For those who haven't yet heard, the November-December writing contest is taking a break for at least this year; there's simply no way I can keep sorting, reading and judging that many hours of literature every year without neglecting the rest of my life and my projects, but that doesn't mean I don't have a few new things in mind to at least partially make up for it.

Holding a costume contest has always made sense for this website, and it's something I've already considered doing almost every year...but this is the first year of our lives where actual Halloween events are overwhelmingly going to be cancelled, leaving people with very little reason to put a costume together.

ENTRIES ARE NOT YET OPEN, WHICH WILL BEGIN OCTOBER 1ST, but I want to give you several weeks to start planning ahead of time! We'll be accepting any and all costumes under the following guidelines:

BE ORIGINAL - we're not looking for cosplay, political satire, pop culture references or celebrity zombies here. Creative exceptions or disturbing "reinterpretations" will be considered and all folklore is fair game, but the most ideal entry will be something that isn't too easily recognized!

BE WEIRD! - Most costume contests accept basically any kind of costume, but what we want to see is your idea of a creepy, frightening or very strange being. Consider drawing inspiration from creepypasta, horror gaming, surreal art or eerie dreams if you're hitting a creative block.

AVOID STORE-BOUGHT MONSTER MASKS! - a reasonable exception is a plain human skull as part of a more unique outfit, or a mask you're building onto in an original way! All other facial coverings such as gas masks, medical equipment, ballroom masks, makeup and cosmetic devices are fair game, as well as any non-mask items converted (safely!!!!!!!) into facial coverings, so fans of "object heads" can feel very free to go hog wild!

BE AS COMPLEX AND REALISTIC OR AS SIMPLE AND "CHEAP" AS YOU WANT! - Think of how crude and messy many horror icons have been. Leatherface was certainly no master craftsman. Pyramid Head is kind of just a slob with a big shape on his head. Use of grimy, tattered fabric, haphazard paper mache or literal garbage is not only viable, but highly recommended.

THERE ARE NO HARD "CONTENT RESTRICTIONS" - ALL guidelines are flexible on a case-by-case basis, and in the hypothetical scenario that a costume is actually TOO grisly or graphic in some way to show on this website, we'll still consider it, and we'll still show as much as we can of it.

MULTIPLE ENTRIES ARE ACCEPTED! - You can even feel free to send in "variants" on the same costume if you can't quite settle on a single look! We'll judge by our favorite of your ideas!

THERE WILL BE A "NON HUMANOID" CATEGORY! Any way in which you hide the shape of a person under a wearable, functional costume will receive unique attention!

BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SAFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Don't balance heavy objects on your body! Don't restrict your breathing! Don't expose yourself to toxic or biohazardous substances! Don't bleed on purpose! Don't attempt improbably contortion or suspension of your body if you don't know what you're doing! Don't trespass into dangerous locales just for a photoshoot!

THERE WILL BE PRIZES! - Number of winners will be determined according to entry volume, but the top winners will each receive $30 worth of whatever they'd like from our ETSY. I will also crudely illustrate a small selection of my personal favorite entries whether you necessarily want me to or not, and as many entries as possible will be featured in a site gallery!