Bored of Halloween

From 1st September,
To October 15th,
I indulged myself,
In everything Halloween,

I watched every horror movie,
Every slasher flick,
I ate gummy snakes and chocolate skulls,
Until I was sick,

But in the middle of October,
Was when I realised,
I had gotten tired of,
Ghosts, ghouls and vampires,

I had had too much, too early,
And I had gotten bored,
Of seeing haunted houses,
Filled with blood and gore,

So now the day’s actually here,
And I don’t want to go,
To any Halloween party,
Or dress up as a ghost,

Now I’m ready for Christmas,
Oh, what a surprise,
So I’m sipping a hot chocolate,
Munching on mince pies.

Happy Halloween everyone! Pizza Woman is no longer free, but still be sure to buy a copy:

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Jolly Jungleland

I not only created an entire world I could escape to, but I made money from it, too.

For as long as I remember, I’ve had an entire world in my head, one that has expanded and thrived ever since I imagined it as a child. Jolly Jungleland, a place with trees as tall as skyscrapers, with markets and cafes and funfairs, where all the inhabitants were animals. The place may have been called “Jolly Jungleland”, but in it, there lived animals from all over the world. There was Clifford the Cat, who owned a clothes shop. Zoey the Zebra, who liked nothing more than to sit and read, a bit like me, actually. Eddie the Elephant, who wrote stories, a bit like…well, you can guess.

Jolly Jungleland lived up to its name. It was a happy place, where any problems were solved quickly. All it took was a speech to get Terry the Tiger to stop being jealous of Jerry the Jaguar’s spots. It only takes a day for Clifford the Cat to get business booming in his clothes shop. There was rarely any rain or storms; it was almost always a sunny day in Jolly Jungleland, and there were bright green trees and bushes as far as the eye could see.

It was where I went in moments of stress or worry. It was where I escaped to after dealing with bullies and strict teachers. I kept escaping to it as a child, and wrote about what I saw there and the animals I met. When I was a teenager, life got a little more stressful, so I went to that world all the more, and wrote more and more stories. I not only wrote more about Jolly Jungleland when I was an adult, but I got them published.

Over 75 books in print, with the promise of plenty more. A bestselling children’s book series, each entry focussing on one of the many wild and wacky residents of Jolly Jungleland. Zoey the Zebra Wants Some Peace and Quiet. Eddie the Elephant Meets the Fairies. All of them beautifully illustrated by Zachary Guinell. I’ve stared at his illustrations for hours, for they perfectly captured the world as I imagined it. When I’ve looked at them, I feel like I could reach in and touch the leaves or the sparkling rivers.

Certainly if you’ve spent the best part of your life creating a world, you might as well try and make some money off of it. Of course, income from the series has gone towards food and bills, but it has also gone into buying cuddly toys, artificial plants, paintings of wildlife and fauna, transforming my home into my own Jolly Jungleland. The first thing I saw when I woke up was a painting of a rainforest that reminded me of Zoey the Zebra’s favourite spot to read her books. I had shelves lined with animal toys and figurines, all species that had appeared in my books. I even had a rubber bat hanging from my bedroom ceiling, a homage to Barry the Bat, who worked at the Jolly Jungleland café.

One night, I awoke to see my Jolly Jungleland destroyed.

The rainforest painting that hung at the front of my bed had fallen to the floor, the glass shattered. Barry the Bat had been ripped from his spot, with his string snapped in two. The shelves were now lined with mutilated soft toys and headless figurines.

The sound of smashing from the living room had me spring from my bed.


One of my artificial plants had been flung to the floor, with the pot shattered just like the glass of my rainforest painting. Standing over it was a giant crow wearing a gas mask. Actually, its head was a gas mask; it had gigantic blank eyes and its beak resembled a filter cartridge. It carried around the stench of rotting garbage, and I swear I saw smoke coming from its back. Its wings resembled a bat’s more than they did a crow’s, only with an entire hand where bats had a thumb, resembling crow’s feet.

As I stood there frozen, I uttered the only word I could utter: ‘What?’

‘Ah, you’re awake.’ The crow spoke clearer than I would have imagined a gas-mask-headed creature to speak. It shook its head before adding, ‘How could you?’

‘What?’ I blurted out again.

