Lisa Morton's Halloween Fiction


The Samhanach and Other Halloween Treats, a collection of Halloween fiction published by Trepidatio/JournalStone in October 2017.

On one magical night of the year—when the breeze is scented with dead leaves and pumpkin, when the days have grown shorter and winter’s first touch prickles your skin—the barrier between worlds is at its thinnest, and dark magic abounds. Whether it’s the legendary trickster Jack about to acquire his first lantern, a teenage girl beginning to discover her own alluring power, or a fallen angel seeking redemption, Halloween’s sinister spell enchants all.

The four novellas and ten short stories in this collection from Lisa Morton, one of the world’s leading authorities on Halloween, bring the ancient festival’s beauty and terror to vivid life. In the Bram Stoker Award®-nominated The Samhanach, a suburban mother’s world is turned upside-down when her daughter is taken by a legendary Scottish shapeshifter. The acclaimed Hell Manor pits a professional trickster against four of the malicious Irish sidh inside a haunted attraction. Other stories offer a young 1930s blues singer confronted by the Devil, a corn maze where a boy learns the real meaning of sacrifice, a rescue worker trapped in Edgar Allan Poe’s haunted woods of Weir, and a Halloween expert (named Lisa Morton) who discovers the real truth behind the Celts’ celebration of Samhain, the precursor to Halloween.

“Now it is your turn to chew on these tasty morsels of fear, delight, horror, and optimism. These treats are now all yours to unwrap and devour. In the words of The Devil’s Birthday, you are about ‘to join the best Halloween party imaginable.’” —Nancy Holder, Bram Stoker Award®-winning author

Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • “Pumpkin Rex”
  • “The Devil Came to Mamie’s on Hallowe’en”
  • The Samhanach
  • “Finding Ulalume”
  • “Alive-Oh”
  • Summer’s End
  • “Tam Lane”
  • “The Halloween Collector”
  • The Devil’s Birthday
  • “The Legend of Halloween Jack”
  • “Sexy Pirate Girl”
  • Hell Manor
  • “The Maze”
  • “The Enchanted Forest”

Haunted Nights, anthology published by Anchor/Doubleday in October 2017.

Sixteen never-before-published chilling tales that explore every aspect of our darkest holiday, Halloween, co-edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the most successful and respected genre editors, and Lisa Morton, a leading authority on Halloween.

In addition to stories about scheming jack-o’-lanterns, vengeful ghosts, otherworldly changelings, disturbingly realistic haunted attractions, masks that cover terrifying faces, murderous urban legends, parties gone bad, cult Halloween movies, and trick or treating in the future, Haunted Nights also offers terrifying and mind-bending explorations of related holidays like All Souls’ Day, Dia de los Muertos, and Devil’s Night.

  • “With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds” by Seanan McGuire
  • “Dirtmouth” by Stephen Graham Jones”
  • “A Small Taste of the Old Countr” by Jonathan Maberry
  • “Wick’s End” by Joanna Parypinski
  • “The Seventeen Year Itch” by Garth Nix
  • “A Flicker of Light on Devil’s Night” by Kate Jonez
  • “Witch-Hazel” by Jeffrey Ford
  • “Nos Galen Gaeaf” by Kelley Armstrong
  • “We’re Never Inviting Amber Again” by S. P. Miskowski
  • “Sisters” by Brian Evenson
  • “All Through the Night” by Elise Forier Edie
  • “A Kingdom of Sugar Skulls and Marigolds” by Eric J. Guignard
  • “The Turn” by Paul Kane
  • “Jack” by Pat Cadigan
  • “Lost in the Dark” by John Langan
  • “The First Lunar Halloween” by John R. Little


“Halloween brings out the best in horror writers, as this fright-packed anthology of 15 new stories with Halloween themes demonstrates. In the novella “Lost in the Dark,” John Langan conjures the legend of the monstrous Bad Agatha and a found-footage horror films based on it, exploring the boundary where fact blurs into fiction. Brian Evenson’s “Sisters” concerns a family newly introduced to the Halloween tradition who are of a genuinely creepier ilk than the trick-or-treaters they mimic. Garth Nix, in “The Seventeen-Year Itch,” introduces an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane whose new physician foolishly discontinues the practice of restraining him on Halloween night. Other authors, including Seanan McGuire, Jeffrey Ford, and Kate Jonez, extend the Halloween theme with tales of haunted houses, witch lore, and dangerously dysfunctional families. Editors Datlow and Morton have filled this book with an assortment of Halloween treats whose horrors transcend their Holiday setting.” – Publishers Weekly 8/07/17 (starred/boxed review)

