It’s become an annual tradition here in October Country to share my Essential October Reads, those works that best capture the essence of the Halloween season for me. This year I’ve asked some of my favorite authors to share their own Essential October Reads with us.
Today we’ve got a little something different from Norman Prentiss, an author who sometimes uses “his” holiday to take a break from the scary stuff and let others do all the work.
I tend to forget a lot of people’s birthdays. Honestly, some years it’s tough for me to remember my own birthday.
Being a horror writer, I can’t exactly forget Halloween. My whole year is supposed to revolve around it. But somehow, I almost always forget to prepare for it properly…
I blame my glasses. Never having any success with contact lenses, I’m left with these contraptions on my face that would utterly destroy the best effect of the cool masks I’d want to wear. Imagine Dracula wearing wire frames, or the mummy in bifocals. When I was a kid, I could get a ready-made plastic Casper or Phantom face, and it would be easy and fun to dress up. Now, I’d have to plan way in advance, maybe do some craft project on my own to make a costume I’d be proud of. I always have a good idea, but never the right follow-through.
So it turns out that my friends and co-workers—many of them not even horror fans or readers—will shame me each year with their elaborate, inventive costumes.
And maybe that’s okay. Part of the enjoyment for me, aside from turning down the lights and hiding when the young’uns ring the doorbell, is watching everybody else celebrate “my” holiday. It’s a day when I can let other folks do all the work, and basically have a spectator vacation. It’s a time when cable channels will show the movies that I already own and have watched earlier in the year, making TV as cool as it should be all along. And it’s one day where I know nobody will look at me and say, “You write horror? I hate that stuff!” It would look especially silly if the guy who said that was wearing a werewolf outfit…
Norman Prentiss is the author of numerous short stories, poems and essays. His latest releases include The Fleshless Man from Delirium Books and Four Legs in the Morning, a collection of three linked stories now available as an eBook from Cemetery Dance.