November 3, 2014

The 2014 Halloweensie Contest Finalists - VOTE For Your Favorite!!!

Holy Jack-O-Lanterns, Batman!

Look at me!  A mere shadow of my former self!

A pumpkin who has fallen off her creaky broomstick!

Wrung out and harrowed after an entire weekend of trying to decide how to rank the incredible entries y'all submitted for Halloweensie 2014.  What a job!!!

It's a miracle I'm even here to tell the tale!

Thank goodness for the sustaining chocolate provided (via Face Book) by Joanna and Kathy :)  Thank you both, from the bottom of my chocolate-loving heart!  (And no, they did not receive "special consideration" for their entries as a result - they are both just lovely people who didn't want me or my assistant judges to keel over :))

And speaking of the assistant judges, I had to call in a fourth!  I'm not kidding!

Because here's the deal: we had the biggest turn out we've ever had in terms of number of entries - 132! - and the overall quality of the entries was fantastic.  Really, it is readily apparent that the quality of entries in these contests is improving every time.  This means there are fewer standouts, almost none that are easy to cut, and there a LOT of pretty good ones that we have to get very nit-picky over!  It is agony, I tell you!

Before we get to the actual list of finalists, I have a couple things to say.  (I know you're shocked :))

First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time and care to write an entry for this contest.   You all did a fabulous job and provided great enjoyment for many!

Second, I'd also like to thank EVERYONE - writer, reader, or both - who took the time to go around and read as many entries as you could and leave supportive comments.  This means so much to the writers who worked hard on their stories.  It helps them see what they did well, as well as giving them the joy of knowing that their stories were read and enjoyed.  I hope you all got as much delight  and entertainment out of the reading as I did!  Plus, we got to meet quite a few new people which was a wonderful added bonus! :)

Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how difficult it was too choose!  There were so many amazing entries.  Really.  I could find at least something terrific about every single one.  The sheer volume of entries meant that many good ones had to be cut.  So if yours didn't make the final cut please don't feel bad.  There was a huge amount of competition.  Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point - we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story.  And the fact that you didn't make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn't write a great story.  Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner!  You showed up.  You did your best work.  You practiced your craft.  You wrote to specifications and a deadline.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 100 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Now.  Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:
1. Kid-appeal! - These stories are intended for a young audience, so entries that were well-written but lacked child-friendliness did not make the cut.
2.  Halloweeniness - the rules stated a Halloween story, so entries that failed to mention anything Halloween-y did not make the cut even if they were well-written.
3. Quality of story - the rules stated that entries were to tell a story, so if they appeared to be more of a description or mood piece, they didn't make the cut.  We looked for a true story arc.
4. Quality of Writing: we took note of spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  In addition, for the rhymers, we looked at rhyme and meter (for which we are sticklers!)  We also looked at overall writing quality and use of language.
5. Originality and creativity - because that is often what sets one story above another.

This time around, 5 entries sadly had to be cut because of rule problems: one was 3 words over the word limit (I counted 6 times, by hand and with Microsoft Word's word count tool, because it was otherwise a strong entry! but 131 other people managed to stay at 100 or under so I had to be strict!); two used "broom" but not "broomstick"; and 2 did not use "creak" in any form.  (And yes, I checked the word count on all 132 entries and made sure the required words were present.)

After that, the going really got tough.  Some of the stronger stories were written in rhyme where the meter didn't work as well as it needed to.  Some of the most beautiful rhyming entries with great use of language were more mood pieces than stories.  So we had to make some very hard calls.

Without further ado, I present to you the 2014 Halloweensie Contest Finalists.  A baker's dozen - 13 for Halloween! :)  A mix of poetry and prose, stories for younger readers and slightly older (but still kid) readers, funny, spooky, and cute.  Please read through them carefully, take your time, think it over, and vote for your favorite.  To help with objectivity, finalists are listed by title only, not by author.

