SO nice of you to drop by for a Monday morning visit!
Pull your chair up to the kitchen table and pour yourselves a cup of tea or coffee while I rummage about and see what kind of second breakfast goodies I have around here…
How about this?
Luckily I always keep a few plates of assorted pastries on hand just in case someone should drop by. My motto is: be prepared! Also: breakfast is the most important meal of the day… and should therefore be eaten at least twice! (Clearly I could have been a girl scout…if I had been so inclined…! 🙂 )
So, how’re things? What’s new?
I think there’s something important we need to talk about…
I’m referring to that most critical of topics!
Are you ready?
How early is too early to put up your Holiday Decorations?
And while we’re at it, when is it really okay to start listening to Holiday Music?
Now, I know some people never take their decorations down. That certainly saves time and work!
And I, personally, have been known to get Holly Jolly Christmas stuck in my head in July, for no reason I can ever seem to pinpoint!
But I think most people would argue that…
You couldn’t care less?
About something as VERY CRUCIAL as the appropriate putting up of decorations and belting out of holiday tunes?!
So what brought you over for coffee hour, then?
Halloween is over!
Why on earth would we want to talk about that?
You want to know who the 2017 Halloweensie Writing Contest Finalists are!!!
(And here I thought you just came for the pleasure of my company… and maybe the chocolate croissants…! 🙂 )
All righty, then! If that’s what you want, Here. We. Go!
We had the biggest turn out we’ve ever had in terms of number of entries – 244! – and the overall quality of the entries was fantastic. Every contest I am thrilled to see that the quality of the entries has gone up yet another notch. This means there are fewer obvious standouts, almost none that are easy to cut, and there are a LOT of very good ones that we have to get very nit-picky over! It is agony, I tell you!
Before we get to the actual list of finalists, I have a couple things to say. (I know you’re shocked :))
First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time and care to write an entry for this contest. You all did a fabulous job and provided great enjoyment for many!
Second, I’d also like to thank EVERYONE – writer, reader, or both – who took the time to go around and read as many entries as you could and leave supportive comments. This means so much to the writers who worked hard on their stories. It helps them see what they did well, as well as giving them the joy of knowing that their stories were read and enjoyed. I hope you all got as much delight and entertainment out of the reading as I did! Plus, we got to meet quite a few new people which was a wonderful added bonus! 🙂
Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how difficult it was too choose! There were so many amazing entries. Really. I could find at least something terrific about every single one. The sheer volume of entries meant that many good ones had to be cut. So if yours didn’t make the final cut please don’t feel bad. There was a huge amount of competition. Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point – we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story. And the fact that you didn’t make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn’t write a great story. Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner! You showed up. You did your best work. You practiced your craft. You wrote to specifications and a deadline. You bravely shared your writing with the world. And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 100 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript. So bravo to everyone who entered!
Now. Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:
1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience, so entries that were well-written but lacked child-friendliness did not make the cut.
2. Halloweeniness – the rules stated a Halloween story, so entries that failed to mention anything Halloween-y did not make the cut even if they were well-written.
3. Quality of story – the rules stated that entries were to tell a story, so if they appeared to be more of a description or mood piece, they didn’t make the cut. We looked for a character and a true story arc.
4. Quality of Writing: we took note of spelling, grammar, punctuation etc. In addition, for the rhymers, we looked at rhyme and meter (for which we are sticklers!) We also looked at overall writing quality and use of language.
5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.
A surprising number of this year’s entries were amazingly written… but in spite of the warning, still failed to really tell a story. This is SO TOUGH in 100 words – I totally get it. But some people managed better than others. There were any number of entries that were superbly written that we wanted to choose, but when we got right down to it, there really just wasn’t much story… not compared to some of the other entries that really managed to tell one. They were more descriptions, lists, or mood pieces. So as awesome as they were, we had to make some very hard calls. A couple were too adult. Some, because of the cruelly limiting word count were a little hard to follow. Some of the rhyming ones we really liked were too off-meter to make the cut. Some entries were just so close, but missed out because of one relatively small thing! One of our favorites – a clever, fun story we all enjoyed – switched verb tenses repeatedly from present to past and we had to let it go! Another of our favorites was written in rhyme, and while the 2nd-4th stanzas were okay, the first one never found its rhythm and didn’t flow or match the other stanzas. So we had to cut that one 😦 A couple of others were interesting and educational in a nonfiction-y way, but didn’t feel as much like stories to us as we wanted them to. GAH! So hard!
So, without further ado, I present to you the 2017 Halloweensie Contest Finalists. A mix of poetry and prose, stories for younger readers and slightly older (but still kid) readers, funny, spooky, and cute. Please read through them carefully, take your time, think it over, and vote for your favorite. To help with objectivity, finalists are listed by title only, not by author.
