I love Halloween and remember looking forward to it every year! To this day, I still love to look at all the cool decorations available and try to dress up when I can.
Sutton is an author who will be releasing her debut novel, Finned, the first novel in the Merworld Water Wars series ver soon. She’s a huge lover of Halloween and has “a completely irrational fear of grasshoppers.”
Halloween Jaunts, Taunts, & Haunts
by Sutton Shields
Halloween has always had a long-standing reputation for weirdness and mayhem in my family.
Take my dad out on Halloween, and you’ll get a hefty dose of havoc…and humiliation. He would take me trick-or-treating and literally walk me back to someone’s house if I got “cheated” on candy. Candy quality was a very big thing with him. I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise, given his rather raucous Halloween adventures.
When Dad was in his hell-raising, teenage years, his group of rascally buddies decided it would be a great idea to go trick-or-treating…but not in the traditional sense. No, they were much too old for such childish things. Enter the big ‘Oh no.’ Their idea of acquiring candy-filled bags involved going on a little joy-jaunt, finding a busy street, hiding in bushes, rustling leaves to lure curious trick-or-treaters…and then unleashing a strategically timed, God-awful roar that caused those little peanuts to scream, scatter, and, of course, drop their candy bags. Yeah. In Dad’s defense, he looks back on it now and says, “It was kind of mean, huh? I never knew little kids could run that fast.” Still, he chuckles to the point of tears. Boys.
There wasn’t a single thing my mom didn’t love about Halloween as a little girl—the costumes, the candy, the spooky whisper of a true Halloween breeze. Unfortunately, the ghosts and ghouls had a surprise for her…in the form of some night blinded not-so-much fun. Imagine this itty-bitty girl, walking in her skeleton costume, holding her candy bag, marching for what she thinks is a sidewalk…and face-planting into a bush. From that night on, she was the only kid who had to carry a flashlight on Halloween. I’m not sure she’s fully recovered from the taunts. Even now, my poor mom would walk right up to a tree, ask it for candy, then turn and walk straight into another one.
As for me, my Halloween adventures have usually involved some weighty weirdness. One Halloween, I returned with some candy…and a lot of money. No joke. I’m not sure if there was a candy shortage or a sudden harvest of money trees that year, but money was the non-candy-coated goodness at the time. The year after, it was like land of the giant candies—no snack size candy that year, nope…my pumpkin bucket was chock-full of extra-large candy bars, lollipops, and massive packs of gum. To this day, I do the shoulder shrug over it all.
And then, there was this…
On an especially quiet Halloween night, after the trick-or-treaters were tucked in their beds, dreaming about their loot of sugary happiness, I wandered outside to take down my decorations. My insane dislike of bugs and fear of weather damage will literally not let me leave the decorations up any longer than a boo-filled Halloween afternoon and evening.
After removing the porch décor, I pranced down the steps to take down my funny little ghost lights. Halfway down the walkway, something stopped me cold. I couldn’t move. The once unseasonably balmy air had turned almost unbearably chilly; leaves whipped around my ankles like living vines. A wicked breeze surrounded me, yet the trees across the street were still as stone. In fact, the warmth and security coming from across the street was almost palpable.
Surely this was some figment of my imagination. Any second and my brain would snap out of its wonderland. And then I heard it—a growl from somewhere in the wooded area behind my house. When I turned to face it, I saw nothing but a growing darkness. I could no longer see the house two streets over with its bright lights and glowing lamppost—the darkness had swallowed all sense of the familiar and friendly.
As the blanket of darkness grew closer, and the panic inside my mind grew louder, a blast of warm, white light shot past me, slamming into the frighteningly dark mass, forcing it back. The tangle of light and dark lasted less than a millisecond before everything was back to normal—the familiar lights of the house two streets over, the balmy, windless October air…and my freedom. I could move again. The wind and leaves that once held me in place had disappeared.
They say the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest on Halloween. Is it possible I witnessed a battle between good and evil? Did I momentarily step into another realm? Perhaps this was all in my imagination. Then again, I might just be crafting a little Halloween fun.
Sometimes we see things in the shadows we simply cannot explain. And though there is truth in every tale, dear reader, I will let you decide what is real…
About Finned (The Merworld Water Wars, #1)
Sixteen-year-old Marina Valentine is a rule-stretcher in an uptight Texas seaside town. She’s hormonally challenged, curious to a fault, hates fish, and has a dating resume that makes the queen look like a slut. It’s not that guys don’t ask her out. They do. She just has an unfortunate reaction to dating—uncontrollable gags. It’s not exactly a turn on.
One by one, her oddball friends start disappearing—much to the joy of the snobby high school royals—and Marina fears she is a walking bull’s eye. Inquiries into their disappearances lead to startling, gag-worthy discoveries. Toss in an increasingly inconvenient attraction to one of the royals—who holds the key to solving the mystery…in his fin—and it’s an anti-fish girl’s worst nightmare come true. Soon, Marina finds herself at the center of a looming underwater war that’s really going to play games with her love life.
As time closes in—and the Merpeople officially come out of the ocean—Marina must choose between the lives of her friends, the future of an underwater utopia, and the life of her first love. There’s just one problem. Where does a love-shy, fish-phobic, non-mergirl even begin…especially when her enemy may be the one person she trusted above everyone else?
About the Author
I’m a dreamer, believer in the unbelievable, and author of the upcoming series The Merworld Water Wars, FINNED (Wave One).
Hook (pun totally intended): “Take a fish-phobic girl, divide her by one hot merman, add a splash of his crazy ex-merbitch, and you get one stinky school year.”
I’m a handbag-loving gal who LOVES to watch sports–football, baseball, basketball, NASCAR, you name it. I take being a fan very seriously. 😉
One thing I love most is trying to make people smile, even if it means making a fool out of myself (trust me, my inner idiot is bound to make multiple appearances).
I have a completely irrational fear of grasshoppers, worry that piranha may secretly lurk in lakes, and try to find the bright side in everything, even if I annoy myself doing so. (bio from Goodreads)