‘Jolly Jungleland,’ the crow said, its massive eyes narrowing, ‘is the name of where I live. The Jolly Jungleland you write about in your books is nowhere near as beautiful as my home.’ It picked up one of my books – Terry the Tiger Goes For A Walk – with its wing hands, and turned to a page revealing a wide forest. ‘How could you allow such disgusting imagery to be published?’

It threw the book against a wall, and from its feathers, it pulled out what resembled a giant boil with a screen embedded in it. On the screen there popped up what looked like England during the Industrial Revolution; tall, crooked houses under a sky clogged with smoke. Gigantic naked trees sprung from between the buildings, threatening to engulf them with their branches.

That image faded away to be replaced by another. A street lined with cobblestones, the streetlights resembling black snakes with glowing orbs for heads. Down the street there walked what resembled a panther, only with thinner legs and a hose where there should have been a snout.

More and more images the crow-thing showed me, each filthier than the last. Just looking at them made me smell the smoke and smog they depicted. ‘Now that is beauty,’ hissed the crow as it showed me the pictures, ‘how dare you corrupt such wonder?’ When it had finished its sideshow, it said to me, ‘Consider this a warning’ and vanished into thin air.

In times of stress and worry, I would escape into Jolly Jungleland. Now I couldn’t even do that.

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The Abominable Snowman’s Halloween

I saw frost this morning,
On grass usually green,
Even though it’s still October,
Nearly Halloween,

Such a sight makes me smile,
It makes my face glow, man,
Because I like this weather,
I’m the Abominable Snowman!

I should be a Halloween icon,
Because I have scary looks,
I’m a frightening, furry monster,
But often I’m overlooked,

No-one dresses up as me,
I can’t find a yeti mask,
No Abominable Snowman decorations,
In no fame do I bask,

But when people see the frosty ground,
They may think of me,
Then they’ll make some Snowman costumes,
Which’ll give me glee,

Halloween has long belonged to,
Witches and Frankenstein,
But if Halloween is cold and frosty,
It’ll be my time to shine.

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My Haunted Memories

This story features characters from My Haunted Home and A Visitor to my Haunted Home.

Emma walked through the halls of her home, noticing how unusually quiet it was at that moment. Normally, Calvin would either be watching TV or arguing over current events with Jimmy or Stan would be making one of his famous dishes, filling the house with the sound of clattering silverware and roaring fire. The unusual peace reminded Emma of how quiet she was; were she still flesh and blood her hooves would be echoing throughout the halls.

Reminding herself of her spectral status made Emma stop for a minute to look at her surroundings, at the faded, peeling wallpaper and the dusty paintings. Even though a human was now living in this house, it looked little better than it had been for so many decades. Then again, thought Emma, the human who now lived in this house was a student, and he only lived in the house because it had cheap rent.

Many had trespassed upon the haunted house, many had even tried to take advantage of the cheap rent, but Calvin was the only one who stayed. He entered the hall, didn’t even bother to sweep the leaves on the floor and sat down at a table to check his dongle worked.

Emma trotted in, the sunlight doing nothing to diminish her ethereal glow, and he looked at her not in horror, but in interest.

Jimmy sprung in, hanging from his ghostly noose, and Calvin didn’t flee.

He didn’t even flinch when he saw Stan Skulton the flaming skull float in.

Calvin came up with a variety of explanations on the spot. After the threat of student loans, barely anything seemed scary anymore. He had watched several horror movies and played several horror games, so he was desensitised to an actual appearance of the supernatural. It was a relief for him, as he had often feared there was no life after death.

He even said, ‘Maybe I’m like the girl in Beetlejuice’ and was surprised when the three ghosts recognised the reference.

That was when he was introduced to the fourth ghost of the household; a spectral television, which, despite being an old model, could pick up almost any channel. Jimmy had found it while floating invisible around a tip, floating from a discarded TV set. Televisions had souls of a sort, manifestations of its owners memories of watching it.

Hearing about television ghosts made Calvin smile; the revelation that there is a life after death is even better when learning your prized possessions have one too. Each of the ghosts told him their favourite programmes; Emma watched the sports, Jimmy watched the news, Stan watched the cookery shows and sometimes in the evenings, they would all get together and watch a movie. All things, Calvin said, he liked watching, even suggesting he and Stan collaborate on a dish together.

Remembering the day she met Calvin, Emma said to herself, ‘I should have told him then and there.’

