Bonus post!: Hallotober Tag

The Hallotober Tag image.  It's very dark.  In the background, you see a few silhouettes of thin forest trees just barely lit up by a weak, bluish beam of moonlight.  In the foreground is a horizontal black rectangle with a thin, dark red border.  The words "Hallotober Tag" are written in dark red inside the rectangle.

Covering the very right side of the rectangle is a large black circle with a dark red border.  Inside are what look like too pumpkins, one a medium orange and one a dark orange, or maybe the second one is just in shadow.  They sit on some kind of table, surrounded by tea lights and tall candles.

When I saw this tag at Leah’s Books, I was drawn to it like horror movie teens are to graveyards and pitch-black basements! Thank you, Leah, for inspiring me!

Hallotober Rules

  1. Thank the person who tagged you and link to their post 
  2. Put the rules at the beginning or after the introduction
  3. Answer the 13 questions 
  4. Tag 13 people
  5. Delete Question 13, add a new number one question of your own
  6. You are free to use the tag image somewhere in the post
  1. Trick or treat? Do you prefer a book that‘s full of twists and shockers or do you prefer a more comfortably predictable story?

#sorrynotsorry for the middle-road answer, but it depends on my mood and the particular book/series! I have certain general expectations, like a happy (or at least optimistic) ending, but otherwise, I’m open to surprises. If I’m reading a Toby book, I absolutely want to be twisted and shocked! I’m there to learn new things about McGuire’s mythic universe. And the longer a series gets, the less inclined I am to just read the same thing over and over. I want to see change and progress.

On the other hand! If I’m in the mood for some literary cotton candy like Sweet Valley or The Babysitters Club, I absolutely expect to stick to a formula: ridiculously over-the-top situations that hinge on all the characters being essentially one-note and lovably air-headed, or wholesome morality tales that wrap up all the drama into a neat, standalone package. Bring on the frenemy battles! Bring on the Chapter 2 character overviews! Bring on the wacky wardrobes! Bring on the blue-green eyes! When I’m over-stressed or just looking for some literary hygge, I want something that Jack and Tanner or Anna and Karyn can mock in beloved recurring segments.

2. What is your favorite horror novel or short story?

I briefly mentioned this in my review of Ghastly Stories For the Biggest Scare-Seekers: “Honey in the Wound” was one of the ghastliest, most gruesome stories in The Restless Dead, a Deborah Noyes anthology of tales from beyond the grave. It’s a cautionary tale of an amputation gone horrifyingly wrong, which warns us that sometimes, those odd folk remedies really are your best bet. It’s not my top favorite story in the collection, but it’s definitely terror-ific.

3. What was the last Halloween costume you wore?

Last year, I had two costumes — one for the Fort Wayne Fright Night Zombie Walk and one for a Halloween party. For the former, I was…

Photo of me wearing a white unicorn cape, with a unicorn's head for the hood, over a black short-sleeved sweater and an iridescent pair of leggings.  I have a purple clutch purse belted to my waist.  My face is painted with random smudges of black and blue, and my hands are curved like claws on either side of my head.  I'm making a snarling monster face.

Behind me is a backdrop of dark blue, with the edge of a bright red splat on the left.  There's a bright blue lightning bolt above and to the left of my head.

And for the latter, I was…

Photo of me, in my kitchen, wearing a black t-shirt with the words Fortezza Coffee making a circle around a large white turtle.  The letters F and W are on either side of the turtle, and a feather makes up each of the left and right sides of the circle.

Under the t-shirt, which falls below my waist, is a bright holographic teal skater skirt that ripples and swishes just above my knees.  It's designed with mermaid scales outlined in black.

Under the skirt, you see my black leggings, which are designed with white fish bones.  The photo cuts off just below the knees.

Bonus detail:  I'm standing next to a dual coffee maker that has both a carafe and a single brew side.  The latter is occupied by a tall white plastic coffee cup, like a Starbucks to-go cup, except there's a different green image pasted to the front.  

It's a circular cutout of an illustration of Egle, Queen of Serpents, from Lithuanian mythology.  She's a woman with long blond hair that's drawn white in the image, along with her face.  She has a small, bright green crown with three peaks and she's looking down at a bright green snake, which has a blue crown on its head.  The snake's head curves downward like a hook, facing to the left, just like Egle.  They both stand before a bright green sea.
A coffee mer-ista from the Duchy of Ships. See my 2019 October Report for her full backstory.

