The 2020 Halloweensie Contest WINNERS!!!

Hello there, my pretties!

I don’t usually get to see you on Mondays!

Especially at this hour when it is WAY past bedtime!

(Shhhh! Don’t tell your mamas!)

But I’m so glad you’re here.

If you’ll all just snuggle up among the pillows, we’ll get right to story time.

Milk and cookies?


Once upon a time last week, five little skeletons floated down the Halloweensie River in a hollowed out pumpkin.

As they floated they sang:

“Row, row, row your gourd
Gently down the stream,”
“Toss your noggin overboard. . .”

That was the end of the song because their singing parts were all under water!

They fished their skulls back out with their femurs.

Hahahahaha! they all laughed merrily.

“Whose idea was that?” asked one.

“I don’t know,” said another. “We haven’t got a brain between us!”

This was true.

And probably the reason why they decided to play that game again!

And again. . .

. . . and again.

The End.

Wasn’t that a heartwarming story?

I hope you all enjoyed it!

Thank you for coming to story time! I hope you’ll join me again next week when we’ll read all about the five little potatoes who ran away so they wouldn’t be mashed for Thanksgiving! Even though they didn’t have a leg to stand on. (Sorry 😊)


Bye now.


* * * * * * *

* * * * * * *

* * * * * * *


You’re still here?

I told you only one story tonight since it’s already past bedtime.

Were you expecting something else?

Maybe something like. . .

The 10 Annual Halloweensie Contest WINNERS? !!!!!!!

Okay. You’ve twisted my radius, ulna, and humerus 😊

Turns out you’ve come to the right place because it just so happens that I know how it all turned out!

As you are all aware by now, we had an amazing turnout for Halloweensie 2020 – 289!!! entries!  (And did I use “turn out” enough times in the last two sentences?? 😊) 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 for me Halloween is all the better for 289 fabulous stories to read by jack -o’ – lantern light! 😊☢️

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 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!)

Jennifer Broedel for Boneyard Ballet (also great use of language!)

Kristen Foote for A 2020 Halloween Bash

Claire Schlinkert for Not-So-Happy Halloween

Rhett Trull for Lightning And A Mask Of Stars (also nice use of language)

2. For Great Writing and Use of Language: (not already in the finals)

Carrie Karnes-Fannin for The Trash Bandit

Rebecca Allain for The Maple Tree Fright

3. For Spookiest/Creepy Entry: (not already in the finals)

Andrew Hacket for A-Huntin’ (yikes!)

Meghan Wallace for The Haunted House Dare

Kelly Swemba for The House That No One Visits

Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf for A Cat-astrophic Halloween

(A Yogi Is Born – no author identified) for Pumpkin Jack

4. For Excellent Story Telling from 8-and-under Writers!

Autumn Haley for The Night Stacy Saved Halloween

Lea Boyd for Beware Of Skeletons

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

E. Elle Bea for Final Moments

Barbara Di Marco for The Attic Mask

Mary Bleckwehl for Class Pet Trickery! (great ending 😊)

6. For Great Read For Younger Readers: (not already in the finals)

Nicole Loos Miller for Pumpkin Hunt

Kristy Nuttall for The Itsy Bitsy Skeleton

Ashley Congdon for A-Z: Who’s Behind Me?

Linda Staszak for The Skele-Mummy

Sarah Meade for Skeleton Ring

Beth Volkmann for Halloween Hesitation

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 (and I have to be cryptic here because when I said it right out last year I got a LO-HO-HOT! of spam email!) a gift of a number of dollars that is between 4 and 6, for a large and well-known online store that begins with A, which will be presented to you in an email 😊 You can spend it on one of the many Kindle choices listed in previous contests here, or add to your account for a gift for yourself or someone else, or whatever else you might choose to do! In addition, you will receive a beautiful badge of achievement that you may display on your blog or print out and frame or turn into a flag to carry with you everywhere and wave out the window of your pumpkin 😊

A word about the prizes before I announce the winners.

We have 12 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 🙂



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

. . . the reason you rowed your pumpkin gently down the stream to get here even though it is past your bedtime. . .

. . . THE WINNERS OF THE 2020 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…

Helen Ishmurzin


Marine Halloween

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

In Second Place,

Ginny Neil


The Eletonks

Congratulations, Ginny, on a clever, entertaining, well written, kid friendly entry. You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Helen chooses!

