2020 Halloween Story Contest Winner Announced

2020 Halloween Story Contest Winner Announced title=
2020 Halloween Story Contest Winner Announced
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Update by edhat staff
October 30, 2020

Happy Halloween! Our panel of spooky judges received tons of stories from very talented edhat writers. Congratulations to everyone who completed and submitted their stories, well done! 

Let's meet the judges:

Sue Foley is an environmental consultant, part-time writer, and former dedicated staff member of Edhat.com. She's celebrating Halloween this year by stocking up on hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and Snickers bars while watching the scariest thing she can think of: political debates.

Lauren Bray is the Publisher of edhat.com and a spooky story enthusiast. She's celebrating Halloween this year with a marathon of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" reruns and re-reading R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" series. 

The judges rated each story on a scale of 1 to 5 and every story has the same beginning and must include the phrases: owl, Ellwood Butterfly Grove, and Laffy Taffy. This year's winner and one story received the top score to win our annual Edhat Halloween Story Writing Contest. 

Congratulations to our first place winner, Dare Holdren for a very spooky and very Santa Barbara story. Read the full story below. 

"The Mustache" by Dare Holdren

I jolt awake in a cold sweat. My clock flashes 3:03 a.m., just as it has every night this week. I groggily walk into the kitchen and pour a glass of water. Staring out the window I see something quickly dart toward the garage. I open the back door and squint into the darkness, my heart is pounding and sweat runs down my face as I move toward the figure.

Wiping my face I realize two things: I’ve accidentally left the outdoor heater on after one too many pre-Halloween hard seltzers, and I’ve forgotten my mask. Returning inside to my junk drawer overflowing with unused Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons and owl pellets I’ve ordered to supplement my makeshift home-school science curriculum, I grab my Scooby-Doo mask and return to the yard.

Something is rummaging through my wine bottles. Entering the garage, a figure quickly flashes in front of my flashlight, his face masked eerily with what appears to be a large hairy spider. He is riding an E-Bike dripping with flashing multi-color lights and red, green, and white streamers. My stolen wine bottles clank together in a basket on the back. A flashing neon sign that reads, “I break for news”, is bolted to the basket.

I take off in a dead sprint for three, four, five steps before I realize how much I hate running and stop to catch my breath. With a surprisingly suave shout of “Viva la Fiesta!”, the mysterious figure roars down the street, pops a massive wheelie, and disappears around the corner. I lower my mask, pull up a tug on my LuluLemon boxer shorts, and head back to bed. Adrenaline flowing, I decide to finally fix the time on my blinking vintage alarm clock before dozing off.

The next morning I am awakened at a reasonable hour (this being Santa Barbara and all) by a commotion in front of the house. The bandit had broken into nearly everyone’s garages and granny units the night before, pilfering an impressive array of party supplies. John and Kathy had an entire costco sized bag of tortilla chips taken, Pedro was missing the steak from his freezer, and Mia was missing her tortillas. Someone had even taken the two big bottles of Cholula that Ray had stashed under his toilet paper collection.

“What am I going to get the postman for Christmas now?” he wondered, ignoring the obvious option - toilet paper.

This was an inside job, I think to myself. Later that evening, after a typical full day of zooming and snacking, I think I hear instruments out front. Grabbing my wife and daughter, we step outside to see a huge, socially distanced marching band in the middle of the street! It stretches for miles and is made up of students in colorful uniforms from all the local schools. Blues and golds, reds and greens, and everything in between. I can barely pick out the masked man at the front, arms outstretched like a conductor. As I watch, he pulls out a huge silver whistle and gives a mighty blow. With that, each of the band members comes to attention, begins marching forward, and plays the first bars of “Cheeseburger in Paradise”.

My neighbors and I follow along. For block after block, more folks join in, many abandoning their cars in order to take part in the excitement. After an hour of marching we find ourselves entering the Ellwood Butterfly Grove. Proceeding across the bluffs, we find torches lining the beach, a DJ playing, and tables set up with food and drinks for everyone. The masked man sits mysteriously in the sand, his legs crossed. I approach. For the first time I see that his dark eyes only look masked by his enormous mustache.

“Prime Time!” I shout, “What a show!”

John Palminteri calmly holds out his hand with a single candy in it.

“Laffy Taffy?” He offers.

#   #   # 


Congratulations Dare! You've won a gift card to GrubHub for a safely delivered meal from a local restaurant.

And congratulations to all our honorable mentions who received high scores. Read all the honorable mention stories below (in no particular order):

Original Post by the edhat staff

We're back with our annual Halloween Story Writing Contest. We understand that being in a global pandemic things are already pretty scary, so we hope this fun exercise will keep your mind off something other than hand sanitizer and toilet paper for at least a few minutes.

Dust off that fountain pen, grab a sheet of parchment and start writing. As usual, we’ve given you a head start.

Here are the rules:

Entries can be no longer than 660 words (including the provided beginning), should be suitable for all ages (PG content, please), must include the opening we have provided, and must contain the following three words or phrases: 

  • Owl
  • Ellwood Butterfly Grove
  • Laffy Taffy

Your story can be scary or funny or something in between.  All entries will be judged by an esteemed panel of Ed’s friends, based on the following criteria: 

  • Word count
  • Inclusion of the required beginning and words/phrases, and
  • If the judges like it

The first-place winner will win a gift card to Grub Hub to enjoy a safe delivery from a local establishment. Ed will decide any ties. This contest is open to everyone, students included! One story per person, please.

Send your entry to [email protected] by Midnight, 10-25-20. Enter “Halloween Writing Contest” in the subject line. Please include your name. The winner will be announced and the winning story posted on Friday, 10-30-20. Honorable Mention stories will also be posted.

Here’s the beginning of the story…good luck!

I jolt awake in a cold sweat. My clock flashes 3:03 a.m., just as it has every night this week. I groggily walk into the kitchen and pour a glass of water. Staring out the window I see something quickly dart toward the garage. I open the back door and squint into the darkness, my heart is pounding and sweat runs down my face as I move toward the figure.


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popcorn Oct 31, 2020 02:12 PM
2020 Halloween Story Contest Winner Announced

These stories are such fun to read + we sure need a bit (or more) of fun these days. Congratulations, Dare! Edhat, please have these creative + funny story contests more often! I still remember the past one about the monk + Esalen ;-} ...

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