If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve liked writing and telling stories for a long time. Back in elementary school, we had what was called “Writer’s Workshop”, and there were no two words I loved hearing more (other than “pizza Fridays”). Writer’s Workshop was where they taught us to write, obviously, and we were encouraged to make up stories, fictional or otherwise for the sake of writing practice. It was one of the few things I always looked forward to in school because it let me cut loose my creativity.
When I got to first grade, out of nowhere I began this annual story whenever October rolled around. It chronicled the exploits of two young brothers, Ross and Ryan, who lived pretty much in exactly the same middle-of-nowhere, surrounded-by-hills neighborhood that I did growing up. The hills that surrounded their little slice suburbia were home to a terrible menace that appeared every Halloween, a monster that if not defeated before the night’s end would wreak havoc around the neighborhood. Ross and Ryan made it their mission to stop the monster. With my six-year-old brain, I called it The Halloween Monster, and every school year it got a sequel, appended with a Roman numeral I was so proud of knowing.
One of many things I learned from video games, really
Thinking back on it, it’s totally easy to see how silly it all was, but at the same time I gotta hand it to myself, because each time the monster returned it came back stronger, and different. It started out looking pretty much like a Terror Dog from Ghostbusters, and no, offering it a milk bone did nothing to quell its wrath. Upon the monster’s first return, it got big bull horns. On its third appearance, it sported a turtle shell to protect it. The fourth sequel saw the monster with big superfluous wings, and in the fifth and final appearance it had a spiked, Stegosaurus-like tale and heat vision! Needless to say, the brothers had their work cut out for them. I believe there were also some restrictions, where the monster could not leave the hills in which it skulked, but in The Halloween Monster IV I threw everyone for a loop and the titular monster was able to move down from the hills, stalking the brothers in their own yard.
As it was all written in my school notebooks, I also had a large white space at the top of each page, which I used for drawing out little scenes that were written within the lines of the page, and of course a nice large title card drawn at the top of the first page. I had a blast drawing the heat vision the monster could see in, and it’s funny to think about having drawn the brothers in the flannel shirts common of the time.
The wavy, long hair was also a must. Hubba hubba
In the end, the brothers were victorious in not only stopping the monster each year, but upon encounter V, they managed to completely defeat it, saving their neighborhood from an annual Halloween menace. I believe the brothers sealed the monster in some mystical urn they buried under the hill, or…something. As I remember how wild my imagination got as I wrote the stories, it feels a lot like those campy teen horror movies from the 90s and early 00s. Which is odd, because I didn’t really watch any of those – I was a scaredy-cat, y’see. And like seven.
It was a very fun ride, creating a series like that when I was so young. I suppose it was the first point at which I got attached to the characters of a story I wrote, despite them really just being nothing more than facsimiles of my brother and me. The monster sort of symbolized the evolution of the series. The brothers grew older, yet they remained the same stalwart souls they had been throughout, but the monster, the monster evolved, it gained new traits that only amplified its original self. The viciousness was there always, and it became amplified with whatever other monstrous things I could stick onto its scaly hide.
Maybe I should revisit the concept for funzies. I mean, reboots are big right now, right?