And I'd like to be very clear about the voting process.  You are MOST welcome to share a link to this post on FB, twitter, or wherever you like to hang out, and encourage people to come read ALL the finalists and vote for the one they think is best.  Please do that.  The more people who read and enjoy these stories the better, and the more objective votes we get the better.  HOWEVER (and I want to be very clear on this) please do not ask people to vote for a specific number or title, or for the story about the pumpkin ballerina or whatever.  Trolling for votes or trying to influence the outcome is counter to the spirit of this competition which is supposed to be based on merit.  I thank you in advance for respecting this.

#1 Halloween SMS (Short Messaging Scariness)

Halloween SMS

#2 Creaky Cackle
Ever since Winnie Witch crashed into a creek, her cackle was creaky. 
Ah ha ha…hack…cough, cough…
Hallowe’en hijinks were hindered.
Broomstick in hand, she wobbled into the witch doctor’s office.
“Whoa,” said the doctor as she peered into Winnie’s mouth. “It looks like you’ve got a frog in your throat.”
“Chew this pumpkin lozenge,” the doctor decreed.
“Yuck,” Winnie gagged. Splutter, cough, cough…
Out bounded a bullfrog.
“Ba–ruump,” protested the frog and hopped off.
Ahhh ha ha ha ha…Winnie Witch whooped.
“Stay out of creeks,” the doctor yelled as Winnie Witch bounded off on her broomstick.
#3 Full Moon Rising
Full moon rising in the sky,
Owls are hooting, bats fly by.
Mummies moaning in the night,
Goblins groaning give you fright.
Milo walking down the path,
Up the steps, he hurries fast.
Floorboards creaking,
Milo’s sneaking,
Across the moonlit porch.
Past the pumpkin,
Past the cat,
Past the broomstick,
Past the rat.
To the door where spiders lay,
Waiting for their cowering prey.
Milo hears a frightening sound.
He doesn’t even turn around.
Glowing eyes behind him stare.
Ring the doorbell, if you dare!
Door creaks open.
Better not run.
Trick or Treat!
Now, let’s have some fun!

#4 Home Alone Halloween
I came home from school very excited. Halloween, my favorite day of the year.

I almost trip over the sixteen pumpkins on the porch.
With a creak, I swing the door open while calling out, “Mom?”  No answer.
The aroma of bat stew fills the house.
She’s not in the dungeon, or napping in her coffin. She must be here somewhere.
I look throughout the house, running from room to room.
Suddenly it hits me.
I fling open the broom closet. Empty. Even her broomstick is gone.
“Of course,” I said, hitting my forehead and smiling. “She is working tonight!”
#5 Sulky Spider's Spooky Webs
Sulky Spider planned a scheme 
For making trick or treaters scream.

Spider silk began to spin
A Jack 'o Web with wicked grin.
"Pretty pumpkin," cowgirls said. 
"Pretty?" Sulky hung her head.

"A webby ghost will do the trick!"
She spun a spooky ghoul up quick.
Pirates shouted, "Ghosts are neat!" 
She gobbled up her web. "Defeat."
Spinnerets began to twitch.
"A warty-broomstick-riding-witch!"
A princess cooed, "That witch is sweet."
She stomped all eight offended feet.

"I need a buggy snack," she frowned.  
Sticky thread went round and round.
She didn't hear the stairway creak.

"A spiderweb!" they hollered, "Eek!"

#6 This Year's Halloween Mascot
“No, me!”
Witch School should have been brimming with excitement. But everyone was sick of hearing Broomstick and Pumpkin argue over who should be Halloween mascot.
“No one flies higher,” said Broomstick.
“No Jack-O-Lantern shines brighter,” said Pumpkin.
Black cats cowered, paws over ears. Cauldrons bubbled their disapproval.
C-r-e-e-e-e-a-k-- the courtyard door opened to an assembly of witches.
“The time has come,” Head Mistress said. “The night awaits my decision.”
“This year’s mascot shines the brightest…” (Pumpkin’s head swelled.)
“…and flies the highest.” (Broomstick’s spirits soared.)
“Our Halloween mascot is…”
“… the Moon,” who silently took a bow.

