word square october

Belle and the cat

Here in the UK, it’s slowly getting colder, the trees are losing their leaves and the nights are drawing in and Halloween is looming. The time when the veil is thin between this world and the next. Originally known as All Hallows’ Eve and before that, Samhain.

Throughout October my writing prompts will all have a flavour of Halloween about them and this month’s word square is full of the things associated with the festival as it is celebrated by children. The challenge is to come up with a spooktacular contribution suitable for the youngest in your family. In my family that happens to be my dog Belle and I’ll be trying the challenge out on her!

My effort is below.

Belle watched the cat with a wary eye. It was often in her garden leaving her responsible for a constant patrol up and down lawns, along overgrown paths, through well-stocked borders and across low walls hung with Halloween lights.

Framed in the orange glow of the lights she settled down to wait and see where the cat would appear next. Before long another glow appeared. She turned slightly to look more closely and watched as the glow resolved into a denser mist before changing again into the shape of a person. A ghost perhaps? 

Now it’s your turn. Why not use the comment area below to share your spooky offering?

word square october



  1. Halloween pumpkins drive me bats
    Kids playing tricks,
    Ghosts and black cats.
    Can an alien be orange or is that a trick question?
    There’s a spider on the door but it doesn’t stop the Bogeyman
    Asking for sweets or a treat.
    An apple doesn’t satisfy him
    I’ll have to try to frighten him
    Dressed as a wicked fairy with an owl on a string.
    Halloween’s a laugh when you’re 6 years old
    But I am pushing 70 and it’s time to call a stop.

    1. Love it Kay – and all the words used much more succinctly than I managed. Made me smile especially the line “Can an alien be an orange” – when you read mine (written before I came to yours) you’ll see why. Lx

    2. I concur with Lesley. Using all the words is a challenge and I must admit that my effort really doesn’t hit the mark – in fact I don’t think it even gets out of the starting gate. In my defence I was rather tired yesterday when I was writing it and I’m not that into Halloween to be honest 😉

      1. Whoah! I think we ought to have a guideline (or maybe even a rule) on here…NEVER apologise for your writing! Write what comes in the moment – and these prompt sessions are for fun, for practice, for playing with (aren’t they?).

        Second: the challenge you set is to write a piece using one word from each line, or one from each column. The fact that some of us insist on making life difficult for ourselves doesn’t mean… ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT MEAN… that everyone else needs to follow that road.

        Keep it fun. Life is not a competition. 🙂

  2. I went into story-mode for this one… not sure I met the brief of writing for the youngest one in my family, but then I don’t really have much in the way of family, so I get to cheat…..
    ~ / ~


    “I still don’t get it,” the Alien said, hanging by its last threads of strength to a tree that was trying to tell it to just let go.

    “If I’m honest,” the Tree replied with all the patience of a cave-dwelling spider, “I’m not sure I do either. Let me ask you: you’re not really an Apple, are you?”


    “I am definitely an Apple Tree, so you cannot be an orange…oh, my goodness, that would explain it…are you an orange? Please, tell me you’re not an orange.” The Tree was shaking now, and not just because the wind had picked up or because Owl had landed with his usual sudden weight and lack of respect for ageing limbs.

    “Oh, Owl, it’s you,” said Tree. “I love your visits but please try to land more lightly. I’m not an Oak you know. It is always such a treat to have you here, I always learn something, but my bendy branches are getting old and achy.”

    Tree calmed down a little. She liked Owl, who was wise and gentle, if a little on the sudden & heavy side.

    She withdrew a little more sap from the Alien fruit, which she’d figured out probably wasn’t an orange. The thing was: none of her apples had ever spoken to her before, much less insisted that they really didn’t want to leave home. She shook that branch a bit more deliberately. But still it clung on.

    Owl turned his head 180-degrees and back again. It was his party trick. Then he turned it the other way. He thought it made him look cool. To Tree he said “Would it really be so bad, if it was an orange? Fruits and sweets come in all colours and shapes you know?”

    “As for you young-fellow-me-lad” he said turning to the Alien and using an odd speech that he’d probably picked up from reading too many human books from too long ago, “it’s nearly Halloween, you are ripe and ready to go. Just drop into that soft grass, and you’ll be sprinkled with fairy dust, and collected up soon enough. There’ll be all manner of games to be played, and you will be loved for who you are all along the way.”

    He didn’t mention the bobbing game, or the one where apple skins were curled and tossed over shoulders. He didn’t want to frighten Apple – alien or otherwise. Besides, most apples took this as their due, to give back their juice and sweetness and knowledge to those who had allowed them to spend all summer long ripening in the sun, talking to the bees, having a long and happy life in the tree. We all have to go sometime.

    Alien apple clung on all through the evening. He was deafened by the church bells that rang. He couldn’t see Mrs Smith as she lit her pumpkin lantern and put it by the doorstep, her puzzled tabby sniffling around her ankles, not understanding this strange idea of taking the food out and not eating it, putting a light somewhere other than where it would show up the best mouse-trails.

    Then again, any woman that thinks Bogeyman is a good name for a cat is missing a few marbles. I mean, would you want to be out in the evening shouting “Bogey, here Bogey!”?

    When the last of the sun slunk away behind the orchard, the Alien spoke again. “No,” he said, “what I don’t get is why you keep talking to me as if I’m a fruit, when all I’m trying to do is get some sleep in the shade.” With that, the bat gave up the ghost; he knew there’d be no more rest, so he unfurled his wings, stretched his body, released his claws from the branch and flew away.

    ~ / ~

    1. Brilliant Lesley and excellent for the youngest ones too – it really made me chuckle a lot and I must admit the twist at the end was unexpected. Genius 🙂

    2. What a great twist – never saw that coming! And I loved the tree with aged limbs – I know how that feels….

  3. A pumpkin patch of orange
    and black
    He’s hiding behind a witches hat
    One eye open, one eye closed
    The bogeyman stops and stares at my rose
    Picked perfectly from my garden of leaves
    Filled with fairies, and spiders and sweets
    He walks over under the halloween sky
    ‘Trick or treat?’ With a glisten in his eye

  4. Halloween

    When pumpkin-festooned porches
    glow with orange, alien-like heads
    wearing skeletal grins
    my four-year-old niece
    doesn’t bat an eyelid.

    Unfazed, she’ll hobnob with hobgoblins,
    bats, and ghouls
    ghosting the streets
    like black cats –
    an unholy alliance
    of kindred spirits,
    the devil’s disciples
    at the academy of trick or treat.

    For all these
    she has the wisdom of an owl,
    or a good fairy,
    because she knows
    the only real Bogeyman is a spider.

  5. I think I got them all in…
    This was Benny’s first Halloween as a ghost and he was feeling a bit nervous. Once more he ran through what was expected of him.
    “So, when you flick your tail, I have to run like a bat out of…”
    “Ah ah,” the cat took a bite of her apple. “No need for bad language with kids around.”
    “Like a bat out of… a dark cave and scream like I’ve just seen a spider.”
    The cat nodded. ‘Make sure you don’t trip over the fairy lights. You scare the kids who are out trick or treating, they drop their sweets,”
    “And I swoop in and get them,” the owl said.
    “Benny, why are you orange? Ghosts aren’t usually…”
    “I’ve come as a pumpkin,” Benny grinned proudly.
    Owl rolled his eyes. “You look more like an alien than a bogeyman.”
    Benny’s shoulders slumped.
    “I think you look great,” the cat said, accurately throwing his apple and knocking owl off his perch.

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