High school Halloween story contest winners


Carol Johnson

The top three participants in the Parnassus Halloween writing contest were Gabrianna Bruestle (3rd place), Connor Reilly (1st place), and Autumn Mauer (2nd place).

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Parnassus Halloween story writing contest.


1st place


A Poem by Connor Reilly

Once as a teen

I walked a path

Against all caution

That night, Halloween night

How cliche

Woods surrounding me

Woods comforting me

Something’s off

No breeze

No crickets


What could this be?

A creature amongst creatures?

Then I hear it

A call

A simple deer, but not so simple

The forest is silent for one of its own?

This is not right

The corner of my eye catches it

There it is

A simple deer, not so simple

I see only its head

Right away, it’s obvious

This is not a deer

The malice in the eye

The mold on the nose

The rot consuming the face

The antlers, sorrowful, jagged

I freeze, it stands

Tall, almost as tall as a tree

Man’s body

Horrid black veins

Grey skin, like a corpse

Decaying cloth pants

It lives unwillingly

It moves, I cannot

Walking up to me

Standing in front of me

I smell it’s rot

It sniffs at me

It raises its hand

It tries to touch me

That moment




It all came rushing to me

I run


As fast as I could

The fastest I ever ran

The call

Almost a scream

What does it want?

Does it want my pain?

Does it want my suffering?

Does it simply want me?

No time to think


The woods disappear


Once again

I look back

A simple forest, not so simple

One last time

The call

I stand for a moment

I turn around, and head inside

It’s time to sleep


2nd place

The Forest

by Autumn Mauer


It was weird, how he felt, that is. He thought he had heard the trees and grasses and flowers just beyond the line of maples and oaks beckoning him. “Vipin,” he’d heard. He was standing there, listening, focused on the words he thought he’d heard. Vipin had many thoughts, though. Most people thought he was insane. He mentioned the speaking woods to others, but no one ever believed him. He probably never would have considered entering the forest if he hadn’t wanted to know what the plants were saying. It intrigued him, really. Just the sounds coming from the woods. Someone in passing would have heard it and let themselves believe that it was really the wind, but others might have gotten sucked in by curiosity and wonder, and perhaps the slightest bit of paranoia. 

Upon passing the outside line of tall oaks and ferns, he could hear the voices more clearly. They were whispering something about him, he could tell. He felt all of the invisible eyes of the forestry settle on him. “Vipin, come deeper into the forest. We have such lovely things here for you.” The verdant foliage had begun saying more than just his name. He knew now that it wasn’t just the wind or the settling of the leaves. He stepped further into the mass of leaves and branches to see what ‘lovely things’ the trees could possibly have for him.

The deeper he went into the forest, the sleepier he got. Vipin’s eyelids got heavy and the last thing he saw before passing out completely was the rapidly approaching ground.

He awoke to the sound of his own labored breathing. When he tried to rise to his feet, he found that he couldn’t. It took a minute for him to realize that while he was asleep, the moss and ivy vines had completely pinned him to the forest floor. He noticed that his mouth was slowly being covered by the aforementioned ivy and moss, and it was creeping its way up his face. “Stay with us forever, Vipin.


3rd place

by Gabrianna Bruestle

In my town everybody knew everybody. It was small and quaint, most families living here have been for decades and never planned on leaving. It was the year of 2007 my friends and I were seniors in high school. All of us were ready to get out of there already and go out and experience the world, but we did enjoy the little things about our tiny community: the late night walks, wandering through the woods together, exploring every little inch of the tiny town. We knew just about everything that went on in town, and where everyone lived. Though, there was just one house that we never saw anyone go in or out of, ever. It was a beautiful, big, old Victorian house with a big wrap around porch, obviously run down over the years of vacancy of course, but it was still a piece of art in it’s own right. 

Every year around Halloween, my three friends and I had joked about going there and exploring inside of it, but every year we chickened out before we even made it to the house’s street. That was of course until this year. 

Our senior year we grew ballsy enough to actually step into the house for the first time. We strolled right up to the door and surprisingly found it unlocked. Cautiously we entered, trying to be as quiet as possible. Looking around the front room there was an entrance to a larger room and on the right there were steps to go to the upstairs. It was oddly well kept, there even looked like the lamps were freshly cleaned and replaced with new bulbs. We all walk past the stairs and the lights flicker on, making us jump and huddle closer to one another. We slowly moved into the large room and it was finely furnished with a few love chairs and a full grand piano. I strode over to the piano and plucked a few of the keys finding it freshly in tune. I stepped back and rejoined the group. 

They were moving through the rest of the room and to the left where a fancy dining room sat, a large table in the middle adorned with places and silverware, in the middle sat a freshly cooked roast, the sweet smell of it drifting over to our noses, making our mouths water. Taking a few bites the meat was warm and tender, with a slight sweetness that danced on the tongue. Glancing over to the right, a mirror hung on the wall reflecting the dining table, but something was off, there was only four of us in the room, yet reflected in the mirror was five people. I stopped cold, my heart pounding out of my chest, I screamed and ran from the room pointing at the figure in the mirror. My friends followed in suit as I ran out the front of the house, my feet barely touching the ground. We stopped in the yard and looked back, catching our breaths. Looking up to the front door, which was still open, I saw the figure once again, but this time in the light. It looked just like me, my stature, my face, my eyes, everything. It was grinning and staring through my soul. It opened its mouth in a maniacal laugh and then the door slammed shut. We all left emotionally scarred. By the time Halloween came around the next year, we stopped out front of the house and I could make out my face staring at me through the window, with the same grin.