“…the entire collection is solid and refreshing, featuring great stories that don’t resort to overused tropes and revealing the full breadth of today’s horror, from surreal to creepy to full-blown, visceral terror…Whether used for collection development or to suggest to patrons as the perfect holiday companion, Haunted Nights is an ideal way to celebrate Halloween and its millennial history this year and for many more to come.” – Becky Spratford, Booklist 10/1/17

“The stories offer a wide variety of approaches to Halloween and all its trimmings, and several are arguably among the strongest work that their authors have produced and are likely contenders for consideration for year’s-best roundups…an anthology whose stories more often than not transcend the expectations for their Halloween theme.” – Stefan Dziemianiwocz, Locus

“A celebration of various talented writers (with nearly equal representation of male and female authors) and of a rich holiday, Haunted Nights is an enjoyable read for this month or anytime.” – Ann Mayhew, The Riveter (Riveting Storytelling by Women), October 5, 2017

“Famous editor Ellen Datlow and distinguished author Lisa Morton have teamed up to produce a Horror Writers Association anthology featuring sixteen new tales set in the dark atmosphere of Halloween…All the authors skillfully address the Halloween theme with a great variety of tones and styles, exploring the unholiest holiday from any possible angle, thus providing a very enjoyable book for horror lovers…In short, a “must-have” book.” – Mario Guslandi, Hellnotes

“Blumhouse and Anchor have crafted a collection of Halloween themed stories that shock, inspire a few guffaws and twist up familiar tropes in inventive and engaging ways. The book offers a wealth of talent, including plenty of award-winning and firmly established talents…There wasn’t a single story in this collection that felt underwhelming. Blumhouse and Anchor have aligned a magnificent assortment of talent to creep us out during our favorite time of year. Make no mistake: Haunted Nights is a must-read this Halloween! (Rating: 5/5)” – Matt Molgaard, Horror Novel Reviews

“Haunted Nights offers a collection of disparate stories set during Halloween from a number of great writers…Picking the highlights is difficult when there are so many corkers within these pages…Plenty of writers and artists have already offered spins on the annual tradition, but the stories of Haunted Nights add some fine new twists to our fluid understanding and appreciation of Halloween.” – Adam Clarke, Rue Morgue

“Haunted Nights is coming to bend your mind and terrify you with stories about scheming jack-o’-lanterns, murderous urban legends, vengeful ghosts, and parties gone very, very wrong. Here are sixteen brand-new, fresh-from-the-grave stories that are going to rock your world!…Combined with a stellar cast of HWA writers, this witches’ brew practically guarantees bad dreams. You might wake up on the floor curled into the fetal position and whimpering, or you might laugh out loud. Either way, it’s going to be one Hell of a ride!..This is a crazy awesome anthology that, honestly, I’m kind of in love with. Get it! You will enjoy it!” – Brian J. Lewis, The Horror Review

“Haunted Nights aims to delve deep into Halloween’s roots and then bring the holiday to brand new places. In the book’s introduction, Lisa Morton familiarizes us with the history of Halloween from the Celtic folk traditions to its modern American incarnation. She highlights some of the earliest pieces of literature to mention the holiday and references related holidays that will find their way into some of the stories: the Catholic All Souls’ Day, the Welsh Nos Galan Gaeaf, the Mexican Dias de los Muertos, and the ubiquitous Devil’s Night. As a renowned “Halloween expert,” Lisa Morton does an impressive job of succinctly capturing the soul of the holiday in a four-page intro, in addition to gathering an exquisite collection of stories to suit the theme.” – The Gothic Library, October 16, 2017


The Devil's Birthday, novella published by Bad Moon Books in October 2014.

The Devil has always lurked in the shadows, tempting man through his dreams and thoughts. But one night a year - Halloween, when the veils between worlds are at their thinnest - Satan visits the earth to personally lure the unwary and greedy.

Sathariel is a fallen angel who has fought the Devil on Halloween for millennia, hoping to win divine forgiveness. This year, though, October 31st will be different: Satan is up to something big. Sathariel and her human friend, young artist Eddie "K-Os" Jones, must race to stop Satan from pulling the ultimate prank and turning Halloween into Hell on earth.


Summer's End, novella published by JournalStone Publishing in October 2013.

