I have a column in today’s USA Today called “Hooray for a Happy Halloween.” (That link will take you there). I have a particular soft spot for Halloween. It’s not that I’m into dressing up; I may have managed 1 or 2 costumes in my adult life. I love snack-sized candy bars, but who doesn’t? No, instead the upside is the slightly spooky, mysterious aspect of the holiday, coming during my favorite time of year when the leaves are brilliant, the air is chilly enough for a jacket but still nice enough to be outside, and the shadows are lengthening toward winter.
I find all that to be a combination that puts me in a creative frame of mind. Much of The Cortlandt Boys (ebook coming in a few weeks!) is set in fall in a little town in the Poconos. Maybe this fondness has to do with an early experience as a writer. In the fall of 1991, as I was starting 7th grade, my family moved from North Carolina to Indiana. It was a good move for my dad’s work, though a lousy move for me, and involved going from a pretty good school to a pretty mediocre school. I never did wind up liking the town or the schools, and left four years later. In the midst of this, though, that first fall, I entered a local ghost/mystery short story contest for teenagers. I was told I was a finalist. I went to the award ceremony, and found out I’d won first prize. My story was read on the radio. I entered the contest again the next year and came in second, though that story was later accepted and printed in Stone Soup magazine, so that was kind of cool. Maybe I keep remembering that, and so this time of year seems more interesting with its shifting colors and temperatures.
Do you like Halloween? I’ve been seeing, from various blogs, that people either love it or hate it.