And I’d like to be very clear about the voting process. You are MOST welcome to share a link to this post on FB, twitter, or wherever you like to hang out, and encourage people to come read ALL the finalists and vote for the one they think is best. Please do that. The more people who read and enjoy these stories the better, and the more objective votes we get the better. HOWEVER (and I want to be very clear on this) please do not ask people to vote for a specific number or title, or for the story about the pumpkin ballerina or whatever. Trolling for votes or trying to influence the outcome is counter to the spirit of this competition which is supposed to be based on merit. I thank you in advance for respecting this.
So here we go!
#1 Attack Of The Vampire Cookie
On Halloween morning, a cookie is baked,
frosted in crimson and black.
With candy corn fangs and peppermint eyes,
it’s finished – a vampire bat.
On Halloween midday, the party guests come,
craving a Halloween treat.
Before they can reach the desserts on the shelf,
a cookie escapes to the street.
On Halloween evening, up in the sky
Something bizarre is in flight.
A shadowy monster with candy corn fangs
is looking for children to bite.
On Halloween night, while kids trick-or-treat,
a creature descends, mean and vicious.
“Look!” says a child, “caught in this branch,
a bat cookie. Mmmm, tastes delicious!”
#2 Vampette’s Visions
Little Vampette snuggled into her coffin.
When I wake, it will be Halloween Night!
“Bunnies!” Vampette shrieked.
She tossed them some candy-corn to satisfy their hunger and slammed the coffin lid.
Vampette peeped out. All was quiet, until…
She flung death lilies at the swarm and ducked back into her coffin.
Vampette settle down once more, until…
Vampette lifted her lid and peeked out.
A shadow fell across her coffin.
“Wake up, little monster. It’s Halloween Night!”
“You were having a daymare!”
Vampette sighed. “Phew. Happy Halloween!”
#3 Boogley’s Halloween
Boogley brewed up something sweet,
a candy-corny scrumptious treat.
But when the shadows crept around,
no trick-or-treaters could be found.
“I wish they’d knock upon my door.
Don’t be frightened, I won’t roar.”
He brushed his fangs, shined up his horns,
cleared the webs and trimmed the thorns.
He heard a creak, “Is ss-someone there?”
He grabbed his tasty treat to share.
The breeze howled in, lights flickered low,
then Boogley saw an eerie glow.
A monster with a crown and wand,
gleaming eyes and curls of blond.
He backed up slow, in full retreat,
that’s when she shouted…
#4 Shadow Play
Witch-hand branches scratch.
Moon sails in ghostly clouds on Halloween night.
Big sister, so grown up, hands out candy.
She looks bored.
I’ll fix that.
Dracula cape: check.
Candy corn fangs: check.
The shadow creeps down the staircase ahead of me.
Vampire wings flap, teeth bare.
The monstrous shape crosses the door,
touches her shoulder.
“Marcellllaaa…” it hisses.
Shrieks and screams!
Mini candy bars fly like shotgun shells.
Marcella sprawls among the rubble.
“You almost scared me to death!”
But now I crouch beside her,
staring at the shadow
#5 Vampire Has A Sweet Tooth
Young Victor Vampire moped because he’d lost his second fang.
“A toothless ghoul just isn’t cool!” he told his monster gang.
“I feel ya, dude, said Skelton. “Last year I broke a bone.”
“My throat was sore,” said Frankie Stein. “I couldn’t growl or moan.”
Vic huddled in the shadows while he sucked on candy corn.
“This is the ONLY Halloween I’ve missed since I was born!”
Then suddenly Vic smiled wide, as happy as could be.
The candy corn became his fangs,
“Hey monsters…wait for me!
#6 Marvin…The Monster
Marvin tucked himself into the corner. He couldn’t risk anyone seeing him lurking…watching…
for the Trick-or-Treaters.
He’d prepared for months, laser-focused on tonight’s mission…
finding the perfect spot…
mastering a flawless special effect…
to thoroughly spook the costumed kids.
As children swarmed onto the porch, Marvin jumped in front of the light…
striking his ninja pose…
casting a huge, creepy shadow…
and screeched, “BOOO!”
“MONSTER! RUN!” shrieked the kids.
Dropping their Halloween loot, they careened off the porch.
Tasting a piece while carrying the bounty to his lair, …
Marvin, the chipmunk, thought…
‘OPERATION CANDY CORN’…
#7 Bathilda’s Scary Surprise
Bathilda haunts the shadowed streets,
watching kids munch trick-or-treats.
She moans: “There are no treats for me,
when those monsters all run free!
Candy corn and gummi bears–
I get nothing for my scares!
On Halloween, I’m always bored,
but this year, I won’t be ignored.”
Into the moonlight, thin and pale,
she leaps and groans a ghastly wail.
The startled children flee in fright.
Bathilda cackles with delight.
She gathers up forgotten snacks
from all of the abandoned sacks.
Then moans again, “It all looks sweet,
but I forgot that ghosts can’t eat!”
#8 Beware The Candysnatch
It’s Halloween night, and I’m snug in my bed,
as visions of candy corn dance in my head.
The night’s trick-or-treating brought in quite the haul
of candy bars, lollipops, bubble gum all
hidden, tucked carefully under my covers.