#7 Halloween Chase
The pumpkins were glowing, but I still couldn't see
There was someone or something coming for me
I glanced over my shoulder when I heard the stair creak
My heart leapt from my chest and my legs became weak
I gasped when I saw her, all ghoulish and green
She was staring right at me, eyes angry and mean
Her broomstick was poised to crash down on my head
I wished I could fly, but my feet felt like lead
My fists began swinging, I was ready to fight
My sister took off her mask and just laughed with delight!

#8 Halloween Hide-and-Go-Seek
It’s Halloween! It’s dark, it’s spooky, it’s perfect for a game of Halloween Hide-and-Go-Seek!
Blurp! Bloop! Blub!
Are you in the cauldron?
No, just some toadstool stew.
Rustle! Swish! Swoosh!
Are you in the closet?
No, just an old broomstick.
Creak! Crack! Bang!
Are you behind the curtains?
No, it’s just the wind blowing the windows open and closed.
Scritch! Scratch! Raow!
Are you behind the chair?
No, just the cat settling down.
Giggle, Giggle
Are you upstairs?
Are you in the bedroom?
There are my little pumpkins!
You’ve had your trick, now how about your treat?

#9 The Shadow
Once upon a pumpkin moon
a rocker creaked,
the wind sighed, Soon….A Shadow stole across the lawn
and stopped upon the stair.
Ghosts and goblins roamed the streets.
They rang each bell
for tricks or treats.
As they approached they didn’t see
the Shadow waiting there.
Through the dark the children stepped,
not knowing where
the Shadow crept.
They stumbled over Shadow and
their screeches pierced the air.
Broomstick tail puffed wide with fright,
poor Shadow fled
into the night.
On Halloween a small black cat
should NOT sit on the stair!
#10 Halloween In A Box
“Skeleton!! It’s here!” Witch cackled. “Halloween in a Box! I ordered it on the Making Potions and Brew Magic website. ‘Fun Guaranteed!’”
Witch looked inside. “Pumpkin centerpiece? Broomstick garland?? Party plates??? That’s it????” She flopped onto the floor and wailed, “My party is ruined!”
Skeleton picked up the box. “I’ll be back.”
Skeleton returned with the box. “Open it.”
Witch lifted the flaps. Out jumped Black Cat, Ghost, Monster from Under-the-Bed, Zombie, his mother Mummy, and Hairy Spider.
“Now THAT’S a Halloween in a Box!” Witch screeched.
“Fun Guaranteed!” Skeleton said, dancing a creaky jig.

#11 Devious Dads And Halloween
Devious Dads and Halloween
Pumpkin creations
Under the stars,
Mama carves goblins,
Papa carves cars.
Kids from our condo,
Itching for treats,
Navigate hallways
            Bound for the streets.
            Roger plays Batdude.
            Orville’s a ghost.
            Omar rocks Elvis,
            Milly is toast.
            Sam’s owl is skittish,
            Tim acts the clown.
            Ike rides a broomstick,
            Cruising our town.
            Kids in cool costumes
Creep through the night,
Rack up the candy,
Eat just a bite.
After, in jammies,
Kids hide the rest,
Eager to keep
Dads far from the best!
#12 Snack-O'-Lantern
“Nibbles,” sighed Chester Cat. “You’re supposed to carve a pumpkin.”
“They’re too big,” the guinea pig replied. “So I am carving a Halloween-o Jalapeño. Scary, huh? Does it make you want to run away?”
“No,” Chester sniffed. “That wouldn’t make anyone run away.”
They heard the creak of floorboards and the clatter of the broomstick Buster used for fetch.
“I bet it’ll make Buster run.”
“No way.”
“Let’s see,” Nibbles challenged. Then he shouted. “BUSTER! SNAAACK!”
Buster galloped in. He gobbled the jalapeño.
His eyes sprang open.
Yelping, he dashed to his water dish.
“Told you he’d run,” Nibbles giggled.
#13 Snip, Snap, Crack
In a deep dark corner, an old lady sits.
She cackles, and snarls, and frantically knits.

