Weekly Writing Prompt #39

It’s Halloween! The season for little ghosts and goblins to take to the streets, asking for candy and scaring one another silly. Spooky stories are told around fires, scary movies appear in theatres and pumpkins are expertly (and not-so-expertly) carved into jack-o'-lanterns.

It all began as the festival of Samhain, which was part of the ancient Celtic religion in Britain and other parts of Europe. At the end of summer, the Celts thought the barrier between our world and the world of ghosts and spirits got really thin. This meant weird creatures with strange powers could wander about on Earth. In an attempt to counteract this, the Celts had a big party, all about scaring away the ghosts and spirits.

Through the ages, various supernatural entities — including fairies and witches — came to be associated with Halloween. Dressing up as ghosts or witches became fashionable, though as the holiday became more widespread and more commercialised (and with the arrival of mass-manufactured costumes), the selection of disguises for kids and adults greatly expanded beyond monsters to include everything from superheroes to princesses to politicians.

Halloween is always great inspiration for strange and scary stories, which is why this week’s prompt is all about this spooky celebration. Have fun!

Ehud Neuhaus