Archives for posts with tag: Halloween

1949 Halloween Stage Coach
Halloween, 1949
by Peter A. Witt

The best Halloween I ever experienced
was when I was six and my father built
a stagecoach for my brother and me.
The base was our red wagon,
upon which my dad built a wooden frame,
then cut and sewed fabric to create
the coach walls and top. He named it
the Sundown Stagecoach,
dressed us up in cowboy outfits,
complete with holsters and toy guns
and pulled us around the neighborhood
trick or treating, after taking us to a costume
parade at a local park, after a while
we were bored with all the attention
and lack of candy, but my father was happy
since his creation won first prize.

When we finally got to go house to house,
I remember getting a lot of candy at each stop
which was good since we didn’t get to go
to too many houses since our neighbors
had to admire the stagecoach and my father
had to explain how each part had been made.
Us little ones got impatient, my little brother
even crying at one point, saying
“I’m tired, I want to go home.”
I just wanted to get to the candy eating part.

When we got home, most of the candy
disappeared, my mother saying something
about too much sugar and stomach aches.

My father had great pride in his handiwork,
he displayed the wagon in our living room
for months after Halloween, we finally
persuaded him that we wanted to use the
wagon to haul dirt and our new puppy,
so reluctantly, he made the superstructure
and fabric disappear. After that all Halloweens
have seemed pretty ordinary.

PHOTO: The author (standing) and his brother Paul, on their father’s Halloween stagecoach (Los Angeles, California, 1949).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Every year when Halloween comes around, I think about the stagecoach my father built when I was young. No Halloween since has topped that experience. Over the years, my father took out the picture many times and talked with great pride about his accomplishments. I’ve shared the image many times on Facebook or with my family and friends, always complimenting my father’s construction and sewing skills and enthusiasm.

2022 headshot 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter A. Witt is a Texas Poet and a retired university professor. He also writes family history with a book about his aunt published by the Texas A&M Press. His poetry has been published on various sites, including Fleas on the Dog, Inspired, Open Skies Quarterly, Active Muse, New Verse News, and WryTimes.

Front door-Brewka-Clark
by Nancy Brewka-Clark

Drawn to Salem by the tales
of Nathaniel Hawthorne,
I bought a flimsy sheet
of plastic imprinted with
the gaudy image of a witch
when I was young and single,
living in a shabby apartment
with my own familiar, a
little mutt named Edith.
Inevitably I married
a direct descendant of
Susannah Martin, hanged
July 19, 1692.
We bought a house.
Fifty years passed.
Kept in a drawer, the witch
materializes every Halloween,
up at sunset, down at midnight,
ever more creased and wrinkled
just like the one who hangs her.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’ve tried my hand at every genre of writing and love it all. Age, time and distance vanish at the tap of a key.

Nancy Brewka-Clark copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The winner of the New England Poetry Club’s 2019 Amy Lowell prize, Nancy Brewka-Clark began her writing career as features editor for a daily newspaper chain on Boston’s North Shore. Her poems, short stories, drama, and nonfiction have been published by The Boston Globe, The North American Review, Red Hen Press, University of Iowa Press, and Silver Birch Press among others. Her debut poetry collection Beautiful Corpus was published by Kelsay Books in March 2020.

mary leonard

For many of us, some of our most vivid memories involve sweets and treats — especially recollections surrounding Halloween, Trick or Treating, and our candy treasures. We want to hear all about your Halloween memories in a poem, prose poem, or flash fiction. Please send a photo of yourself at any age in Halloween attire.

PROMPT: Tell us your Halloween recollections in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose poem/flash fiction piece (200 words or less).

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems or flash fiction. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish on social media and in a potential print edition.

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems/flash fiction in the Silver Birch Press MY SWEET WORD Series Halloween Edition during the week leading up to Halloween (actual dates to be determined, based on number of submissions).

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email one poem or prose poem/flash fiction to as an MSWord attachment — and in the same file include your name, contact info (including email address), one-paragraph author’s bio (written in third person), and any notes about your creative process or thoughts about your piece. Please put all this information in one MSWord document and title the file with your last name (and only your last name). Write”Halloween” in subject line of email. Please send a photo of yourself — at any age — in Halloween attire to accompany the poem, and provide a caption for the photo (when, where).


To help everyone understand our submission requirements, we’ve prepared the following checklist.

1. Send ONE MS Word document TITLED WITH YOUR LAST NAME (e.g. Smith.doc or Jones.docx).

2. In the same MS Word document, include your contact information (name, mailing address, email address).

3. In the same MS Word document, include an author’s bio, written in the third person (e.g., Mary Anderson has been writing since age eight…”).

4. In the same MS Word document, include a note about your poem/flash fiction or creative process (this is optional).

5. In the same MS Word document, include a caption for your photo (including where, when and/or date taken).

6. Send a photo of yourself at any age in Halloween attire as a SEPARATE jpg attachment (not in the MS Word document). Title the photo with your last name (e.g., Jones.jpg).

7. Email to — and put HALLOWEEN in the subject line.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Friday, October 16, 2015

PHOTO: Mary Leonard and friends (Halloween, 1953).

by Rose Mary Boehm

This moon is rough around
the edges.
It’s a humble tumble fumble moon.