Click clack go her needles.
Snip snap go her bones,
As she rocks and she creaks
and her kitty cat moans.

She conjures up spiders, and pumpkins, and ghosts
All spun from her yarn -
“I’m so wicked!” she boasts.

Don’t dare approach her,
She’s all trick and no treat.
What are you doing??
Come hither, my sweet.

Get away from that broomstick! Skedaddle! Shoo!
You’re tiptoeing closer??

Now that you've had a chance to read through the finalists, please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 5PM EST Wednesday November 5.

Tune in Thursday November 6 to see THE WINNERS!!!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote!  These contests simply wouldn't be what they are without all of you!

I can't wait to see who the winners will be!

Tune in Thursday... same bat time, same bat station :)

(And we will have a regularly scheduled Would You Read It on Wednesday too!)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a nap.


Not really.

I'm SO not a napper.

But I might eat some leftover Halloween candy :)

Have a marvelous Monday! :)


  1. Hmmm, I think I just commented on the poll. Oops! :D

    Soooo many awesome stories here! Such a tough decision! Congrats to all the fabulous finalists!

  2. Congratulations to all the finalists. Its fun to vote and I look forward to seeing who wins :)

  3. Oh these were great! I had a heck of a time deciding between my two favorites. Well done, everyone! Susanna, you are awesome for offering this opportunity- and the standards are really rising as people are honing their writing!

  4. Wow, what a job to select from over 130 entries! You deserve chocolate for breakfast, dinner and lunch today! Very grateful to be part of these terrific entries in the finals. Congrats to all.

  5. Michelle Heidenrich BarnesNovember 3, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    I am floored by the quality of these weensie stories! (And humbled too, I might quietly add.)

    Susanna, you are so generous to the PB community! Thanks for all the time and effort you put into creating a fun place for us all to come hang out and thank you especially for the time and effort you put into these contests... which clearly are becoming massively popular! Thanks to your helpers as well!

  6. Holy guacamole! What an honor!

    Though I can see by the quality other stories that I'm gonna get my butt handed to me! :)

  7. How did you manage to cull the field from 132 to 13 in a single weekend??? You must have SUPER POWERS, Susanna!

    Great contest. Lots of FUN entries. Thanks for hosting!

  8. Wow! Those were fabulous! I picked one, but it was hard to choose just one. This and the Election Day...I think I'm going to need extra chocolate. :)

  9. Ok I voted but it seems like the other twelve needed a vote too. Or at least two others! They are so good! I see and feel your pain, Susanna! What a turn out.

    Yay! All you writers. ALL you writers! You ALL did a good job.

    Thanks so much for holding this contest for us, Susanna. It was loads of pumpkin fun. :)

  10. Hooray for everybody! I am still trying to make the time to read all these stories. I am so impressed. Thank you, Susanna, for creating a lot of fun, inspiration, and camaraderie!

  11. Oh my! Oh my! You and the judges did an awesome job and picked the bulk of my favorites, too...which made it especially hard to vote. But one of these stayed with me from early on and when I read through the finalists twice just still stood out. So vote completed. I can truly say that any of these entries would be a great winner, though.
    Thanks so much for Halloweensie, Susanna. What an awesome opportunity for writers to use their skills and imagination. You're the best. Also, thanks to the other judges! They had a tough job.

  12. WOW! What an amazing array of awesome entries! Kudos to you and your judges, Susanna...what a difficult (and exhausting) weekend you must have had. And now we all have a difficult choice to make...they are all SOOOOO good. ;) Congrats to everyone who was lovely to see so many new faces. ;)

  13. Congratulations to all the Finalists!!! Woo hoo!!! Now, I have to vote. Yikes. It's so hard to choose. Everyone did so well. Great job! Congratulations again!

  14. Just reading those 13, I can imagine the hard time you and your assistants had in narrowing the list down. They each had something enjoyable, special and very appealing. Now I'm off to each chocolate chip cookies. Sending you a dozen chewy chocolat Chips-Ahoy :-)

  15. Man, it was hard to chose among these finalists. And over 130 entries! Good thing you had an extra hour this weekend, Susanna! Thanks so much. I really enjoyed participating and reading the other entries!

