EIF Halloween Poetry Challenge: The Results!

The time has come, for tricks and treats, for fiendish fun and frights, and for the announcement of the EIF Halloween Poetry Challenge winning entries!

This week, we had a frightfully good response, and I would like to thank everyone who entered. I had so much spooky fun reading your entries. A special thanks to our judge, Hobbo of Hobbo’s Poems, who has been busy all week deliberating, cogitating and inwardly digesting your Halloween offerings!  Hobbo writes quirky, funny poems, occasionally with a serious message. His entry, The ballad of Adolf and Winnie deservedly won last week’s challenge. I hand over to him now for the announcement you’ve all been waiting for:

First Place: Fear by Jaya Avendel

Blood drips from his jaws
This monster preys on warm flesh
Dead dreams and crushed souls.

Jaya is a writer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia whose work has been widely published including at Free Verse Revolution, Whispers and Echoes and Visual Verse. She writes at Nin Chronicles.

Judge’s comments: ‘I like Haiku simply because they are so short that they discipline the writer to think about every word. The imagery in this is so powerful, it is haunting, shocking. Warm flesh, dead dreams, crushed souls, each adjective, each noun carefully crafted and put together.  Simply brilliant.’

Congratulations, Jaya: you managed to squeeze so much horror into so few words that you thoroughly deserve your win. I would like to offer you the chance to judge next week’s competition, should you wish to.

Second Place: An Alternative All Hallows’ Eve by Lindsay

‘Twas All Hallows’ Eve once again
But not a sound outside could be heard
Not a bark from a neighbourhood dog
Nor a squawk from a startled blackbird.

🎃

No chatter from excited children
As they wandered the dark and friendless streets
No excited laughter and squeals
As they were given more sugary treats.

🎃

Roads were eerily deserted
Doors were firmly closed
Carved pumpkins were all demoted
And skeletons were cruelly deposed.

🎃

For a new danger lurked all around
Everyone had to be aware
Times, they were a-changing
Tonight was a very peculiar affair.

🎃

No scary clowns on pavements
No grim reapers knocking at doors
No witches cackling on broomsticks
No zombies covered in repulsive sores.

🎃

Children all hid behind curtains
Reprimanded if they uttered a noise
Costumes hung unused in cupboards
Amongst the unloved and discarded toys.

🎃

No apples waiting to be bobbed
No scary stories waiting to be told
No horror films waiting to be watched
For those feeling particularly bold.

🎃

‘Twas All Hallows’ Eve once again
And nowhere could a child be seen
For a new danger lurked all around
And it’s name was COVID-19.

🎃

Lindsay hails from Whitehaven, UK, where she is a French teacher and blogger of all things parenting, teaching and Billy Joel related! She recently lobbied Boris Johnson for an extra week off at half term, and was successful only when she addressed him in her native West Cumbrian dialect language.

Judge’s comments: ‘This is a super poem, a lovely story.  It paints a vivid picture, covering just about every aspect of Halloween you could think of. The twist at the end is excellent.  It is, of course, very relevant in these Covid hit times.’ I agree with Hobbo’s comments here, a fine and frightening Halloween read!

Third Place: Stan or Stu by Valdis

I dressed up as the devil
Bedecked with horns and tail
I went to join the revel
I felt I could not fail

I wandered out into the night
The moon was bright and clear
Caring not what’s wrong or right
My aim was to bring fear

I came upon a lonely Street
I knocked with force upon the door
I heard the sound of moving feet
Shuffling on the inner floor

I’m here I cried Beware! Beware !
The woman she just softly smiled
I’ve come up from my dark dank lair
She asked what are you child ?

I am Satan come to claim
The thing that is my due
She said I know that’s not your name
They call you Stan or Stu

Would you like a treat she said
I know the time of year
And when you leave I’ll go to bed
I will not quake in fear

And so I took the offered sweet
And left her with my thanks
And off I shuffled down the street
Without committing pranks

Back home I went up to my room
And thought about the night
I said goodbye to darkness gloom
And closed my eyes up tight

And that for me was Halloween
And so the day was done
Still just a boy not yet a teen
But I had had some fun

Valdis is a retired local Government officer from Carlisle, UK. He now uses devotes his leisure time to his artwork and occasional writing. He is winner of a previous EIF Poetry Challenge and has also been a guest contributor on this site.

Judge’s comments: ‘I chose this because the story it told took me back to my childhood. It made me laugh a lot, which is important in these strange times we are living in. The rhyme a,b,a,b is also much harder to write than the usual a,b,c,b. Well done.’ Congratulations, Valdis for your evocation of childhood trick-or-treats!

An invitation to dine, if you dare:

Our judge’s final words were these: ‘Finally, if your entry was not in the top three, please do not feel too disappointed, remember that I am not a professional judge.  It was such a close call, that I could wake up tomorrow and pick a different three. Thank you again for all your contributions.’

As a special thank you to everyone for taking part, I’d like to invite you to our virtual Halloween Banquet over at Benji’s big blog. Here is the menu – choose wisely:

Wishing you a happily haunting Halloween!
Ingrid

16 thoughts on “EIF Halloween Poetry Challenge: The Results!

Add yours

  1. Well done Jaya so much power from so few words! There’s a lesson there for all of us. Also I really enjoyed reading Lindsay’s topical take on Halloween. Thanks to our judge for his kind words about my effort. Finally thanks to Ingrid for providing the inspiration for another great competition.

  2. I have such trouble keeping up a rhyming structure and still making the images flow, so I love both An Alternative All Hallows Eve and Stan or Stu!

    I am both honored and delighted to have first with my little haiku. Thank you, Ingrid, for hosting this competition and to Hobbo for musing over the many entries! I would be delighted to judge the next challenge, Ingrid, and will be in touch.

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