Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Memories GIVEAWAY

Today I am offering up three signed books -- with swag -- for a giveaway! And it's open to international entrants!

This past weekend, I asked Tessa Gratton and Tara Hudson to sign their spooky books especially for this giveaway, and I'm happy to add my own book to the prize pack. All you have to do to enter is share a Halloween memory.

Don't know what to share? Here are some of my Halloween memories as examples:

-- I was four years old for my first trick-or-treat outing. I remember that it was chilly and drizzling, and that I cried a lot. Turns out I had a fever. Oh, and the paper bag I used for gathering candy had a hole in it, so all my candy fell out on the way home.

-- When I was in grade school, my mom made a fabulous "headless horseman" costume for me. It had padded shoulders and a really high collar to hide my head. Mom fashioned a veil within the collar, so people wouldn't be able to see my face. We failed to consider how this would limit my ability to see where I was going. I ended up getting stuck in a bush when my veil was snagged by the spiky branches.

-- A year or two later, my stepfather took me trick-or-treating. He parked the truck on an incline and hopped out to walk me to the door of the first house on the street. For some reason, I left the passenger door wide-open. We visited several houses, and I claimed plenty of candy, but when we got back to the street, the truck was not where he'd parked it. In fact, it had slipped out of gear and rolled down the street, bending the open passenger door all the way back in the process. When my stepfather tried to bend the door into its proper position, it fell off. He pretty much lost his cool at that point, and Halloween came to an abrupt end.

-- I finally shook off this trick-or-treating curse in 8th grade. Maybe we were too old for it, but my friends and I dressed up and went door-to-door anyway. We HAULED in the candy. Afterwards we had a sleepover and stayed up all night playing poker with that candy. Finally -- a fun Halloween!

But wait, there's more!

When I was in grad school at the University of Kansas, I dressed up as a TriDelt. (Does anyone remember the Saturday Night Live skit -- "Delta, Delta, Delta, can I help ya, help ya, help ya?" Here's a terrible video if you don't.) Yeah, it was just an excuse to wear lots of makeup, make my hair REAL BIG, and say "Oh. My. God." a lot.

When I was in grad school at the University of Wisconsin (hey, I liked grad school), Steve and I dressed up as Pepe le Pew and Penelope. Unfortunately, the people of Madison mistook Steve for Bucky Badger. At least that's what they shouted from their car windows as we walked down the street.

If you'd like to win signed copies of BLOOD MAGIC, HEREAFTER, and THE REVENANT, all you have to do is share a Halloween memory in the comments. Gain an extra entry by tweeting the giveaway (make sure you include @soniagensler in your tweet so that I see it!). You can gain 5 EXTRA ENTRIES by sharing a photo related to your Halloween memory in your comment (a link is okay, but it would be cool if you could embed the photo).

You have until 8 AM Halloween morning (central time) to enter. I will announce the winner shortly thereafter. Like I said above, this giveaway is open to international entrants. I can't wait to read your Halloween stories!


  1. I still occasionally quote from that Tri-Delt skit...

    Pepe and Penelope! You two have the best costumes.

  2. Yikes... can I just say - NO FAIR! Trick or treating didn't hit the UK until...well actually it's STILL not big over there.

    We, instead, used to sit around in circles telling ghost stories and bobbing for apples... if you don't know what that is.. well you're not missing much, except for a wet face (waterproof make up a must). You put apples into a cauldron of ice water, tie your hands behind your back and try get one out with your teeth. In related news, Halloween usually started off the cold/flu season among your friends.

    The first time I dressed up for Halloween was the year before last (after arriving in the US)... and I dressed as (cover your eyes if you dislike extremely bad taste) Princess Diana after the car crash. There was a crown, blood, jeans and a black jacket and a nice blonde wig. I know. I'm deeply ashamed ;-)

  3. @Suze -- I've seen a Halloween episode of Poirot, so I have a good visual for the apple bobbing! How cool.

    Oh, and the same year Steve and I dressed as Pepe and Penelope, one of our friends dressed as Diana post-crash, so I'm not going to judge. Not at all!

  4. My favorite Halloween memory was actually in high school. My neighborhood was happy to let the high schoolers go trick or treating because it meant they weren't out vandalizing or trying drugs and alcohol (I lived in a fairly pragmatic neighborhood). Money was really tight that year, too tight to really allow for a costume, but I REALLY didn't want to brush of my Little Red Ridinghood costume (from Into the Woods) AGAIN. So I improvised.

