's 2018 Horror Write-off:

Pig Night

Submitted by Spencer Farrington (email)

(Author's note: I wrote this hastily at 5 AM because I had the words "Pig Night" stuck in my head for some reason)

Bro, bro! Chill bro! Chill! It’s nothing, bro, it’s just Pig Night! Pig Night, bro! Please dude, chill out!

The tipsy college kids were still yelling and shouting even as the recipient of their prank frantically tried to pull his head out the over-sized leather pig mask they’d shoved on him. The insides were greased with fake blood and lard, staining his skin even once he finally managed to pull it off, eliciting nervous, sputtering spit-take chuckles from the younger folks as their middle-aged victim groaned with disgust while wiping his eyes free of the slop. He looked like a pissed off, wrinkly tomato with a ring of gray hair on the sides of his head.

You shits! You shits! What the hell are you doing?!

Pig Night, dude! Just chill, it’ll wash off!

What the fuck is Pig night?!

Aunt Gertie made sure the doors were bolted shut tight that night. The blinds were drawn, and the outside lights had been turned off completely, while the indoor lights were on in every room of the house. She knew, of course, that all those rumors about the “Pig Night Prowlers” were just overblown clickbait foofaraw- even if they were true, the culprits had only stolen a couple things. It was just the costumes that scared people, really- no different than regular robbers, otherwise. Still, those costumes were enough to make her want to take extra care. She shuddered just thinking about it.

How the hell did they get those masks so slimy looking?  And for that matter, why? Pigs were supposed to have hair, weren’t they? As she worried and fretted alone in her old brownstone townhouse, it finally clicked for her, just in time for her to realize that she’d left a window open upstairs.

Maybe they weren’t supposed to be pigs at all. That was for people like her.

The costumes were just getting worse and worse, thought Carlos, as he watched the Pig Night party unfolding through the windows of his neighbor’s house. They were just so tacky- Pig Night used to be fun! It was just festive getups- the usual slippery eels and the jesters, and only a few swine, in their tacky pink fur coats and wrinkled little piggy noses, sniffing around on the floor, begging for scraps. Only the real freaks ever went as the pigs, but hey, there’s one in every bunch of friends, right? He was only twenty-two, but he thought about the old pig night parties back in high school with nostalgia.

Nowadays, it was just too sexualized- it seemed like everyone was trying to be some sort of sexy pig-mama, or dapper, half-naked courtier, all too eager to bare their tattooed chests to the other partygoers.

Whatever happened to the old Pig Night? And then he thought about something, something that made him quite uneasy- what the hell was Pig Night, anyway? He sure as hell never heard about it when he was a kid, but he must’ve celebrated it- it was Pig Night!

Pig Night’s coming! Grease ‘em up! Oink, oink, oink!

The crowd of children chanted, rhythmically clapping and stomping. God, would they ever shut up? Grady grumbled to himself as he waited for the last of the kids to get on the bus. Taking the kids home after the third graders’ Pig Night-day party was always the worst- the scratchy, torn leather on those so-called pig costumes and the way they all seemed to sway in unison would’ve been nerve-wracking enough, but they just didn’t stop! Even when one got off the bus, they’d keep waddling back and forth, to the same rhythm, singing that goddamn song until to their front doors.

He just couldn’t take it- he snapped. He felt bad, but he doubted the brats could even hear him over the singing.

Kids, keep it down! Come on, shut up! I got a headache!

Bend ‘em, break em till they quake! Pig Night’s coming! Oink, oink, oink! Oink, oink, oink!

It’s German, right? It’s gotta be. One of those weird old pagan things the Christians ripped off… Though, I don’t even think Pig Night really is a Christian thing, is it?

No, no, I’m telling you, Pig Night’s not German. It’s not anything, for that matter, because Pig Night does not fucking exist.

Uh-oh, get grampa his meds! He forgot what Pig Night is!

I didn’t forget Pig Night, I’m just saying, we never did it when we were kids- and neither did you. What the hell is it?

Pig Night! Come on, gramps, you know. You’re an anthropologist, right? You should know this crap. What’d the Germans call it, anyway? Oooh! Was it… Schweinnacht?

Christie emphasized Schweinnacht with an overdramatic false German accent, wiggling her fingers in the air as she did so, to make it look more mysterious. All in good fun, of course- she was sure her grampa knew what Pig Night was, even if he was pretending he didn’t for some reason.

He looked at her with sad, confused eyes behind his glasses. He wasn’t senile- just genuinely worried, and she didn’t know why. Well, that wasn’t entirely true- she had an inkling of an idea, but she didn’t want to entertain it- it was just too strange.

 Her train of thought was interrupted by grampa shaking his head, and sighing, before humoring her with a limp smile and a chuckle.

Sure, Schweinnacht. That’s what it was.

She giggled, and gave him a little hug, but the worry returned.

If Pig Night was such a classic tradition, where the hell were their decorations? They had them for Halloween, Christmas, Easter… Hell, they even had an embarrassing amount of St. Patty’s day clovers in storage- but no Pig Night. Oh well. They’d just have to make some.

The whole block gathered together- in the bigger cities, of course, they didn’t have any fields to construct the effigy in, so it was typically strung up between the balconies of two large apartment buildings before the burning. A fire hazard? Oh, god, you betcha, but hey, what were they gonna do, not burn the Pig Night Screamer?

The colossal, Papier-mâché head dangled between the buildings, it’s eerie, gaping expression, with the slack-jawed mouth and rolled back eyes bobbing in the wind as it cast a horrible, lumpy shadow over the whole street.

Everyone watched as, all over the city, the ugly, sculpted heads were set ablaze, falling dangerously close to the people below, hopefully not catching any bystanders on fire in the process- though such a thing was pretty much inevitable. That’s why they had the whole fire department out and cruising around the city, block by block as the heads were burned, each fireman dressed in a garish pink pig costume as they extinguished screaming revelers.

The night wore on, the pranks escalated, as they always did, and the old folks fretted and the young got hammered. The kids danced and sang and ate themselves sick on candy pork chops. But finally, as the last effigy was extinguished, and the dark of night was more apparent in the dying flame, a single, terrible realization set in to every single human being on the planet, followed shortly after by another.

The first was simple- none of them really knew what the hell Pig Night was, or how it started.

The second was decidedly more alarming- the burned husks of the Screamers were starting to move on their own, on scuttling clusters of blackened pig’s feet.