October 31, 2019: Happy Halloween Itself!


Even though I left work early, I still found myself caught in traffic on this Halloween evening. Usually that would panic me, as I’m always terrified of missing the start of trick-or-treating when it falls on a weekday. However, because our Halloween was cancelled two days ago due to potential inclement weather by the town or the police or the schools or whoever is in charge of Halloween here, it wasn’t too big a deal. Plus, there was a bigger punch in the face.

It turns out that the night wasn’t buffeted by torrential downpours and deadly winds, after all. In fact, it was the most ideal trick-or-treating weather I’ve witnessed in a long time in New England (which can sometimes get so cold you have to wear a coat and cap over your costume). The temperature was pleasant, at a level that I’d be hard-pressed to call either warm or cool. Like I wasn’t even wearing skin. The wind was blowing ominously, scudding dead leaves across the street and making wispy noises in the tree boughs high above. A slight mist of rain built up every once in a while and then quickly dissipated. It was the kind of night in which every great Halloween story is set.

I’m still a little sore about the cancellation. Mostly for selfish reasons, but also because I just don’t understand cancelling Halloween because of rain and wind, and I doubly don’t understand doing it two days in advance. We’re not that good at weather prediction. And, honestly, my family would’ve charged right out there into the night in full costume if it wouldn’t have been rude to all our neighbors who weren’t prepared to hand out treats.

Fortunately, it didn’t totally matter. My father came for a visit from Maryland today, so it was a special occasion, anyway. Especially since he came laden with Halloween candy and toys like some anti-Santa (he also was laden with cherry cordials and peppermint bark like an actual Santa, but we’ll ignore that).


We had dinner and ate candy and watched Halloween specials. Lindsey took my oldest to the grocery store. Which sounds like a weird Halloween night activity, but let me explain. My kid had spent months on her costume, creating an entire animal out of foam and fur to a degree of ability that comes from neither me nor her mother and so must come, I assume, from YouTube. And, naturally, she wanted to show it off a little in public. Since she couldn’t do that by going from house to house begging for candy, Lindsey took her to the store. Apparently, she had a blast. People asked to take pictures with her, there were other people in costumes, she got compliments. Made me feel better.


Finally, after everybody was settled in bed, Lindsey and I finished Halloween with a glass of port and the Creepshow finale. Then we let Shudder’s Return of Ghoul Log run for a while on the TV while we talked and hung out. Eventually, I went my way to do some writing, and she…apparently went her way to watch Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel.

October 31 to November 1 is a weird transition for us all.


Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the OTIS Halloween Season this year. It featured 38 Die-ary entries, 13 OTIS visits, nine OTIS Club newsletters, and four podcasts. And that was on top of my day job, edits for Cursed Objects (coming Fall 2020), four appearances, and that one article I wrote for CrimeReads about the time I cleaned up a murder scene. On Twitter, I posted links to my ten favorite moments of the season, in case you don’t want to sift through all that yourself. I’ll be archiving everything in the Halloween section of OTIS soon, where you’ll be able to escape into it come February or April or whenever you need or want to.

I had two big author moments this season. The first was the announcement of my two-book deal with HarperCollins, which includes my middle-grade horror novel The Smashed Man of Dread End. The other, and more important for the time being, was the debut of Twelve Nights at Rotter House. In fact, my new horror novel is only three days old! Thanks to everyone who has bought it so far, posted about it on the socials, and reviewed it on Goodreads, Amazon, or their own sites. Keep it coming, please! Don’t forget about it just because the official spooky season is over. Haunted houses are haunted year-round. And the fate of this book directly impacts whether I get to write another horror novel for adults. And I have a doozy of an idea for the next one (one that's even more personal).

Happy Halloween, everyone! Thank you for letting me do this Halloweirdness with you.