Monster Mash

on September 26, 2023

Dear Readers,

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I grew up in a time when rolling yards with toilet paper was considered “kids being kids.” I’m sure the teachers and community leaders who ended up with trees and shrubs draped with TP weren’t thrilled, but they were not trolls. They endured the annual holiday with good grace and grins. It was once a year and everyone survived it without dire consequences. It’s different today, and that’s a shame for kids who want to rebel a little, generate a little mischief, and have some fun without doing any damage.


I started my pre-Halloween month with the purchase of a virtual reality headset. Why, you may ask? So glad you asked! My friend Mandy Haynes bought a VR headset for exercise purposes, but then she told me that they have games like touring a haunted house. You know I am all over that! You know I love a good scary story or game or movie!

The sad truth is that I am one of the scariest people on the planet. Yes, I’m a coward who loves to scare other people. The hard thing is that I get scared really easily when the tables are turned! And yet I can’t stop myself from playing the game. So Mandy and I are sitting in the kitchen My humble little home has disappeared and we are at the front door of an old, dark, cob-web dripping mansion. We walk up the steps, turn the door handle, and push the creaky old door open and step into…terror!

With the headset on you can’t see anything except the VR of the game. So there are doors to open, halls to creep down, and all along the way there are things jumping out to get me! So Mandy screams and I fuss at her because when she screams it makes me scream. Ha ha ha. She is greatly amused at what a big sissy I am!

But we are having a blast and I’m learning how to use VR. Not for any good purpose but just so I can calculate how to master it—and then scare more people!

My initial review on the VR thing is: fun! Mandy and I have a lot to figure out (she will figure it out because I am too impatient and scared!), but even though I protest and drag my feet, I am learning something new. Old dog—new tricks. It can happen!

The next question to address is—what to be for Halloween? This is heavy on my mind. I like to go for the ugly and scary. The last time I dressed up—and sat in freezing weather at the end of my driveway (which is long and tree-lined and scary) to hand out candy to children, I made a kid cry. I didn’t do anything! I just tried to give him candy! Not my finest moment, but at least the costume was effective. I was never a crier when I was scared—I was more of a “get out of my way, I’m running and I will mow you down.”

CONTEST TIME! Who/what will you be this Halloween? Please email your responses to and I’ll draw two names at random and give away 2 digital downloads of THE DARKLING, one of my scary books. Please follow these directions and email Sarah Booth, not me!

pet photo

My wonderful Leroy had a growth removed from his leg Sept. 15. Waiting to see if it is cancer. Please keep good thoughts for him. I just lost Eudora Welty and Sorrow to cancer. Mid-September I took Leroy, Casper the dog, Mr. Tabb the kitty with a heart murmur, and Precious, the kitty with some very rare inflammation of the ear cartilage. All got a good report but Leroy, who has a tiny knot on his little stumpy back leg. The knot is very small—just popped up. And now it is removed. So let’s hope for the best. My heart needs a rest from bad news.

Click on my dog
and you’ll see a miracle happen!

I’m off and running on TENDER BONES and working out the ideas for SQUATTERS with Mandy. So as long as I am working, I am okay. If I don’t work, I get gloomy. Stupid but true.

And I’m having a little fun. Went to NEXT OF KIN, a dinner theater, with a group of good friends and had a blast. Looking forward to the E.A. Poe live event next month. I am trying to get out of my rut and the deadening comfort of doing nothing and learning nothing. COVID really had a very negative impact on socializing with my group. None of us can afford to get really sick, but we are making an effort to do things safely.

I hear there’s going to be a Lovecraft gathering down at the Haunted Book Shop in Mobile on Nov. 4. Check out their FB page or website and come enjoy one of the masters of dark story telling.

Until then, dance! No one can stop you and it’s good for the body and soul!

Here’s a little Halloween music to dance to: Monster Mash.

Carolyn and the critters