Santa Muerte.
Dance of those who know.
Who’ve been.

Beat the rhythm with the bones. Bring
back the cattle.
Day of slaughter.

Santa Muerte, the night walker stalker

Sindhe doors.
Light the good fires.
Set a table for dead kin.
Prepare the barn.

Black clouds obscure the gallows
holy be your offering.

Smoke soak my skin,
ablute, restitute, retribute.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am a German-born UK citizen, both making me exceedingly prone to indulge in the mythological. I believe firmly that our subconscious is aware of things that go “bump in the night,” of what we now call legends, mythology, faery tales. I think the roots of these tales form the basis for our present-day reality, and if we want to stay humane, we ignore it at our peril.

IMAGE: “Crows and moon” by Ohara Koson (1927).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a poetry collection (Tangents), her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in US poetry reviews. Toe Good Poetry, Burning Word, Muddy River Review, Pale Horse Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Other Rooms, Requiem Magazine, Full of Crow, Poetry Quarterly, Punchnel’s, Avatar, Verse Wisconsin, Naugatuck River Review, Boston Literary, Red River Review, Main Street Rag, Misfit Magazine, and some print anthologies, as well as Diane Lockward’s The Crafty Poet. She has been a finalist in several GR contests, and won third price in in the 2009 Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse (US), winner of the October 2014 Goodreads monthly poetry contest. To find out more, visit her blog.

by Ja Lorian Young

What is it, do you suppose,
that goes on in the heads of crows
that sit upon the graveyard gate
and patiently commence to wait
for spirits gone awandering;
these crows in solemn pondering.
They sit together, wing to wing,
and sometimes they begin to sing
in cawing cries the living hear
as pestilence upon the ear.
But spirits drifting to and fro
are savvy to the words of crow.

“The leaves are gone, the trees are bare,
a chill has settled on the air
and here we are, past Samhain’s gate
and so the hour has gotten late.
Come on, come on, it’s time to go
if we’re to beat the coming snow!”

But spirits rambling toward the door
are hesitant, all wanting more
of all the things they leave behind
and fearful of what they may find;
what fate awaits them where they go
upon the midnight wings of crow?
They crouch behind their weathered slates
and silently begin to wait;
resolving simply to forego
the cautionary tales of crow.
But cutting through the creeping mist
the crows continue to insist:

“The veil between the worlds is thin
but if you’re late you won’t get in
then wandering will be all you’ll do
if you stay here and can’t get through.
Come on, come back, “the crows all cry,
“There are worse things than just to die!”

But spirits do what spirits do.
Some wait too long and don’t get through
and so, unto the earth they’re bound
and left to molder on the ground.
They cannot know the sweet repose
that flew away on wings of crows.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ja Lorian Young, known as Janice to her parents, grew up in a small, New Hampshire town about 10 miles from where the first American potato was planted in 1719; she was sorely disappointed during a second grade field trip to find that they hadn’t kept it. In high school, she was he winner of the Voice of Democracy Essay Contest and was obligated to ride in the Labor Day Parade. The kids who made the posters to hang on the car had drawn very large V’s, little tiny o’s and very large D’s. She spent the school year being known as the VD Princess. That wasn’t enough to deter her from writing, and she has written many poems and short stories since — though only lately feels compelled to publish. Ja Lorian still lives in southern New Hampshire, now with husband and grown kids and assorted cats and an ancient dog, though now she’s considerably further away from the potato.

IMAGE: “Crows Fly by Red Sky at Sunset” by Shibata Zeshin (1880).

by C. Muckley

Orange moon rising
Casts black-cat shadows along
the dimly lit path

PHOTO: “Pumpkin Moon, Tennessee River (Decatur, Alabama)” by Gary Cosby, Jr., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


October 31, 2013 marks the 218th anniversary of the birth of British poet John Keats. Let’s celebrate the occasion with his paean to the fall season.

TO AUTUMN (Excerpt)
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells…

…Read “To Autumn” in its entirety at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Keats (1795–1821) was an English poet, one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. His reputation grew after his death from tuberculosis at age 25, and by the end of the 19th century he was one of the most beloved of all English poets. He had a significant influence on a diverse range of poets and writers, including Jorge Luis Borges, who stated that his first encounter with Keats was the most significant literary experience of his life. (Read more at

by Carl Sandburg

I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o’-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was an American writer and editor, best known for his poetry. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, two for poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln.



by Ray Bradbury

It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn’t so much wilderness around you couldn’t see the town. But on the other hand there wasn’t so much town you couldn’t see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. And the town was full of…

And it was the afternoon of Halloween.
And all the houses shut against a cool wind.
And the town was full of cold sunlight.
But suddenly, the day was gone.
Night came out from under each tree and spread.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Eight boys set out on a Halloween night and are led into the depths of the past by a tall, mysterious character named Moundshroud. They ride on a black wind to autumn scenes in distant lands and times, where they witness other ways of celebrating this holiday about the dark time of year.

This 160-page illustrated book is available for $5.39 at


A Boston-based costume website advises would-be customers to “Capture the Great Gatsby Era.” While revelers in other cities are dressing up as ghouls, zombies, witches, and Honey Boo Boo, Bostonians are celebrating Halloween by dressing as Jay Gatsby, Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, and Nick CarrawayTrès elegant…