Spooky Samhain 2018 Contest


1. ‘Just Up the Street and Back’ Jef Rouner 
2. ‘The Great Man’ James Dorr 
3. ‘Falling Up’ John Haas 
3. ‘Keep Me Company’ Philip Ivory
4. ‘Last Dance’ Bryn Schurman
5. ‘The Last Sacrifice’ James Paris
6. ‘Eyes of Corn’ Alexandria Baker
7. ‘My Little Katie’ Summer Robbins
8. ‘Serpent’s Head’ Thomas Vaughn
9. ‘Beyond The Locked Door’ Morgan Chalfant


Thank you for the submissions!  We will be reaching out to contact our winners by September 15th.

OPQ Presents:

The 2018 Spooky Samhain Stories Contest

Do you have a scary story to share?  Fiction, fact, or otherwise, share your prose with us and you, too, can win up to $100* and get your story printed.  Enter your submission today!  Contest will be judged by a panel of three impartial judges, all of whom have a vested interest in the unknown.  Scare us, terrify us, and thrill us!


Contest Rules:

  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please only send us one story at a time and if your story is accepted elsewhere please email us and let us know ASAP.
  • Many will enter, few will win.
  • Entrants cannot be related, legally or otherwise, to OPQ staff
  • Entries must be emailed to submissions@oklahomapaganquarterly.com by August 31st, 2018 to qualify.
  • Entries must match one of the following three themes: ‘True Tales of Terror,’ ‘Spooky Semi-True Stories,’ or ‘Fantastic Frights’
  • No entry fee necessary!
  • Note: entries will be judged based on quality, thematic appropriateness, and writing chops.
  • Though we want to be scared, there are some things that are off-limits.  As with our normal morality policy, OPQ will automatically reject stories that involve pedophilia, excessive gore, violence for violence’s sake, and non-consensual sex.  As always, we would prefer stories that use religion and/or spirituality as an uplifting theme or a bridge towards a larger, thematic discussion, rather than being derogatory towards one specific religion.  That being said, we enjoy looking forward to what your twisted imaginations come up with!



Entries must follow one of the following themes:

‘True Tales of Terror’ are reserved for true experiences you’ve witnessed.  Ritual gone wrong?  Cryptid got a little up close and personal?  Alien attacks at night?  Send ’em in.  We wanna see every one of them, no matter how small.

Guideline: 1k-4k words.  Above or below this limit, within reason, is fine.  (Not to exceed 10k words)

‘Spooky Semi-True Stories’ are maybe tall tales, maybe not.  They’re more fantastic stories that the reader may not want to know are real or not.  Consider a well-crafted story about a shopping mall that may or may not have undergone a quarantine that the local news covered up.  The point here is that the reader questions whether the story could have happened or not.

Guideline: 3k-6k words. Above or below this limit, within reason, is fine.  (Not to exceed 10k words.)

‘Fantastic Frights’ are out and out fiction, the kind of stories there’s no way to fake.  We’re talking full-scale zombie apocalypse, axe-wielding clowns, and the works.

Guideline: 5k-10k words. Above or below this limit, within reason, is fine.  (Not to exceed 10k words.)

Note that we cannot take characters or fiction that is not 100% original, though loving homage is always appreciated and encouraged.


*Prize money is divvied up as follows:

1st place: 100 dollars plus contributor’s copy

2nd place: 50 dollars plus contributor’s copy

3rd place: 25 dollars plus contributor’s copy

All 7 runner-ups have the choice to have their pieces printed in our Samhain 2018 edition, and will receive a contributor’s copy as payment for their entry.


All payments will be delivered via Paypal, Venmo, or awarded in person.



Got it all down?  Go ahead and submit to us today!

16 thoughts on “Spooky Samhain 2018 Contest”

  1. Hi there, quick question: what word count are you looking for in your stories? super short flash fiction, under 1000 words? regular short story, up to 7500 words? anything is cool? thanks in advance! =)


    1. Hey Iszian, should have been clearer about that. We don’t have hard limits as this is the first year doing the contest, though I can imagine more than 10k words would tax some of our judges. I’ll update the guidelines above on the page, but in general, I would expect it to go like this:

      -True Tales of Terror: Between 1k-4k words, above or below is fine within reason
      -Spooky Semi-True Stories: I would imagine these would be most effective between 3k-6k words.
      -Fantastic Frights: Around 5k-10k words would be appropriate


  2. Question about plot points that are verboden.
    Does the forbidden areas include characters talking about those areas. but not in blow-by-blow detail? For example, a character talking an instance of non-consensual sex that occurred years before, and that has shaped her life?


    1. There’s a line in the sand somewhere between discussion of events that happened and portraying it for titillation or as a source of horror, and we’re mostly concerned with the latter two points, so a plot point like that would be acceptable.

      It’s mostly so we can avoid any slasher-styled murder/pedophilia/rape-fetish stories truth be told.


  3. I have a question on formate: Are there any specific guidelines that you prefer? Is .doc ok, or would .txt be better? Is there a font you prefer over any other? Also, should I put the name of the contest as the subject, or the type of story as the subject? Would you like a bio, or do you prefer blind submissions? Sorry to nick-picky, this is my first time submitting to you.


    1. We strive for Standard Manuscript Format. Our submissions page has a bit more to say about it but in general:

      .doc, .docx, and .rtf files are acceptable. Font: Whatever is legible. Times New Roman 12 point font is best.

      Email subject line should ideally be: SUBMISSION (Category): (Story Title)

      Bios are fine, we like to know a bit about your history.


    1. Absolutely not. We take stories of all sizes and shapes. What matters is craft so please… send it in. I’ll say this–the more submissions we get (and we’ve had a substantial amounts thus far) the more likely the judges are to be able to focus on a smaller piece.


  4. Do the stories need to have a connection to Paganism or any religion in general? I’ve written a multitude of stories where any single one of them would work for your Fantastic Frights call-to-submit but most all of them allude to religion in passing if at all. I just wanted to make sure I understood better what you’re looking for before I submit!


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