It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn’t so much wilderness around you couldn’t see the town. But on the other hand there wasn’t so much town you couldn’t see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. And the town was full of…
And it was the afternoon of Halloween.
And all the houses shut against a cool wind.
And the town was full of cold sunlight.
But suddenly, the day was gone.
Night came out from under each tree and spread.
Ray Bradbury, ‘The Halloween Tree.’
As an author, I am often asked the name of my favourite book. I never hesitate: the Halloween Tree, despite being a book written for children, is still my favourite (and I am 51 now!). Ray Bradbury is the author I love most.
I write lots of spooky stories – Walking With Witches is partly set at Halloween, and the books I wrote for the Too Ghoul for School series is set in a haunted school. I can’t seem to help myself!
I am running a writing competition for younger readers who like to write their own spooky short stories. The winners will have their stories shared over on Book Nurture for Halloween, and on social media, and will win a pile of prizes including signed copies of my books, such as Walking with Witches and books in the Too Ghoul for School series.
They will also win some very special handmade felt Halloween goodies – hand made by me! There will be two winners; one in each category :ages 7-9 and 10-12. There will also be a runner up in each category, who will receive a goody bag.
Each category has a story starter. Use the idea and make the story your own! Make sure your characters are ‘real’ and build a story full of excitement – is there a problem to solve? – and write a good strong ending. When you have finished, email your story to the address below.
The cat stretched, and blinked at me. Black, sleek fur rubbed against my legs, and the cat started to purr. She pounced on a dry leaf, and sneezed. Blue sparks flew from the end of her whiskers. She lifted her paws, and where the leaf had been there was a tiny blue mouse. The cat could do magic!
I kicked the leaves into the gutter. I didn’t event want to go Trick or Treating this year – at least, not with Chris. Mum made me. Just because he’s going to be my stepbrother. It’s not that I don’t like him, or that I don’t want Mum to get married, even. It just feels really false. We have to pretend to be interested in the same things when we are so different. I mean, he’s come dressed as a Mad Scientist, Mum says – and he doesn’t really look any different. I’ve come as a zombie and he thinks it’s a bit gross. Ugh. That’s THE POINT!
Anyway, we’re off. I’m going to shake things up a little, and give him a Halloween to remember.
Conditions of entry:
- Personal information is required so that books can be sent to the winners as soon as the draw has been made. The winners’ names and addresses will be used to mail out prizes, and as soon as the books have been mailed out, all personal information will be deleted from our email systems.
- Your story should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Halloween Writing Competition’ by 12 noon on Friday 21st October. You must attach your age, name and address to your entry. Sorry, but no entries received after this time can be considered. Judges decisions are final.
- If you are under 14, please get your parents’ permission to enter our competition, and ask them to email your story.
- Winners will be announced on Girls Heart Books (here!) at 7am on 27th October, and the winning entry will appear both here on that date, and on Booknurture.com as well as on our social media accounts. Your stories belong to you, and you just give us permission to use them for competition publicity on Halloween 2016.
- Winners will have prizes mailed out the same day – signed books, and needle felted goodies made by me!