Welcome to the scariest year we've encountered since, well, 2016. 

So the country is being run by a narcissist dimwit racist. The Nazis are making a giant comeback, but the FBI is more concerned about the people protesting against the Nazis. There's still no crime a police officer can commit without getting a handshake and a promotion. The Russians have hacked our electoral systems and power grid and are looking forward to doing it all over again as soon as possible. There are devastating hurricanes and earthquakes worldwide. And we have to worry about having a nuclear war with North Korea. 

So 2017 is certainly shaping up as the worst demonic possession movie you've ever seen, isn't it? Don't expect an exorcism to clear things up -- American churchgoers think Trump was chosen by God. 

And it's times like this when you want to remember Halloween's traditional role as a pressure release valve for the year. It's the day when people dress up in costumes -- leaving their own identity behind and adopting a new one for a few hours. In decades past, pranking was widespread -- while authorities tried to curb it and lots of folks didn't like getting their houses egged or their outhouses turned over, most people accepted it as one of those things that happened every year. It's a day where we celebrate monsters, instead of fearing them. 

There are plenty of similarities here with the medieval European custom of the Lord of Misrule, in which a peasant or low-ranking official was chosen to be in charge of Yuletide festivities -- which meant partying hard and getting drunk. Boxing Day in the United Kingdom sometimes meant the master of the house would serve his servants. There were similar customs in ancient Rome in which children exchanged simple gifts for treats. The basic idea is that the low are brought high, and the high are made to serve -- even if only symbolically and only for one night. 

And the purpose of all this misrule, this flip-flop of society's rules and conventions and expectations? Escape. There's no shame in escape. We naturally seek to escape from difficult situations and times. We need the break -- mentally, emotionally, even physically -- from stress and care and fear. That's right, we escape fear by indulging in fear. Our daily fears are concrete, brutal, unflinching, ever-present, and deadly serious. Our escapist fears are fun. We control them. We willingly expose ourselves to these artificial terrors to crack our daily stress and to remind ourselves that we can face and defeat fear. 

So embrace Halloween as the escape we all need from the horrors of the real world. Because it's that time of year again. Let's try to scare each other.

Write an original scary story. Write a horror-themed poem. Node a story that is in the public domain. Write a factual writeup that is about horror or scary stuff. Write a biography of a writer or actor closely associated with the horror genre. Create a review of a horror film or story. It can be any length and any topic -- as long as it's scary.

What's the runtime for the Quest? The entire month of October, plus November 1, server time. Halloween is too awesome to limit to just one day a year.

If you need inspiration, or if you just want to see some more of the scary stories that Everythingians have produced, check out our previous horror quests: I can make you howl. And vice versa. Let's get down to business., Everything Quests: Scary Stories, The Blood is the Life: A Frightful Halloween Quest, They Hunger For Nodes: An e2 Halloween Scary Story Quest (sadly, the nodequest entry has been deleted), I Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Text: The 2005 Halloween Horrorquest, It's the Season for Graves Cracking: The 2006 Quest for Fear (another deleted quest announcement, unfortunately), The Poet and the Worm, The Night's Plutonian Shore: The 2007 Halloween Horrorquest, Necronodecon: The 2008 Halloween Horrorquest, Pickman's Nodegel: The 2009 Halloween Horrorquest, Ten Years of Terror: The 2010 Halloween Horrorquest, The Nodegel from Yuggoth: The 2011 Halloween Horrorquest, Children of the Night: The 2012 Halloween Horrorquest, 13 O'Clock: The 2013 Halloween Horrorquest, No More Room in Hell: The 2014 Halloween Horrorquest, In the Nodes of Madness: The 2015 Halloween Horrorquest, and Grisly Ghouls from Every Tomb: The 2016 Halloween Horrorquest.

Again, the Quest will run for the entire month of October and November 1. If you post early or late -- too bad, so sad.

When you write a story for the Quest, just /msg me with the node title, then softlink your writeup to this node. I'll include a list of all the Quest participants below.

So start thinking horror, boils and ghouls. Halloween is coming. Let's scare each other.

Fiction:

Poetry:

Fact:

Reviews:

Essays:

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