4. What is your favorite fall snack?

I LOVE seasonal coffee drinks, and my local haunts’ autumnal offerings are some of my favorites (second only to their winter specials). In fact, just bring me three cardboard carrying cases of the entire Mocha Lounge 2019 fall drink menu. Or, better yet, their 2018 Candy Bar Mochas.

5. Do you carve pumpkins?

I do not! I have neither the patience nor the dexterity, but I’m very happy to appreciate spook-tacular skills like this!

6. Do you prefer horror movies or stories?

Stories. It’s a lot harder to watch a frightening scene — especially if it’s gory — than to read about it. My mind can tone down the horror when I’m reading, but all I can do when I’m watching is cover my eyes. Though, I will say, the slide projector scene in the recent IT remake is fantastic.

7. What is your favorite Halloween memory?

Trick-or-treating at night, back in California, when I was little. I was accompanied by my parents, but in general, it seemed safer to let kids wander around the neighborhood by themselves at that time. In fact, I remember playing Ghost in the Graveyard one evening with a bunch of kids in the wooded area at the end of my street, and no one had phones or GPS watches. We were just trusted to return home in one piece.

8. Do you prefer to give out candy or get candy?

These days, mostly the former. I love seeing all the kids’ and teens’ costumes (my favorite last year was a group of high-schoolers dressed as a Jazzercize class, and a few years before that I was delighted to see a little girl dressed as Buzz Lightyear). As for the latter, I’ve been more inclined to get my Halloween sugar rush from the above-mentioned lattes or from fun recipes like last year’s espresso cupcakes (can’t find the recipe anymore, but this alternative sounds even better!), or the literary candy crushes I’ve discovered so far (2019, 2020).

9. Do you decorate for Halloween or fall?

I certainly do! I don’t go all-out like some Halloween heroes I know (that party I went to last year? Was pretty much a transplant from Halloweentown), but I make my mischievous mark around the house.

A large orange plush Jack-o-lantern sits on a black folding chair on the front porch, behind a large clay pot full of red flowers.
A garland of small puffball bats is woven around a wall hanging of metal butterflies, which are colored in red, orange, and yellow.
Two small pumpkin ornaments sit on a piano.  One is bright, sparkly green with white cat eyes rimmed in black, and a simple black nose and smile.  The other is sparkly black with green cat eyes, a red nose, and a white smile and whiskers.  The smile has two tiny fangs.
Close-up of the green and black pumpkins.

10. Do you have a favorite urban legend? If so what is it?

When I started high school, some of the upperclassmen told us about a ghostly nun who hung out in the old gym, playing Euchre all night. We were a Wild And Crazy bunch, us Catholic Central Hilltoppers.

11. Would you rather spend a night in a graveyard or a haunted house?

Hmm. Camping out in a graveyard on Halloween sounds super Romantic. You have the moonlight, the moaning wind, the undead buskers playing Sally’s Song all night… OTOH, if we’re talking about Casper’s house and his obnoxious uncles are away, I’d totally be up for a movie night.

12. What is your favorite spooky movie?

I’m going with Beetlejuice purely for the opening theme. Those two screeching high notes are my jam! And who doesn’t love a good Harry Bellafonte dance party ending?

13. Who is your favorite character from a horror movie or book?

Well, one of my favorites is Natacha the essential-oil-brewing witch from J. A. White’s Nightbooks (reviewed here). I would’ve written her a much different ending, personally.

And now, I tag…the last 13 people who commented on my posts! (besides Leah, of course, since she already did the tag). This is a totally no-pressure shout-out. If you don’t feel like doing this, consider this an official Thank You and a free blog promo! 😀


Modified pumpkin patch clipart from the mysteriously vanished


  1. Great post! This is a lot of fun! I’ve answered the questions. Now I just have to find time to make my official post 🙂

  2. Somehow I just knew that you’d come up with the most awesome post for this, and you definitely did NOT disappoint! And how did I forget about Beetlejuice? It took me a while to be able to watch that movie (because the sandworm was scary), but I really do love it now! I also love your holiday decorations (and costumes). You are super awesome!

    • Thank you so much! You are also superfantastic! And yes, that sandworm is legit frightening. But I love the “Oh, it’s ON!!!” glare Gina Davis gives it right before she pwns Beetlejuice.

  3. Thanks for the tag! I’m not sure I even have 13 people to tag, lol. I may have to reply anyway and see where it goes. Although, I am a bit late to the game. Not sure anyone would mind a late halloween themed post though. We’ll see what happens, I suppose 🙂

    • Can’t wait to see it! I don’t think us true Halloweentownies are ever *not* in the mood for Halloween posts. 😈 And you can always do as I usually do and tag “everyone who feels like it.” 😉

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