When Lisa Morton, author of The Halloween Encyclopedia, is called in to consult on the recent discovery of a fifteen-hundred-year-old Celtic manuscript, she's at first excited about the light this monumental find might shed on Samhain, the mysterious Celtic precursor to Halloween. Conor ó Cuinn, the Irish archaeologist who excavated the manuscript, thinks it reveals ancient magic. Lisa is skeptical…until people around her begin dying. Dr. Wilson Armitage, the university professor who was translating the manuscript, is found torn apart by wild animals…or was he actually attacked by vicious sidh, malicious Celtic spirits that wreak havoc every Samhain? As October 31st approaches, the border between our realm and one of murderous spirits begins to dissolve. Can Lisa survive Halloween night and use her knowledge to set the world right again?

  • "With her new novella, Summer's End, Lisa Morton achieves something rare, arguably unique: she creates a genre that can be defined only by this piece of work. This challenging, exhilarating, darkly-humored, heartbreaking work is hands-down brilliant, the best work she’s ever done; it’s been a long time since the boundaries between the book and its author have been so expertly blurred, trapping the reader in the oppressive, nerve-wracking gray area between. Don't start reading with any preconceived notions about horror *or* storytelling because they’ll be shredded into confetti and scattered to the dark winds. Just steel yourself for a reading experience that will rival any other piece of work you will encounter this year." - Gary A. Braunbeck, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of To Each Their Darkness
  • "In Summer's End, Lisa Morton has created something so strikingly unique that it stands alone in the genre. All writers pull their work from inside themselves, but Morton has literally put herself inside the work, and she has pulled it off so beautifully, so seamlessly, that it does not read like fiction — it reads like an account of actual events. Her extensive knowledge of her subject and her impeccable skills as a writer and storyteller are combined in a wicked and delightful potion that gave me real goosebumps, real chills, and reminded me that horror fiction can and should frighten the hell out of the reader. Summer’s End is a thin volume, but it is a formidable achievement. I'll never look at a jack-o'-lantern the same way again." — Ray Garton, author of Live Girls and Meds
  • "…ambitious marriage of postmodernism and horror…occasionally poetic…terse encounters with malignant spirits evoke chills, as does the atmospheric presence of Samhain." – Publisher’s Weekly
  • "Morton's love and knowledge of Halloween shines through each and every page, as does her ability to craft tight, suspenseful scenes. You could easily gulp this down in one sitting, but I urge you not to." – Blu Gilliand, Fearnet
  • "Summer’s End is a gripping, thought provoking chiller that can be best described as a novel's answer to the near fanatical craze of found footage films as of late…Once the evil is unleashed, Morton's tale breaks the cookie cutter mould of the over saturated demonic possession stories that plague our pages and screens of today. A much more imaginative, unpredictable plot is hatched with a gripping conclusion you won't see coming." – Dave Gammon,
  • "Summer's End is the perfect storm of a story, where everything aligns completely, delivering a powerful new narrative that is rarely seen in fiction today…a beautifully written piece of dark literature that not only we horror and Halloween fans can enjoy, I think anyone who loves a great story will enjoy Summer's End. All authors leave a piece of themselves in every story they write, with Summer's End Lisa uses her extensive knowledge of her subject to not only deliver a story that is a genre unto itself, she manages to scare the hell out of you at the same time. Her writing has never been better, this just might be her best book yet." – Peter Schwotzer, Famous Monsters


Hell Manor, novella published by Bad Moon Books in October 2012.

Jack Lichtner is the genius behind Hell Manor, America's most successful Halloween haunted house. Mazes, scare zones, live actors, special effects, crazy gore...Hell Manor's got it all. But Jack gets in over his head when he hires Maeve, a mysterious woman with a penchant for bloody magic and murderous kin who want her back. This Halloween, Jack must use all his powers of illusion to fight off the real magic of the ancient tricksters who have invaded Hell Manor.