    In hindsight, I probably should have asked my mother's permission first. As it was, I took a pair of jeans and a box of many colored Sharpies to school and asked all my friends to draw on the jeans. There were smiley faces and rainbows and theatre masks, and one back pocket became a rather pretty stained glass window, and many more things I can't remember. Then I found one of my mom's old peasant blouses, found a bandana, wore it around my forehead with my hair down, threw on a bunch of beaded necklaces, and went barefoot.

    I probably shouldn't have used my best pair of jeans for it.

    But my best friend, who was trick or treating with me that year, turned an old refrigerator box into a cow. The best part about that night was watching her try to get onto the back bumper in an enormous box.

    requiemofrain (at) hotmail (dot) com

  5. My costumes are jealous of your costumes

  6. I'm going to dig out a photo from my freshman year of high school JUST FOR YOU SONIA.

    This was taken at the end of Halloween, which was a school day. My all-girls high school let us come to class in costumes and it made for some hilarious moments with my friends. On the far right is my best friend (at the time), Megan, and between us was our friend Chrissy. Obviously, we aren't the sophisticated charlie's Angels we pretended to be, but it was fun.

  7. This is a very amazing giveaway. And it would mean the world to me if I could win these really great books :) Even though I don't really remember celebrating Halloween at all :\ Norway isn't big on it, so it's been many, many years since I went trick and treating. But I do remember dressing up as a devil girl, and going out in a very, very cold weather asking for candy :)
    Thank you. <3
    Love, Carina ~

  8. Halloween 1992 - I was 17 years old and new to driving. My brother, cousin and I dressed up and went out to a few Haunted Houses in the area. I wore a ghost costume. It had a removable hood. Being an inexperienced driver (or being a moron) I drove WITH the hood on. We were downtown and the roads are short with stop signs and one way streets everywhere. As it happens, I ran a stop sign. And people were looking at me all crazy... Everyone in my family got a kick out of that... My brother said, "Can you even imagine? Casper just ran a stop sign". I cherish these memories. Thanks for encouraging me to recall it! I don't even care if I win!! The memories are priceless, especially so because my brother is no longer with us..

    I'm going to try to embed a photo also!


  9. My favorite Halloween memory is from my first year of college, this year, in fact.
    I have a Wednesday-only class, so this was the closest period I had to Halloween, so I dressed up. I did my face makeup like an elf and didn't bother to put my hair in its tied-back prison.
    I walked into class with a Laptop on my arm and DnD dice (the pretty blue-green type with gold numbering) on my wrist.
    I sat down and people's eyes bored holes in my soul; I flushed.
    One finally said, "Hey Payton."
    "You look..." He struggled for words.
    "You look much more like yourself than usual."
    To my bewilderment, I saw people nodding in agreement, murmuring under their breath.
    In high school, I was always the Freak nobody wanted to talk to; so this made my life.

  10. Oh how fun! I love Halloween and spookily good books, so this is a pretty awesome post! I dont have any halloween stories as awesomely dramatic as yours though (I have a christmas eve story of looking out the window for santa when I was a kid and catching a guy trying to set our neighbor's house on fire! But I guess that's another holiday post, lol)
    I have a photo of a halloween when I was six that cracks me up. It was my little brother's first halloween, he was maybe 3 weeks old. I'm standing in a ballerina fairy costume with my grandma who is holding my baby brother and I have a big red gash across my face. It was because Id wanted to show my cat what a jack o lantern was, but that pesky cat sorta freaked out when I stuck his head in the lit pumpkin ;) I've become better with animals since then! The photo of me catches the whole moment, and I look like a ballerina fairy whose been in a street fight!

  11. My favorite Halloween memory is at the age of six. I chose ballerina as my costume, but my outfit wasn't anything spectacular, just a pink leotard & tights. I didn't come away with any amazing loot when I went trick or treating, just the standard candy. What made it special and what I remember most is being carried in my dad's arms afterwards because I was too tired to walk home. It was my last Halloween with him (car accident the following summer).

  12. My husband I thought my son's costume was adorable as we pulled him in a little red wagon to relatives' homes to trick or treat. Then my brother burst our bubble. "You dressed him like a girl!" We had in fact. Our little guy wore the cutest kangaroo costume--complete with joey in his/her pouch. Science was never my best subject.

  13. Well, my mom allways made our constumes. One year I must have been really into DragonTales, becasue I was the pink dragon Cassie. My costume had the pouch and the magic necklace and everything. I put some of my candy in the pouch, but by the time I got home it was all melted chocolate everywhere. I was exceedingly sad when I outgrew that costume.