In Third Place,

Lisa Perron
Trick Or Teeth

Congratulations, Lisa, on your cleverly spun tale of the Tooth Fairy’s halloween!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Helen and Ginny choose!

In Fourth Place,

Heather Kinser
A Scare A Skull A Skeleton

Congratulations, Heather, on a fun story with a creative format and a wonderful read-aloud rhythm.  You get to pick a prize after Helen, Ginny, and Lisa.

In Fifth Place,

Hollie Wolverton
A Hollow Halloween

Congratulations, Hollie, on making us laugh at just how frustrating it must be for a skeleton to eat candy!  You get to pick your prize after Helen, Ginny, Lisa, and Heather.

In Sixth Place,

Deb Sullivan
A Night Out. . .

Congratulations, Deb, on your clever, fun and creative entry! You made us laugh out loud at your ending 😊 You get to pick your prize after Helen, Ginny, Lisa, Heather, and Hollie!

In Seventh Place,

Keatley Eastman
Bones: A Love Story

Congratulations, Keatley, on your delightful Halloween love story, so well written with such great rhythm and rhyme and use of language! You get to pick your prize after Deb!

In Eighth Place,

Crystal Lamb
The Brown, Brown Boots On The Cold, Cold Floor

Congratulations, Crystal, on your creatively written, suspenseful story that was just right for young readers! You get to pick your prize after Keatley!

In Ninth Place,

Tracy Curran
The Skeleton Creep

Congratulations, Tracy! We really enjoyed your playful story with its clever punchline! 😊  You get to pick a prize after Crystal…!

In Tenth Place

“Boo Darkling” (Roo Parkin)
Hola Halloween!

Congratulations, Roo, on your sun-loving skeleton and your wonderful inclusion of Day of the Dead!  You get to prize pick after Tracy!    

In Eleventh Place

Sarah Hawklyn
Halloween Surprise 

Congratulations, Sandy, we loved your little Jojo, disappointed by COVID but still able to celebrate Halloween after all! 😊  You get to pick a prize after Roo.    

In Twelfth Place

Marla Yablon
Trick Or Treat  

Congratulations, Marla, on a delightfully creepy story!  Eek! 😊  You get to pick your prize after Sarah!    

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!  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 🙂  If you would like a beautiful certificate to celebrate your accomplishment, you are most welcome to one!

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 truckload of  leftover fun-sized chocolate. . . if there is any 😊

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 10th 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 a few days before Thanksgiving, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise! 😊 although yikes that’s just around the corner!) 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 Monday everyone, (or actually, I guess by the time most of you read this it will be Tuesday!) and thanks again for making the Halloweensie Contest such a wonderful time for all! 🙂

The Prizes:  SO AMAZING! What a generous community we have to donate so much awesomeness!!! 😊

1 – Get Your MS in Tip Top Shape With Vivian Kirkfield!

Vivian is offering a PB MS Critique (fiction or nonfiction/rhyming or prose), along with a 30 minute Skype or FB video chat to discuss, along with a read-through of the revision. And top it all off she will also help you with a query/cover letter edit to go with your polished up ms! WOW!

Vivian Kirkfield is the 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…

Making Their Voices Heard Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 10.39.16 PM

2 – Penny’s Two Cents – an incredible opportunity for any picture book writer!

Sometimes it’s helpful to chat with a published author about your writing journey. Penny Parker Klostermann is offering her two cents. The prize includes General/Big-Picture Feedback on one picture book manuscript + One 30-Minute Chat (Rhyming or prose-750 words or under) Penny doesn’t claim to have it all figured out, (by any means) but she’s happy to share her two cents based on what she’s learned and continues to learn on her journey as an author.

Penny is the author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) (now available in board book and with matching pajamas! 🙂 ) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)

Penny Klostermann Cooked-Up Fairy Tale 2c5b9-dragon2bcover

3 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyme or prose) from Carrie Finison, author of DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS (Putnam, July 2020) and DON’T HUG DOUG (forthcoming from Putnam in January 2021.)

Carrie-Finison-200x300 Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 8.35.37 AM Don't Hug Doug

4 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lydia Lukidis, author of NO BEARS ALLOWED (Blue Whale Press 2019) and many educational titles.