  16. Don't know how y'all did it, Susanna, but you picked some of my favorites! Oye, it's going to take some digesting to vote thjough- I feel your pain! ;0)

  17. Tracey M. Cox,authorNovember 3, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    GAH!!!! It was so hard to pick one, but I did. Are you proud of me??? :D
    I really had a top 4. heehee.

  18. Fantastic entries! It's been a great week reading them, though I doubt I managed all 132! Thanks again, Susanna and judges! It's been frightfully good fun!

  19. Congrads to everyone who entered and the finalists too. Wahoo. I voted. I'll be gone to Chridstopher's hospital Wed and Thurs. I'll have to check over the weekend to see the winners.

  20. Thanks so much for inspiring us all, Susanna! I'm feeling grateful to be included in such a fantastic group of entries. There are a couple here that I missed the first time around so I'm glad to see them now. I'm going to read these with my kids and see which ones they like best.

  21. Great job to all the writers! guys had your work cut out for you! Woozers!!!! It was hard...but I voted! :)

  22. Big thanks to you Susanna and the other judges for your hard work! I hope you at least ate some Halloween candy while you poured over all of the entries. Congratulations to the 13 finalists!!

  23. marvelous job culling the herd. Thanks for all your work, Susanna and judges! and Congrats to everyone who wrote a story.

  24. Wow! 132 entries! Hard to choose from all that talent, but you and your team picked some great, haunting stories--with a ton of creativity.
    Thanks for hosting, Susanna! And great job, everyone!

  25. What a difficult job! Some of my favorites are here and some missed the cut. But, thanks to the contest — the stories were created and I enjoyed them! I still hope to get through the entire list as I was on the search for the most non-cliche use of creak! That word killed. Thanks for doing this Susanna and your elves!

  26. Those were a "treat" to read, but not easy to vote on! And now that that's done, I'm going to grab my "broomstick" (which doubles as a cane) to support me as I "creak" out of this chair so I can get to the kitchen and fetch a "pumpkin" muffin :)

  27. Great contest, great finalists -- it was difficult to choose, but I did! (How you got through that marathon weekend is beyond my powers of comprehension. 132 entries???? Wow. Well done to you and your helpers, Susanna!)

  28. That was tough and tons of fun. Good luck everybody. Great job!

  29. A great deal of chocolate was consumed... :)

  30. Thanks for voting, Cathy! And I'm so glad you've enjoyed the contest. I am always so impressed by how many people show up with amazing stories - it's so much fun! (Until I have to start picking and choosing...! :))

  31. Thank you for voting, Donna! And your plan of action sounds excellent! :) I'll forewarn you now that the Holiday Contest will be upon us in a mere 5 or 6 weeks, so rev up those writing engines - I don't think you're allowed to skip more than one contest :)

  32. Some of my favorites missed the cut too, Stacy! Unfortunately I didn't think people would have the time or the patience to read through 50 finalists :) Thanks so much for writing, reading, and voting!

  33. Thanks for voting, Johnell, and for taking part! I'm so glad you had fun :)

  34. Marie-Therese MillerNovember 3, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    What fun to read these entries! It was tricky to choose a favorite, but I did. Thanks, Susanna, for sharing the writing of these talented folks.

  35. It was VERY hard to choose, Stacy! So many amazing stories! Thank you for reading and voting and being generally supportive in all ways :)

  36. This was such a fun contest, Susanna! While I didn't get a chance to visit all of the stories, I did my best to make it to some. 132 is a huge undertaking! You had a tough job, indeed. One listed above stood out to me when I stopped by the blog, and still stood out here among these fine entries, as well. Good job to all!

  37. Thank you for saying so, Sue! It's so hard to choose. And inevitable there are a lot that are so close that we end up second-guessing ourselves for days! Thanks for your terrific entry and for reading and voting!