    My other favorite was when I was my toothfairy, Celetiana. I would leave notes for her when I lost a tooth and she would leave me notes back, which I collected in a secret compartment of my jewlery box. Anyway, I was in fourth grade and one of my friends said very nicely, when we were talking about our costumes, "You know that the toothfairy isn't real, right?" I refused to believe her for at least another year.

    Thanks for the contest! :] Gabi

  14. So, I'd have to say all my Halloweens sort of blend together, probably because every year, I wore the same costume. We'd put on old clothes, one of our dad's old ties, and then Dad would light a cork so we could smudge our faces with it. We were supposed to be "hobos"...and we used pillow cases to hold our candy, and seriously? We made out like bandits, eating our candy till WAY after Christmas.

  15. My first adult halloween was last year. My husband and I dressed up. I went as the Queen of Hearts. My husband as Hunter S Thompson.
    I had everything. Pink flamingo purse. Heart headband. Heart lips. Adorable suit of card stockings.
    Unfortunately no one recognized me. My husband totally outshone me. Everyone knew who he was!! I'll never forget it. :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  16. I think the Halloween memory that is the most vivid for me was trying to attach fake straw witch fingernails onto my fingers. It took forever to put on and lasted about .. oh ... all 30 seconds!!


  17. I'm in Australia so we don't really celebrate Halloween, the only real memory I have is of a party when I was about 12. :) I dressed up as a gypsy and there were plenty of spooky decorations and flickery candles but we all ended up walking to a nearby oval and playing football, lol!

    kate185 at

  18. I tweeted about it here:!/NTFancy/status/129481875742924800

    kate1485 at

  19. When I was in grade six, I spent the entire month of October on an Athene costume. I papier mach├ęd a ball cap to make a helmet (this involved a green slinkie for the plume and a lot of yellow paint), and I made myself a shield, complete with a painted Medusa, a breastplate, a tunic and a pair of sandals. It was brilliant.

    Of course, I froze. And I spent the whole night having the following conversation:

    Person: And what are you?
    Me: I'm Athene.
    Person: What's a theena?

    But it was worth it, because the costume was so much fun. :)

  20. My Halloween memory is a work related one. My dedication to scaring people ran so high that I picked up a Ghostface costume (from the film Scream) and went into work 3 hours early, fully covered in black, gloves, trousers, long jacket and mask that pretty much made my face melt with the head. ......It was fun though as Im usually a held back, quiet soul, but for those few hours I was able to be animated and terrorise people without speaking a word.

    I dont even work there anymore but Im thinking og donning the costume and sneaking in again this coming Halloween.

  21. My favorite halloween memory was when my sister and I was watching this really scary movie in our bedroom (with the lights on). Then there's this scene where the girl protagonist screamed and suddenly all the lights in our bedroom goes off (all because of black out)and we actually scream on top of our lungs! Afterwards, we hastily run out of the room laughing because of what happened.


  22. One year on Halloween (I was really little, so maybe first grade?) I woke up in the middle of the night to scratching sounds in my closet. After I screamed and my parents showed up, we found a mouse eating all my Halloween candy :( I was crushed, but my mom managed to find a few pieces of candy for me the next day :)

    Thanks for the fun contest!

    al at

    I tweeted about the contest:!/Ani_Lou/status/129537170817036288

  23. Can I add this one because I forgot to include this on my first comment: (please)



  24. I've never really been into Halloween. There weren't many kids in my neighborhood, so Trick or Treating opportunities were lacking.

    I remember dressing up as Annie. The wig was neon orange and horrid.


  25. I don't have a photo, but I do have some Halloween stories to share.

    Back in the late 50s and early 60s, being the middle of seven children didn't leave a lot of money for Halloween costumes. Old sheets always came in handy, though. Mom wrapped sheets around us so we could either be mummies or ghosts--take your pick. When we got older we bought flimsy masks from the dime store and bundled up in our winter coats. My brothers sometimes went as cowboys or soldiers.
    And we really did have to tell a joke or do a trick to get a treat.

    Halloween Joke: How can you tell girl ghosts from boy ghosts? Girl ghosts have boobies and boy ghosts have hallow weenies.

    One woman in our neighborhood gave out home-made hard red-candy apples. Best. Halloween. Treat. Ever.

    One year my younger brother, who was about 10 at the time, insisted he didn't need his older sisters to trick or treat with him. After a long night of trick or treating he had filled up his pillowcase and headed home. On his way to our house he got beat up by some older boys who took away all his candy.