  • "Is there a horror writer better than Lisa Morton working in the small-press today?...a damned fine piece of fiction...The small behind-the-scenes glimpses we’re given into the inner workings of a Haunted House attraction are also wonderfully informative, and help immensely in setting the mood. I read this book about a week before Christmas, but for an hour, Lisa Morton made it feel like Halloween all over again." - Dan Reilly, Horror World
  • "Lisa has really come into her own as a writer and is in my opinion one of the best writers in dark fiction today. With Hell Manor she gives us a tale where she draws upon her vast knowledge of Halloween…and what a tale it is. If you have ever gone to a haunted house attraction on Halloween, and who hasn’t, you will absolutely love this story." - Peter Schwotzer, Famous Monsters
  • "I thought Morton had outdone herself last year with The Samhanach, but she continues to surprise me. This may be her best book yet...She's the most powerful female horror author out there from what I've read, and I hope more people take notice of that. I highly recommend this book to everyone!" - Rhonda Wilson, Monster Librarian
  • "Lisa Morton's Hell Manor is like being chained to the front of a runaway ghost train. Relentless in its pacing, and drenched in dark, Celtic magic, Morton delivers one fright after the next; leaving the reader with a shaky, post-nightmare buzz, well after the tale has come to an end. Highly recommended Halloween reading!" - Greg Chapman, author of Vaudeville, The Noctuary, Torment, and Midnight Theatre: Tales of Terror.

Click here to read an excerpt from Hell Manor


The Samhanach, novella published by Bad Moon Books in October 2010, e-book available from Crossroads Press.

On a Halloween night 300 years ago, something rose out of a Scottish bog to curse the McCafferty clan. Now, in 2010, single mother Merran McCafferty finds her suburban Halloween celebrations torn apart by the arrival of the Samhanach, an ancient trickster demon. When the Samhanach tries to steal Merran’s young daughter, Merran is forced to put aside reason and accept that magic is real, and bogies really do exist on Halloween night.

  • The Samhanach was nominated for the 2010 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction.
  • The Samhanach was listed at the top of The Monster Librarian's Top Picks for 2011.
  • "Lisa has crafted a wonderful tale that really captures the spirit of classic Halloween tales. The Samhanach can stand with its demonic head held high in the company of such greats as The Halloween Tree and Dark Harvest. Lisa Morton has captured the essence of a great fireside story, I could imagine my Grandfather on a chilly October night, pipe in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other trying to chill to us with his tales of Scottish monsters." - Ginger Nuts of Horror
  • "Lisa Morton delves into ancient Celtic folklore to weave an imaginative Halloween tale that recalls the origins of the holiday and the bogies that lurk in the dark. The story takes on a great dark fantasy twist when Merran has to enter the dark fairie realm in order to save her daughter from the shape-shifting Samhanach. With vivid descriptions of the fairie world and the devastation caused by the Samhanach, as well as beautiful cover art by Frank Walls, this is a great novella to add to your collection. Recommended." - Colleen Wanglund, Monster Librarian
  • "The Samhanach is another home run for Lisa Morton. Fans of Halloween fiction should not pass this one up. Get yourself a copy and read it on Halloween night! Highly recommended!" - David Agranoff, Monster Librarian
  • "I would recommend this to anyone looking for a fast and creepy read this Halloween, or any day, for that matter!" - Rhonda Wilson, Monster Librarian


Halloween Spirits, anthology edited by Lisa Morton and available as a Kindle e-book.

This anthology presents eleven stories by Maria Alexander, Kealan Patrick Burke, Nate Kenyon, Joe McKinney, Lisa Morton, Joseph Nassise, Scott Nicholson, John Palisano, Rick Pickman, Jeremy Shipp, and Simon Wood. Two of the stories here - "Bones Lie Quietly Now" by Nate Kenyon and "Trick or Die" by Rick Pickman - are original to this volume. Also includes a special 2,000-word introduction about the history of Halloween and how these stories reflect that.

  • Halloween Spirits received an Honorable Mention on Literary Mayhem's list of the Best Books of 2010.
  • "...Halloween Spirits does not disappoint. Some previously published and new tales populate this exceptional collection. It is a veritable collection of tales from some of the finest purveyors of horror fiction today...Halloween Spirits receives my highest Halloween recommendation and has just been added to my annual Halloween to be read pile." - Peter Schwotzer, Famous Monsters of Filmland

The Legend of Halloween Jack, a short story e-book published by Cemetery Dance in October 2012.

Jack is a gambler, a conman, and a murderer whose luck finally givesout one Halloween when he dies in a Baton Rouge back alley. The wilyJack tricks the demon sent to collect him and gains one more year oflife, during which he plans to repent. But Jack soon falls back intohis old ways, and before he knows it the year has passed, it'sHalloween again, and Jack is facing off against the Devil himself in aNew Orleans casino in this dark and disturbing re-telling of thelegend of Jack-o'-lantern.


Pumpkin Rex, short story published at Literary Mayhem.

On Halloween night, a young man attends a Halloween rave and soon discovers that the deejay is spinning more than tunes...