They’re Coming to Get You, Barbara… Zero Hour! Halloween 2014 Flash Fiction Challenge

What’s up, Toga Zombie? And what’s going on with Zombie Jerry Lewis in Boxer Shorts?

So, if you’ve been coming to this site for a little while, you know we’re a bit bonkers about Halloween. And why not? Halloween is a holiday of infinite possibilities, in which the dead can roam the Earth with the living, in which ghouls and goblins are made manifest by overactive imaginations, in which vampires and witches prowl the night in search of tasty treats, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. It is a holiday during which we may engage in our most primal of emotions — fear — and either conquer it or succumb to it. You can’t really say the same for Arbor Day, can you? (well, I suppose you can, if you’re dendrophobic…)

One of my favorite Episodes from the Zero Hour! traditions is the annual Halloween Short Story. It’s a chance for our creators to let loose and participate in the pure art of storytelling, while poking at the weird bits that coagulate at the edge of the Zero Hour! universe. It’s also a chance for me to revisit what got me into writing in the first place.

My earliest memories as a writer involve spinning scary yarns in a pop-up tent in my parents’ backyard to my siblings and other neighborhood children. I used to write creepy little stories in an unlined leather journal that I got as a gift from some family relation, and recite them whenever given an audience. This is where my writer’s journey began, and to come back to the scary story is, for me, a bit of a homecoming.

In service to the scare, we’re hoping to make this our biggest Halloween offering to date, and as such, have invited a number of our favorite geniuses of the written word to participate in a sort of Halloween Flash Fiction Challenge. If you’ve got the writing chops and would like to join us on this meandering through the macabre, let us know by shooting us a message at Details for the challenge are below:

  • Stories should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words in length (longer and shorter word counts will be considered, based on the quality of the story);
  • Stories should be stand-alone, unless a cliff-hanger ending is in service to the story. The idea is that readers won’t have to know your franchise characters to appreciate the story;
  • Stories should be scary, or if not scary, at least related to Halloween;
  • Pen names are allowed;
  • If you have graphic inclinations, please also include an image that can accompany your story on the site;
  • The proprietors of Episodes from the Zero Hour! have final editorial discretion on whether or not to include your story on the site.

If you are interested in participating, please try to get your stories in to Episodes from the Zero Hour! via the email address above by 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Thanks for the consideration, and happy haunting!