    Such was Halloween in the City of St. Louis--back in the day.

    dvolkenannt (at)

  26. I ddidn't see the other entry points there when I posted earlier.. I retweeted your initial Tweet, and here is a photo of me as Princess Diana DURING the car crash (sorry folks)

    BTW, can't enbed the photo :(

  27. Everyone -- your stories are amazing and sweet and poignant! I am so very grateful that you've shared them!

  28. I don't really celebrate Halloween.. but I remember once, when I was younger, I wanted to be a Greek Goddess, so I wrapped one of my mum's white bed sheets around myself and stuck some of those gorgeous Autumn leaves onto an old headband for a crown. Then I strolled around the house like I was the Queen or something. HAH!

    And this other time, I opened the door to 'Ghostface' from Scream. Needless to say, it was tres scary!

  29. When I was five, my mom made me an Underdog costume. My brother was two, and she made him an awesome blue and yellow dinosaur costume. This was his second Halloween, but the first where he was old enough to realize what was going on. After the second or third house, when he realized that someone gave you candy after ringing the doorbell, he looked at my dad (who was carrying him) and said "Next one?" For the rest of the night, after every house, he continued to ask, "Next one?" Although I probably thought it was annoying at the time, looking back, it was pretty adorable.

  30. When I was a kid my mom always set up a scarecrow stuffed with hay on our porch. Well one year my brothers and I are walking back up to our house with my grandpa after Trick or Treating. All the sudden the scarecrow jumps up and runs at me. I screamed and ran, honestly it was lucky I didn't wet myself. Turns out while we were all out getting candy my mom dressed herself up in the outfit with the sole purpose of scaring the crud out of her kids. I never let her set it up again!

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  31. So Halloween in the UK is a little different than in the US. My favourite Halloween memory is actually from the US when I was an au pair. A bunch of us went on our first ever haunted hay ride and it scared the crap out of me! That same year, I dressed as a wench and took the kids trick or treating :)

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  32. TheGirlOnFire's story is so funny!

    I don't have a funny story, but my favorite Halloween memory always makes me smile. When I was about 6 I really, really wanted to be a unicorn for Halloween. For some reason, the rest of the world wasn't quite as unicorn crazy as I was then and so finding a unicorn costume in the store proved difficult.

    Not wanting to disappoint me, my mom enlisted the help of my grandmother and together they worked for a month straight sewing me a unicorn costume from scratch. I wish I had pictures to share, but it came out looking just as good as a store-bought costume and I was so beyond happy with it.

  33. There are two Halloween memories that I remember...clearly, lol!

    One year, my family planned this whole thing where everyone in my family had to come dressed up. It was kind of a big deal because the guys, you know, normally wouldn't, but this year - every single person was dressed up and it was awesome! Down the hallway, we covered the walls with black garbage bags and at the end of the hall we had a black light flashing and it was so disorienting but totally cool. We played various games throughout the night and when it came time to go trick-or-treating, we all just stayed inside and the kids went from room to room in the house, trick-or-treating from my brothers and sisters. All my nieces and nephews lined up and down the hallway, into the kitchen and everything. We had loud, scary music playing and it was just a fun night!

    In 2008, on Halloween we went and hung out at my sister's house. This year, my sisters and sister-in-laws planned a scavenger hunt for the kids. My sister, my nephew and I were the team leaders and we each had 5-6 nieces and nephews on our teams. It was so fun because we were digging through piles of leaves in the backyard at night looking for clues, we had to look through carved pumpkins for our next clues, we had to run throughout the whole house looking for clues...and it was just a lot of fun. My team would have been first place but we didn't get one clue so we lost to my nephew's team, haha! BUT we did come in second so it was all good! LOL

    Those two years were the best! :)

    Here's a picture from the year we did the scavenger hunt: :) I was Spongewoman (I LOVE Spongebob, to this day, I still do! LOL) and my nephew was Spongebob. My baby niece was a bumblebee!

    I tweeted here:!/BooksOverBoys/status/130691207025266688

    Thanks SO much for the giveaway!

    P.S. It's midnight here, lol! I FINALLY got to a computer. :) I hope I win, hahahah! Goooood night!

  34. Clearly, it's way past my bedtime that I didn't include a way to contact me.

    My twitter handle is: BooksOverBoys. Just you know, in case my luck feels bad for me for staying up so late and it pulls through for me and I somehow end up winning. ;)

    *fingers crossed* Alright, I'm off to bed!

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