Our traditions remind us of who we are and how far we have come. For the last decade, a group of friends have come together every year for a Halloween Challenge. We all write stories and read them to one another before Allhallows Eve.
In order to encourage creativity, the rules are simple: write a story suitable for Halloween. The themes are varied, and the feelings evoked range from laughter to uneasiness to outright terror. There is no maximum length, but with the number of participants shorter is always better.
It is not required for the event to take place on Halloween. This is due to the difficulties of coordinating schedules and the desire to enjoy that particular night in a more relaxed fashion. So, we usually get together the weekend before, and it lasts for a whole day.
The number of writers has changed. Some years there have been more participants and others less. But the trend is moving upward, with offerings even from those who cannot physically attend.
Stories can be written throughout the year, so long as they are ready by Halloween. Individuals are encouraged to read their own stories, but they can have someone else read for them. There is a certain performance aspect in the reading, since it can enhance the qualities already present in the work.
A good time is had by all, and there have been some truly exceptional offerings. We discuss a tale after it has been read, and extol the qualities of each at the end of the night. It is not a competition, but there is a desire to surpass what you wrote last year. Through the hardest of times and the most grievous of losses, the tradition has endured and it is hoped that it will continue indefinitely.