Monsters, Books, and Halloween

For this post in the How We Fall blog tour, I’m on my own blog! I figured at least some of it should land here. 🙂

We didn’t celebrate Halloween much when I was a kid. Sometimes we did church things, things meant to keep kids off the streets and out of danger, things where you couldn’t dress up as a skeleton or a vampire or a zombie.

But as I’ve started writing, I’ve found myself drawn to books like Warm Bodies and The 5th Wave and Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I’ve discovered I love shows like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. And there are some very Halloween things about those stories. Fear. Death. Real monsters, human monsters. And I’ve found myself writing about those things, too.

I love Halloween. It’s not that I support anything occult about it and I don’t think kids love it because it’s tempting to be something evil for a day. I don’t think that’s the draw to Halloween.

The draw is that we get to face monsters head-on. We get to eat candy witches’ fingers, not be scared of them. We get to see human bones as something fun, something clever, something cool, not something frightening. We dress up like those monsters, in part, to prove they don’t have control over us.

Opposites exist in contrast to each other. One tells us about the other. Shows about death, the good ones, are really shows about struggle and survival and the value of life. That’s why I write suspense and survival stories and high-stakes relationships. The Harry Potter series, even though so much of it deals with fear and death and dark magic, comes down to friendship, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. Monsters show us people. Fear shows us what courage really is. There’s no way to be brave if there’s nothing at risk, if what’s out there really isn’t that scary.

Fear was a big part of my childhood, and as I’ve gained control over that, I’ve come to love Halloween. Those monsters don’t get to make my choices for me.

Happy Halloween!


Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She now works in publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she’d want to read. This is her first novel. Visit her online at or on Twitter at @KateBrauning.

How We Fall is available through:

      Barnes & Noble   Indie Bound   Book-A-Million   Book Depository   Powell’s

How We FallEver since Jackie moved to her uncle’s sleepy farming town, she’s been flirting way too much–and with her own cousin, Marcus.

Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.

Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?

3 thoughts on “Monsters, Books, and Halloween

  1. Pingback: How We Fall Blog Tour Round-up! | The Bookshelf

  2. These are the things I love about Halloween, too! I think a lot of the draw is that it’s fun to not be yourself for a night. People are less restrained when they can slip into someone else’s (or a monster’s) skin for a while.

    You’re right—a lot of what’s scary about GoT and Breaking Bad are the monsters that live inside people. That element makes the best conflict and best story, IMO.

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