The Strange Side of the Writing Life

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When You Need It to Be Creepy – Guest Post Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin

  • October 24, 2016
  • Blog


With Halloween coming up, who else to write a spooky post but a horror writer? Luckily, Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin, author of Snare, graciously agreed to offer her thoughts. Enjoy!

When You Need It to Be Creepy


Last night, flashlight in hand, I took our puppy Boomer for a walk. It was perfect Halloween weather, sharp and chill, with an edge of Something Wicked This Way Comes. Little yellow leaves blew across our path, pursued by the unseen. The ping! of acorns falling ricocheted everywhere in the dark. And the faulty aerator light in a nearby pond pulsed like a malignant sea creature.

To tell you the truth, I was relieved.

You see, the month leading to Halloween has always been magical for me. Why wouldn’t it be, for a writer of horror and other shadowy things? The fake cobwebs in bushes, the small ghosties fluttering from branches, the pumpkins with their evil grins—what’s not to love?

But it hadn’t been so this year. Don’t know why. Maybe a bunch of stresses were catching up. I was starting to get worried. After all, the Season of the Witch usually provides me with inspiration that lingers through the bleak winter. Did this mean I’d spend the next five or so cold gray months feeling like a flat landscape?

When my nephews were very young, my husband and I accompanied them on their trick-or-treating. There were a lot of kids in the neighborhood, and people really got into decorating for Halloween. One house I’ll never forget had a long, winding driveway and a wooden bench set near it with jack-o’-lanterns, large spiders in fake webs, and a stuffed ghoul. But the ghoul stirred when you walked by. And it was a human stir that made you realize someone had been sitting there the whole time, watching, waiting, patiently stalking disbelief.

Thank goodness I found no such ghoul last night—it’s not quite Halloween yet and that would have been a little too weird even for me. But he came to mind in the gusty dark, as did memories of holding my nephews’ hands as they tried to understand what was real and what wasn’t. The fact that I was at last tingly watching Boomer sniff and jump at things I couldn’t see or hear made me feel all is well again. So did Cthulhu throbbing in the pond.

May your Halloween, dear friends, be filled with wonder and delicious shivers.


You can find Carrie at, on Twitter at @cvnelkin, and on Facebook (Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin, Author)


  • R.G. Emanuelle • October 24, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    I love your descriptions of Halloween, Carrie. Especially since it’s my favorite holiday. 🙂

    • Carrie • October 25, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Thanks, RG! It’s hard not to get “atmospheric” in October.

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