the time has come for my sample entry (which I seriously almost did not get done!) I seem to have developed a bad habit of having editorial deadlines that land in the middle of these contests, so I freely own up to the fact that I way exceeded the word count because I simply didn’t have time to make it shorter. My apologies for totally cheating! It’s not even like it’s any good as a result… but it does come to a sort of an ending😊 If nothing else, it should fill you with confidence in your own MUCH MUCH better efforts!!!
(so many words I’m not even writing it down!😊)
Costumes, make-up, pounding feet
Rushing out to trick-or-treat.
Almost at the farmyard gate
Witch Lucinda hollers, “Wait!
In this Halloween commotion
I forgot my poison potion!”
Sets her plastic pumpkin down.
“Go ahead! We’ll meet in town!”
Grabs her potion. Comes back quick.
But someone’s played an awful trick!
Her pumpkin pail, left on the ground,
Has disappeared and can’t be found!
Nevermind. A bag will do.
The witch zooms off to join her crew.
But halfway down the old farm road
She sees a sight that stops her cold.
In the shadows of the night
Glides a shape of ghostly white
Issuing an eerie moan
That makes Lucinda RUN for home!
Ghost flies past her fleeing faster
Surely this will be disaster!
Stops short at the barnyard fence.
Suddenly it all makes sense.
Head stuck in her pumpkin pail
Covered in a cobweb veil,
This is not a scary ghost!
Just a foolish baby goat!
Never say I’m not willing to embarrass myself for you! 😊😊😊 That is true love!😊
I can’t wait to read all of your entries! I’m so looking forward to them! I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier! And there are still nearly 4 days to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet. Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well. And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc. The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!
Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the google form below so we can all come read your awesome stories! (Post-specific means not your main blog url, but the actual url of the post that has your story in it – otherwise if you post again before the contest ends, your link will take readers… and judges!… to the wrong place!)
Eager Readers – just go along the list of links, click on them, and enjoy the stories!
Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! 🙂 🎃
1,293 thoughts on “The 9th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!!!”
The Count’s Haunted Mansion
by: Dawn Shea
Branches tapping on my pane
Wind is howling down the lane
Jack-o-lanterns smile through rain
It must be Halloween!
Witches cackle round my fire
Brewing potion to inspire
Ghoulish guests get stuck in mire
It must be Halloween!
Ghosts soar quickly through my halls
Like cobweb-coated floating balls
Haunting all who touch these walls
It must be Halloween!
Trick-or-treaters trudge through cold
Donning costumes new and old
Ring my bell? They’ve not been told…
This Haunted Mansion’s just been sold
To a Count you dare not scold
A vampire who buys goods with gold
Count Dracula of old!
Very fun! Good luck!
Love the cob-web coated balls! Hehe!
Well done. Love the rhythm of this piece.
A very Halloween-y story. Nice!
This one is fun to read aloud. I like “Trick-or-treaters trudge through cold.”
by Chandra Mayer
“Ring the doorbell,” Ryder said, stopping on the sidewalk. The biggest, darkest house on the street stood before them.
“Your idea,” Miles replied. “You do it.”
“It sure looks creepy,” Ryder said. A dim light shone through the curtains, cobwebs streaming across the porch.
“That how all haunted houses look,” Miles said.
“It’s not haunted,” Ryder said. “And your tricks aren’t funny!”
“See for yourself,” Miles said.
“I need a magic potion for bravery.” Ryder knocked. The porch door swung open to reveal… an empty candy bowl.
“Haunted!” Miles said. “We’re the first ones here, and there’s no candy left!”
Oh no, no candy! The horrors! Good luck!
Ah man! No candy! This spells disaster!
Sylvia Howell Susannah Hill’s Halloweensie, 2019
Syl.firstname.lastname@example.org Must use: cobweb, trick, potion
Word Count = 94
Why They Are My Ex-Friends
It’s Halloween night. My ex-friends dared me to join them in a graveyard for a game of hide-
and-seek. “Hide your eyes”, they said, “and count to 50.” While I was counting, they slipped
away. I’m out here, with only cobwebs and gravestones for company.
“NOT al-o-o-o-o-ne! Grim-m-m-mly’s he-e-e-r-e. Come t-o-o-o-o our party? N-o-o-o- tricks, like your’e frien-n-n-ds.
“No, thanks. I need to get home FAST! I’ll run along, now.”
“Drink this potion, it’s fas-s-s-ster.
“Grimly, Let’s play hide and seek. You hide your eyes and count to 50.”
“One, two-o-o-o . . . I’ll miss-s-s-s-s-s yo-o-o-o-ou.”
I submitted this entry again. The formatting on this one is so bad. Begging forgiveness. I would remove the entry if I knew how. Thanks!
It looked the same to me… I just deleted one of them p the story is the same, yes?
nice story, Sylvia
I love the title, Sylvia, and the great mood-setting. Also, the mc’s clever hide-and-go seek escape!
Fishy Witchy’s Halloween Treat
By Shelley Kinder (100 words)
Fishy Witchy, by the ocean,
mashes seaweed into potion,
sets some candy on a tray,
as trick-or-treaters make their way.
Cobwebs, pumpkins, deepest black
cover Witchy’s humble shack.
Seagulls cry from far away.
Suddenly, they’re ON her tray,
thieving candy left and right,
swooping down, then back to flight!
They steal more treats, snatch her hat.