The ability to talk was something animals gained when they became ghosts, and Emma quietly cursed herself for wasting her gift. When she was alive, she knew something the humans in the household didn’t, and wanted to tell them all, to yell it, to scream it to everyone who lived there. She wanted to run out of her stable and let everyone know. At night, she would wish and pray for speech, so she could say what she knew.

When she gained the ability of speech, however, she never told anyone.

She kept telling herself she couldn’t tell anyone because as soon as they saw her, they ran away screaming, the very same problem that befell Jimmy and Stan when they tried to say something. There were some people, Emma remembered, that stayed to admire her, as they found a ghostly horse more majestic than frightening. When they stayed, Emma opened her mouth to tell them, yet always found herself tongue-tied.

The present Emma took another look at the hall’s walls, and the paintings that hung from them. There was also a spot where there used to be a painting, before the ghosts removed it. It was one of Emma when she was alive, standing next to the Master of the mansion. The Master was one of the house’s residents that didn’t linger on Earth as a ghost, and Emma, Jimmy and Stan were all pleased that was the case.

Emma walked out of the hall into the living room, where she saw the rest of her friends. When Calvin had come back from lectures earlier that day, he challenged Emma to a race around the house – with Emma, perpetually-energetic, winning -and was still trying to catch his breath. Jimmy and Stan floated beside him, the latter chatting with Calvin about what recipes to put in a book he wanted to publish.

Emma smiled. Stan loved cooking in life, and he loved cooking in death. He even saw his spectral form as a giant flaming skull as an advantage, using his head to cook pies and crumbles. Ghosts could eat, even though they were no longer in danger of dying of hunger, and the ghosts of this house ate plenty, especially with Calvin being there to buy ingredients.

It was because of Stan’s love of food it happened.

Again, Emma remembered her living, breathing days, when Stan was, of course, the Master’s cook, and Jimmy was the stable boy. Despite working with meat, Stan had a fondness for animals, and made sure to visit Emma whenever he could, even giving her a few extra apples from time to time. When Stan paid a visit to Emma, he paid a visit to Jimmy too, and even gave him a few treats just to make the work a little more bearable.

Both Jimmy and Emma agreed that Stan was a fine food provider, but the Master didn’t share that opinion. Every time Stan came to the stables, he had a new story to share with Emma and Jimmy, a new complaint from the Master. The scones were stale, the cake was too dry, he just seemed to like complaining.

Jimmy had a job no-one wanted, but he kept at it with a smile on his face, because he liked Emma, even sleeping in her stable some nights.

One of those nights, the Master came into the stable himself.

Emma remembered opening her eyes, and seeing the Master creep in, a glint in his hand. Looking back, she wished she had sprung up, wished she had kicked him, but instead, she just closed her eyes again, thinking it was just a dream.

It wasn’t.

The next day, Stan was found dead, stabbed in the heart several times. Jimmy was found in the stables, beside a knife and covered with blood.

Jimmy begged and pleaded and protested, saying that he and Stan were friends and he would never do such a thing, but the Master had told the other servants that Jimmy resented Stan, and they were going to believe their employer over a stable boy. Jimmy’s reason for being in the stable seemed especially unbelievable – no-one thought he could actually like his job.

After Jimmy was sentenced to death, the Master and his other servants spoke for days about why and how Jimmy could have done such a thing, with Emma overhearing the conversations, wishing she could tell them what happened that night. She even wanted to burst out of her stable, find the Master and kick him in the back with her hind legs, but there came the thought he could do to her what he did to Stan, and get away with that too.

The only thought that comforted her was that when she died, she would be reunited with her friends, and she didn’t know how true that was.

When she became a ghost, and first saw Stan Skulton as a giant flaming skull – a form he gained from the anger of his murder and his friend being wrongfully accused – all she felt was glee, imagining the Master cowering in terror at what his victim had become.

That glee vanished in seconds when Stan spoke to her. He knew who really killed him, and followed the Master everywhere he went, screaming and screeching and letting his fire burn. Many servants screamed in terror, but the Master didn’t notice him.

You were more likely to see ghosts if you believed in them. The Master didn’t believe in ghosts. He didn’t believe in life after death, which, Emma thought, was probably why he did what he did.

Murderers were more likely to see the ghosts of those they murdered if they regretted the murder or feared a haunting. The Master felt no guilt, no fear. He felt no remorse for what he did, or feared anyone finding out, so he had no reason to expect the ghosts of his victims coming to haunt him.