Lydia Lukidis        No Bears Allowed

5 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction or nonfiction) from Teresa Robeson, author of Queen of Physics (Sterling, 2019) and Two Bicycles In Beijing (Albert Whitman, 2020)

Picture Picture Picture6

6 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirsti Call author of The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall (Mazo Publishing, January 2019),  Mootilda’s Bad Mood (Little Bee, September 2020), as well as COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) which will release in 2021.

  Kirsti Call

7 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018), and HAYFEST A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press 2010)

Ellen Leventhal       Don't Eat The Bluebonnets

Hayfest     Lola Can't Leap

8 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Heather Gale, author of Ho’onani Hula Warrior (Tundra Books, October 2019)

Heather Gale

9 – a personalized signed copy of The King Cake Baby  and 15 Minute “Ask Me Anything” Video Chat with Keila Dawson, author of The King Cake Baby (Pelican 2015), No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History (Charlesbridge 2020), and Opening The Road: Victor Hugo Green and His Green Book (forthcoming from Beaming Books, January 2021)

Keila Dawson

10 – Making Picture Book Magic Self Study – an online picture book writing class – any month of winner’s choice!


11 – a personalized signed copy of EITHER  ROCK AND ROLL WOODS (PB) or an ARC of SPIRITS AMONG US (MG) from author Sherry Howard

Sherry Howard (4)Cover Rock and Roll Woods Spirits Among Us

AND a personalized signed copy of TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE (Abrams Appleseed, May 2020) by Gabi Snyder

twodogsonatrike_cov gabi-snyder-profile-pic

12 –  a personalized signed copy of NOT SO SCARY, JERRY (Spork, 2017) by Shelley Kinder

Jerry shelley-kinder_orig

AND a personalized signed copy of MARS’ FIRST FRIENDS: COME ON OVER ROVERS! (Sourcebooks 2020) by Susanna Leonard Hill

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 😊


22 thoughts on “The 2020 Halloweensie Contest WINNERS!!!

  1. Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:

    Thank you Susanna, judges, and prize donors. I would participate in the Holiday Contest. Your contests and challenges are always very helpful to spark some ideas.

  2. viviankirkfield says:

    Congratulations to all of the contestants for putting your work out there – I know it may sound corny…but you are all winners because you did the work of a writer! Kudos to the winners – I see a lot of familiar names…and I’m thrilled, as Susanna said, to see a lot of new names as well! Thank you so much to the judges…and of course, to Susanna…organizing a contest like this is a HUGE amount of work…WE LOVE YOU, SUSANNA!

  3. ptnozell says:

    Congratulations to all of the winners (those named and those who particitpated in the contest by crafting a story) & thanks to the prize donors, judges, and especially you, dear Susanna, for a much-needed holiday diversion.

    And did someone mention a holiday contest? Yes, please!

  4. ejessmurray says:

    Congrats, all! These stories were tons of fun! I second the calls for a holiday contest, assuming you have the bandwidth, Susanna:) And a thanks to all the readers, judges, participants. It’s inspiring and motivating to see all of these stories coming out of a great community.

  5. rosecappelli says:

    Congratulations to all the winners! All of the stories were such fun to read and so well done. Judges, you did a remarkable job. I very much enjoy the contests and am always up for a challenge, but I do understand how different this year feels. But, if there is a contest, I’ll be there. Thanks for all you do to support writers, Susanna!

  6. Marla Yablon says:

    Congratulations to everyone! This was so much fun. Thanks to all the judges for all your hard work and especially to Susanna for organizing everything. I’m up for another contest if you are. Finally, thanks to all the prize donors for your support and generosity.

  7. Judy Sobanski says:

    Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you Susanna and all the generous prize donors. So fun to read through the entries! Looking forward to the Holiday writing challenge next!

  8. jillburns7 says:

    Congratulations to all the winners and honorable mentions! Great job, everyone. Also enjoyed your heartwarming story, Susanna!

  9. Dawn Young says:

    Thank you Susanna for working hard to make this happen! Congratulations to all of the winners! If you submitted a story, you are a winner in my book. A special Thank You, to our generous writing community that donated prizes. You are Rock Stars!
    Can’t wait for the Holiday Contest.💛

  10. Diantha Litwer says:

    Susanna, thank you for running these contests! They motivate me to write and I learn something new each time, plus, I love reading other people’s stories.

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