The scent of candy corn in the air

This is one of my favorite times of year. The air is deliciously crisp, the foliage colorful and corduroy is making a comeback in a big way. Don’t you just love fall?

If only it lasted for more than 20 minutes.

Before you know it, winter will be here and snow will be flying. Sorry, but we all know it’s the truth.

But at the moment I don’t care about all that, because Halloween is almost here!

I love Halloween. It has none of the stress of other holidays, but oh what a sugar rush. I can taste that candy corn already!

There’s preparation that goes into the event to be sure – what to dress up as, what kind of Halloween candy to buy – but it’s all in good fun. To help you get in the spirit, you need only visit your local merchants, who have decked out their window displays with ghoulishly good decorations. TV programming takes on a decidedly spooky flair, and you can catch just about any horror movie in re-runs. For those with a literary bent, there are scores of urban fantasy novels, ripe with vampires, werewolves and other things that do more than go bump in the night.

(It’s amusing, don’t you think, that the entire month of October we embrace all the beasties and monsters we spend the rest of the year writing off as folklore and superstition.)

Before long pumpkins will be adorning every stoop, and you won’t be able to turn on the radio without hearing “Thriller” or “Monster Mash.” I can’t wait!

Here at The Evening Sun, we pride ourselves in putting the ghastly and ghoulish into this time of year. And this year, we’re really going all out.

Our little fright fest kicked off a couple of weeks ago when we started promoting Ghastly Ghost Stories, our annual Halloween fiction contest. I’ll have the pleasure of judging the “frightful” competition again. So, please, feel free to scare me silly.

My rating system may seem arbitrary, but I assure you, it’s tried and true. If, after reading your story, I have to sleep with my light on, you’re a finalist.

You’ll want all the gory details, I suppose. Well, we’ll be giving out prizes in four categories based on age: fifth and sixth grade, seventh and eighth grade, ninth through twelfth grade and adult. The ghastliest ghost story in each category (and I mean that in a good way) will have their story published in The Pumpkin Vine, and get some other cool prizes. Which, I’m happy to say, will be even cooler than last year since First Edition Books is co-sponsoring the contest this year.

Entries should be 1,500 words or less and must be submitted via email to, with the subject line “Ghastly Ghost Stories.” Attachments should be in a rich text format, and be sure to include contact information and age, as well as the school you attend and grade, if applicable.

The DEADline, a term so apropos in this instance, is Thursday, Oct. 21.

We’ve reached out to all the area schools, of course, and anticipate a flood of submissions in the next few weeks. But we have struggled in the past to get an adequate response in one category – the adults. So this year, to kind of “seed” the contest, our ES staffers have each stepped up and crafted their own chilling tales. In the last two weeks, hauntingly good stories by Brian Golden and Tyler Murphy have appeared. Mine will be soon to follow.

And, that’s not all we have in store for our faithful Evening Sun readers because, once again, we’ll be doing a little paranormal investigation of our own.

This has become something of a tradition for our staff. Over the past few years we’ve visited a number of locations in the area to look into reports of spirit activity, using mediums and card-carrying paranormal investigators as our guides.

This year, our search for the supernatural will take us to Oxford, where we’ll visit an historic structure, a funeral home and a private residence. We’ve enlisted not one, but two, mediums to accompany us.

I’m not going to lie – I’ve already got goose bumps.

Between all those ghost stories and our bit of ghost hunting, not to mention all that candy corn, I’ve already resigned myself to a few sleepless nights this month.

Happy Haunting!

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