  38. You may be assured that a LOT of Halloween candy was enjoyed by all :) Thanks for joining in the fun :)

  39. All the writers did such a great job we really DID have our work cut out for us! Thanks for your wonderful entry, Brandie, and for reading and voting!

  40. Ooh! Please share! I always love knowing which ones appeal to the kids! Thank you for joining in the fun!

  41. I AM proud of you, Tracey! I know the feeling! It was hard for us to narrow the field to 13... even 50 would have been hard with so many wonderful stories to choose from!

  42. Congrats to you, too, Rob, on a great story! Thanks for writing, reading, and voting! I hope Christopher is okay!

  43. Thanks, Julie! We really loved yours too!

  44. I'm so glad we picked some of your favorites, Donna! That makes me feel like we did okay. It's SO hard to choose!

  45. It was excruciating to winnow down to 13, Susan! We really loved your entry, I have to tell you. I'm so glad you enjoyed the contest!

  46. You are so kind, Angela! You know just what I like and are willing to share :) Thanks for joining in the fun - writing, reading and voting!

  47. Thank you for writing, reading, and voting, Cheryl! We loved your entry as always :)

  48. Thank you, Vivian! I always feel, as deserving as the finalists are, that there are quite a few others that should be up there too - but we've got to draw the line somewhere! Thanks so much for joining in on all phases of the fun as always! :)

  49. I'm so glad we managed to pick the bulk of your favorites, Penny! That affirms our choices! Thank you for writing, reading, and voting! I'm so glad you enjoyed the contest! (And I will pass your thanks to the other judges who are still smarting a little from my electric cattle prod, which I was forced to wield during a chocolate dispute :))

  50. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Mishka! Thank you for joining in the fun!

  51. Thank YOU for participating so whole-heartedly as always, Clar! :)

  52. I know where there is some... the question is, can I share? I think I can... with you... :)

  53. We do it in a single weekend because if there wasn't a deadline we'd dilly dally forever and never decide :) It's always such a hard choice! We loved your entry - poor witch - I hope she found her broomstick eventually :)

  54. We are still chuckling at the concept of a guinea pig carving a jalapeño instead of a pumpkin and then foisting it on the poor, unsuspecting dog :)

  55. Oh, I'm glad you're favorite made the list! That means we did something right! :) Thanks so much for taking part, Angie! Your entry was so cute - a great choice for youngest readers :)

  56. It is our pleasure, Michelle (and not just because it gives us an excuse to eat chocolate all weekend :)) The quality of the entries was amazing across the board, but yours was one of my particular favorites :) Thanks so much for joining in the fun!

  57. It WAS quite a job, Joanna. So I will take your "prescription" to heart. Chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner today - Joanna said I could! :)

  58. Thank you for reading and voting, Iza! The standards really are rising. It's wonderful to see. I especially enjoy seeing people who have come back for contest after contest improve their writing by leaps and bounds :)

  59. Thanks for taking part, Christie! We loved your stinky Halloween story - still chuckling over it :)

  60. Thanks so much for writing, reading and voting Jilanne! Your entry was clever and fun, and we really enjoyed it!

  61. Thanks so much for taking part, Carrie! We loved your Prankenstein story - so true to life, the behavior of those brothers! Thanks so much for writing, reading and voting!

  62. Thanks so much for reading and voting, Teri! It really was an amazing bunch of entries! I hope you are enjoying picking up your dog :)

  63. Great job, finalists! Choosing was very difficult.

  64. Thanks for reading and voting, Patricia! We missed your entry! I hope you'll be up for the Holiday Contest in December! :)

  65. Congratulations to the finalists! A wonderful bunch of stories--hard to choose just one to vote for (but I managed :) )

  66. Enjoyable reading. Amazing how the use of the same 3 words produced so many clever and different pieces. Congrats to all the finalists!