And yet, I feel certain a monster still hovers.
It’s not the dark shadows that trouble me most.
I fear no rogue werewolf, aged mummy, or ghost.
The sinister phantom I worry about
is lurking beside me now, snatching claws out.
A theft-proof alarm bell just might come in handy…
My sister wants ALL of my Halloween candy.
#9 Unveiled Terror
Fear of Halloween monsters has kept Jack hiding since nightfall. He’s had nothing to eat but stale candy corn. His rumbling stomach and aching muscles now coax him from his cramped refuge.
With his first cautious movement, chaos erupts! Jack’s body is bound. His legs tangle. A hood envelops his head. Something grabs Jack and whips him into the air.
Jack gasps in horror when he glimpses a ghostly shadow through his veil. The cover is torn from his face, thrusting him into brightness. He trembles as a voice cackles,
“Jack, you silly dog! Stop dragging the sheets off my bed.”
#10 CLOMP, STOMP, CHOMP!
There’s a noise and I’m no longer sleeping
and Yikes! there’s a shadow that’s crawling and creeping.
It’s hairy and scary and has a huge horn.
A monster that’ s growling, “Me want candy corn!”
It grunts and it groans and it’s down on all fours.
I toss my whole bag to the creature, “It’s yours!”
I’m under the covers and scared half to death.
I quietly peek out while holding my breath.
It enters. STOMP STOMP
Comes closer. CHOMP CHOMP
That big beast with the horrible horn?
Is my sister, still dressed as a pink unicorn!
#11 Lulu And Betty’s World Record
Lulu’s pumpkin overshadowed the vegetable patch.
“Time for the World Record weigh-in!” Lulu told Betty, her chicken.
Betty tilted her head… and went back to chomping candy corn.
Lulu embraced her pumpkin and heeeeaaaved….
Lulu scratched her head, “Why are you so light?”
Lulu tapped: hollow! And monster teeth marks blighted the squash’s skin.
“Noooo! I won’t win now.”
Betty pecked the deflated pumpkin.
“Perfect!” said Lulu, clapping.
Lulu carved for hours following Betty’s pecks.
On Halloween night Lulu and Betty’s pumpkin illuminated the town. And smashed the biggest jack-o’-lantern world record.
#12 Werewolf Trick Or Treat
The werewolf wore his costume.
His sack jam-packed with treats,
Like candy corn and Snickers,
He couldn’t wait to eat.
But lurking in the forest,
There was a gruesome pack,
Who shot out from the shadows,
To steal the werewolf’s sack.
The werewolf chased the trio,
Down sidewalks and through lawns,
But when he caught up to them,
The candy was all gone.
“You monsters ate my candy!”
His rage began to brew.
“The candy’s in your bellies…
So now I must eat you.”
#13 The Scariest House On The Block
“Brace yourself, Bobby,” Penelope said.
Anxiety’s shadow enveloped his head.
“Why me?” Bobby whimpered, his voice growing thin.
“Because it’s your turn,” she replied with a grin.
He knocked on the door, and its monstrous feet
approached with a rhythmic, unwavering beat.
It opened the door and met Bobby’s eye.
“Trick or Treat,” Bobby mumbled and tried not to cry.
With a candy corn smile and breath just as gross,
it grabbed Bobby’s head and pulled him in close.
Then … SMACK!—its red lips planted square on his face.
Bobby suffered a kiss from his Aunt Mary Grace.
#14 Jimmy’s Nighttime Guest
Jimmy lay awake in bed,
quaking, shaking, filled with dread.
Shadows cast upon the wall
must mean monsters came to call.
One stood like a triangle,
pointy, tall, and terrible.
Jimmy wondered if this beast
hunted for its dinner feast.
Peeking out behind his sheet,
bracing for a sure defeat,
waiting for a monster raid,
Jimmy felt his courage fade.
Trembling in his bed with fright,
Jimmy reached out for the light,
never to expect this sight.
Resting on the radio,
something blocked his night-light’s glow.
Not a monster’s tooth or horn –
one small piece of candy corn!
Now that you’ve had a chance to read through the finalists, please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 12PM EST (Noon) Thursday November 16.
We will have a regularly scheduled Would You Read It on Wednesday, but I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to read and vote on Halloweensie.
Tune in Friday November 17 to see THE WINNERS!!! (yeah… we’re going to have to skip PPBF because of the timing getting messed up by the judging taking so long – sorry about that!)
Thank you all so much for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote! These contests simply wouldn’t be what they are without all of you!
I can’t wait to see who the winners will be!
Tune in Friday… same bat time, same bat station 🙂
(Although don’t forget WYRI on Wednesday!)
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lie on the couch and eat bonbons all day.
I have to catch up with students, critique work, and stuff with a deadline!
But there might still be chocolate involved 🙂
Have a marvelous Monday everyone!!! And please make sure you VOTE! With this many finalists, we will need A LOT of votes!