When he died, he never became a ghost. Emma, Jimmy and Stan knew full well where he ended up.

Yet his crime was never exposed. In fact, it was forgotten. People still expected to see ghosts in the house, so they saw Emma, Jimmy and Stan, but only because the house now looked like the type of place where you’d expect to see ghosts.

‘Hey, Emma.’ Calvin broke Emma out of her reminiscence. ‘You want a rematch?’

Calvin didn’t know the story. He never questioned why Jimmy was hanging from a noose or why Stan was a skull or how any of them died.

Maybe he thought it would be rude.

Emma wanted to tell him the story right there and then. She no longer had a heart, yet she felt it pound. She no longer had a stomach, yet she felt clawing within.

Jimmy and Stan looked at her quizzically.

If they wanted Calvin to hear the story, Emma thought, they would have told it themselves.

Over the years, they had been trying to get the truth heard. Most people, however, belted when they saw a giant skull. Most people don’t believe the words of a hanged, undead man.

Then Jimmy and Stan realised that no-one was going to listen to them, and they spent their afterlife waiting in the old mansion for intruders, just so they could have fun frightening them. They’d spring out of floors, walk through walls, make the paintings spin, filling the halls with vicious red light.

It seemed they had forgotten Stan’s murder as much as the rest of the world had.

Calvin was here. Calvin was their friend and thus willing to listen to anything they had to say.

Stan never mentioned his murder to Calvin.

Jimmy never mentioned being framed to Calvin.

Calvin never asked about their deaths.

Maybe Stan and Jimmy didn’t want to relive their deaths. Maybe Calvin wanted them to forget how that they were undead monsters.

Maybe all three of them thought it would ruin their friendship.

‘Emma,’ said the present Calvin, ‘are you alright?’

‘Yes,’ said Emma, ‘I’m fine.’

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The Thing From the Freezer on Halloween

Halloween is a cold, cold night,
So prepare yourself for an nasty fright,
For there’ll come that horrible, frosty geezer,
We all know as The Thing From The Freezer,
It’s a night of magic, and he’s a wizard,
He’ll create a fierce and powerful blizzard,
He’ll freeze trick-or-treaters on the spot,
Then grab their sweets, he’ll eat the lot,
Or he may give you an ice lolly,
But that treat’s not very jolly,
It may, at first, taste very nice,
But it’ll make your insides turn to ice,
And then it is you he’ll eat,
Because his trick gave him a treat.

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Frankenstein’s Reign of Terror


On a cold, dark night,
In fact, Halloween,
There came a sight,
That made people scream,

Marching down the streets,
Shaking the ground,
Making a fierce,
Horrific sound,

There came a monster,
Who snarled, ‘It is time,
For all of you to be killed,
By me, Frankenstein!

‘I was created in a lab,
Now I come to your town,
To destroy and kill,
And bury you underground!’

Then a man came,
To this thing with red eyes,
And took off its mask,
It was just a disguise.

It was not a real monster,
As some did assume,
It was just a young fellow,
In a realistic costume,

“Frankenstein” said to the man,
‘How did you know?’
And the man said,
‘Well, for one thing, Frankenstein wasn’t the monster’s name and he wasn’t created in a laboratory, he was created in an attic, and he didn’t kill willy-nilly but only killed those close to his creator…’

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The Unicorn


A man was lost in the deep, dark woods,
Surrounded by snarls and moans,
He darted through the twisted trees,
Hoping to get back home,

He ran and ran as fast as he could,
And suddenly he fell,
Because of gangly creatures,
That looked like they came from Hell,

They resembled human corpses,
With wide eyes and giant claws,
They looked at him and saliva,
Dripped down their rotting jaws,

All of a sudden there came a light,
Bursting through the trees,
Then there came a unicorn,
Which made the zombies flee,

‘Come with me,’ she said to the man,
‘Before more beasts attack!
Don’t worry, I’ll protect you!
Please ride on my back!’

The man rode the unicorn,
Through the murky wood,
He finally felt he would go home,
And leave that place for good,

The unicorn galloped,
To a fog-shrouded lake,
And as did,
A new form she did take,

Her mighty horn shrunk,
Into her head,
Her flesh fell off,
Making her look dead,

Her forelegs became arms,
With fingers bony and thin,
She looked at the lake,
And tossed the man in,

The poor man drowned,
For he didn’t see,
That the unicorn that came for him,
Was in fact a kelpie.


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