  67. It really IS amazing, isn't Marty? Thanks so much for joining in the fun! We really enjoyed your story about that poor little witch with her over-boiling pot - doughnuts and cider for me any day :)

  68. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikNovember 3, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    Great entries! :D It was hard to pick one to vote on (but I did)! :D :D

  69. Thanks so much for writing, reading and voting, Buffy! We always enjoy your very well-written pieces, and your morning after witch had us chuckling - haven't we all been there?! :)

  70. Thanks, Erik! And we really enjoyed your entry - who knew a little old lady with a list could cause such shivers?! :)

  71. Actually, I had to settle for a double-chocolate Dunkin' Donuts donut (NOT that I should be eating ANY of it! lol) And I'm VERY rarely a "contest" kinda gal :) You somehow were actually able to LURE me in with that fractured fairy tale illustration thingy you did last year. That was quite the magical feat, I'll have you know! lol I already know I won't give in for a Holiday one, BUT---you have proven you have powers that draw contestants en masse and you've been able to weaken my resolve. I am now wary of your wiley ways, so we'll see if I falter and fall prey to some irresistible spell you cast! ;)

  72. hehehe---I actually am laughing here! Yeah, like you need aNOther challenge in your life lol And me entering a contest shouldn't even make it onto your "to do" list! lol

  73. I agree with you Susanna. The quality of the contest entrees were amazing, but I made my decision. Looking forward to see if my pick won.

  74. This really is pretty much The World Famous Halloweensie Contest! Reading what talented writers have to offer is just one part of the fun. The other is the way this community keeps growing year after year through finding and subscribing to new blogs. What amazing contribution to kidlit they all are. What you contribute is the absolute most. Each year I continue to be in awe by your contests. That being said, I'm not at all sure how you're going to pick a winner. But boy howdy it'll be interesting to see which one is chosen. This was so much fun. I voted. Now the wait...

  75. We all know that Mike is a rodent-lover from way back, so pity the unsuspecting dog or cat within rodent range in his stories. I'm sure his Christmas story will find a cat being lured into a chimney by a squirrel, with the promise of scoring some smoked salmon for the holidays. And then who knows just what horrors will be in store for the poor furry feline. I think Mike may have been warped by some unfortunate childhood trauma.... :D

  76. Woo Hoo!!! These top 10% are all fabulous. Congratulations on the fantastic turnout for the contest Susanna!

  77. THAT was a very difficult decision and all I did was vote, I would never have coped with the culling process. Well done everyone, what an awesome collection of short stories. Thanks Susanna for another fun competition.

  78. I cast my vote! Great entries!! I enjoyed all of them, it was so hard to choose one.

  79. Can't believe I made the final! Some really good entries, including some of my faves. Good luck to everyone who got through, big round of applause to everyone who entered (there were some gems that didn't quite make the grade) and a huge cheer for Susanna & her judges for putting the time and effort in for us all to enjoy! :-)

  80. Oh, Jilanne,you have inspired both a Christmas contest entry and a future blog post.

    And you are also quite right: a childhood trauma did indeed brand me forever as a fan of rodents.

  81. FWIW, my 5-year-old said she really liked Sulky Spider, and Halloween-in-a-Box. But she said she would vote for mine. :-) (Last year, I didn't get her vote so I feel honored.)

  82. Hahaha! You're moving up in the world, Carrie :) Or your 5 year old is learning to be kind :)

  83. Congratulations on a terrify entry, Nick! Glad you enjoy reading the others! And yes - a huge round of applause for all who entered!!! Hurray!

  84. Thank you for voting, Barbara! I know it was a tough choice!

  85. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Cecilia! Thank YOU for entering!

  86. Thanks, Lauri, but it's all you guys! What an amazing bunch of writers! :)

  87. Thank you for all your kind words, Pam! I'm so glad you enjoyed the contest, and I agree - the best part is getting to enjoy all the talent and meet new writers. It's a wonderful community - we are so lucky!

  88. There were a lot! Including yours, Marlaina! Which as I'm sure you know by now (since I'm so behind responding to these comments) has garnered an honorable mention :)

  89. Oh yay! I actually totally missed that so I'm glad you responded to my comment. :)

  90. Check the post and email me with your prize selection :)


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