Witchy ISN’T cool with that!
She finds a few more things to brew.
Shark tooth, toad, and worm will do.
A little stir, a pinch of brine.
ALL the seagulls come to dine!
Isn’t it so VERY handy
when pesky seagulls turn to candy?!?
That’s awesome! I love the beach theme!
Thanks, Michelle 🙂
I love the setting, and the ending!
Thanks, Katrina. I loved making seagulls the bad guys. LOL.
definitely original with the beach theme and great ending
Thanks so much, Linda!
Fun story and pleasant to read aloud. Great ending!
Very funny! But what do candied seagulls taste like? Good luck!
Hmmm…good question 🙂 Maybe like Swedish Fish?
ENTRY POSTED FOR MICHELLE
The Thud in the Cellar (WC- 94)
By Michelle S. Kennedy
I skipped Halloween this year. I thought I’d get some sleep.
When suddenly, a “thud” was heard as I was counting sheep!
I tip-toed to the cellar floor to follow the commotion.
The thud I heard was now a roar. I wished for courage potion!
Darkness all around me, a cobweb ‘tween my toes!
Was this a trick? I’m feeling sick! The dread inside me rose.
“SURPRISE!” they giggled with delight as I flicked on the light.
“Happy Halloween!” they screamed. And, “Happy Birthday too!”
“We couldn’t let you sleep without a scary rendezvous!”
Fun! Nice twist with the Halloween birthday. 🙂
Katrina- Thanks so much!
Cute story with a fun, happy ending. I enjoyed reading it aloud.
Very fun! Love your rhyme! Good luck!
That’s a good twist to start…skipping Halloween.🎃
Great idea, Michelle! Love the scary rendezvous at the end! You are going for a Halloweensie record!
Fun idea. Good Luck. I can also see this as a counting board book.
I love the sweet ending!
Very cute, and a little bit scary! Great rhymes!
The surprise is real. You expertly build the tension and suspense and treat us to a truly happy Halloween (and birthday!) ending. @AnneLipton
ENTRY POSTED FOR STEPHANIE
A MOMster’s WARNING (62 words!)
By Stephanie Shaw
She grumbles as the cauldron bubbles.
Sniffs the air for signs of troubles.
Breathes the steam that rises up.
Pours the potion in a cup.
She craves this brackish liquid trick
To clear the cobwebs– gauzy, thick.
Drinks it down. The magic’s there.
She is transformed from foul to fair.
“Beware” is my advice to you
Until I’ve had my morning brew.
Isn’t that the truth?! Love it!
I know a lot of Mom-sters like her! Good luck!
Fun! I relate. This one sounds great read aloud, too.
Yes! Lol! 😂
Very clever idea!
Love this a latte! Amazing that you were able to brew up such a strong (and rhyming!) story in only 64 words. @AnneLipton
ENTRY POSTED FOR ERIN
An Un-afraid by Erin Fleming
Not everything is as it seems-
this little ghost is scared of screams.
On All Hallows’ Eve she hides in fright,
‘til someone whispers, “It’s alright!
On Halloween we can be anything we want, you see?”
“Then, I’ll be An Un-afraid,” she says,
lifting up her ghostly head,
heading forward towards a door
(one that gave her chills before);
She walks with confident emotion
past the witches brewing potion,
braves cobwebs on the porch,
flashlight acting as a torch,
knocks and smiles, not so meek,
preparing words she’s longed to speak.
Rhythmically with her heart beat,
Halloween can be scary, even for ghosts. I’m glad she gained enough confidence in the end to join in the fun.
Nice for the ghost to summon up some courage! Good luck!
So many little ones feel just this way! Well done.
Aw, perfect story idea! A scaredy-ghost with transformational growth!
Lovely and sweet!
Go, little ghost! Love the double twist of this story! @AnneLipton
ENTRY POSTED FOR VANESSA
Witch’s Halloween Party
by Vanessa Cain
One black kettle filled with potion.
Stir that brew in a circle motion.
A yummy smell. A gurgling sound.
Simmering bubbles are nice and round.
One pointy hat with three black sides
My broom sweeps cobwebs and goes on rides.
Orange pumpkin winks with triangle eyes,
A flickering candle makes him look wise.
One group of friends gather on the town square,
walk four straight lines in the autumn air.
I set the table, fill a box with sweets
The doorbell rings. “Trick or Treat!”
Just on time. Not one is tardy.
Welcome to my Halloween party!
Sounds like a fun party! Good luck!
What a great shape story! With its fun Halloween theme and numerous STEM elements, this could make for a fabulous PB! @AnneLipton
Good luck with this! Personally, I’m never ready till the doorbell rings, I can relate!
What a sweet story!
What a great name for a spider. Good luck!
So sorry, Susanna. Both my links are broken. I think I have the date wrong on one – Marcy and Her Magic Book, and misspelled my blog name (!!) on the other story – A Witchy Halloween Spelling Bee. http://storydribbles.wordpress.com
Is it time! Is it time!
Drat, it is only Tuesday!!
It’s not going to be time for a while, Matthew. Sorry! SO. MANY. ENTRIES! Tough decisions!
Ha ha! I love toad’s clever way of saving his skin. Great surprise ending! Good luck!
Wow, almost 100 more entries compared to last year! I don’t know how you do it Susanna! Best of luck to all entrants!
Congratulations on creating such a popular contest! No apologies necessary. Thanks for update!