October 29, 2019

Writing for Halloween

By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine

Every year, as Halloween approaches, it seems all my TV dramas adopt a Halloween theme. I am not opposed to Halloween but it is hard to pull off a believable drama with the same characters that have been doctors, nurses, police officers, firemen and the like. Their strong drama characters overpower their short-lived Halloween characters.

Overcoming the distraction of my favorite character appearing to be something different is hard enough but many times the writers don’t make things any easier. The plots vary from offbeat, to comical, to scary or even cute. I say cute because my grandchildren just saw the “Adam’s Family” and thought it was cute. Another set of grandchildren saw “IT Chapter 2” and described it as creepy. I’m not sure what the writers had in mind on either film but I would be willing to guess it wasn’t “cute” or “creepy”. 

Hearing their description of these movies I thought, I have never heard anyone describe one of Stephen King’s movies as cute or creepy. It seems to me the descriptions of his movies are more like scary and horrifying. King has been noted as the author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, and fantasy. No cute or creepy.

Frightening movies are not necessarily written with Halloween in mind but they are very often released around that time. It is the time of year we are all looking for a scare so why not indulge us? But let’s think back to what was mentioned earlier. Horror and even terror have its place but there are also places for cute and creepy. We may not be of the mind set to write the greatest of horror stories but there is also a place for us if we like writing scary, creepy or even cute. With most genres there are various ways to approach it. Writing horror has many levels as well.

As we enjoy this upcoming Halloween be aware of the stories you see and hear. Look them over and put them in a category you can name, such as horror, scary, creepy or cute. If you decide which one is your forte and you want to give it a try, go for it. It would be great to have it finished and out in time for Halloween 2020. Happy Halloween!     

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