Halloween Word Wednesday: Spooky, Frightful, and Scary

Happy Halloween everyone!

It’s my favorite time of the year. Our neighborhood is having a block party, so I’m putting together a craft table. My pumpkin garland still needs to hang straight, though.

There’s so much candy, so do come by. My teal pumpkin treats are all set: I got Halloween pencils, pumpkin erasers, and glow sticks. If you don’t know about teal pumpkins, they are placed in your trick-or-treat area to indicate that you have non-food treats for those trick-or-treaters with food allergies. Here’s my teal pumpkin:

I’ll be in costume, too. This year I’m thinking “Dark Fairy.” So don’t come to my door expecting candy if you’re not dressed up.


Learning new words and being able to find the word that means exactly what the story needs can mean the difference between a mediocre story and a brilliant one.

On Wednesdays we will identify an unusual word, provide its definition, and discuss its application or its impact.


Today’s Word Wednesday is a bundle of Halloween fun. I decided to look at the origins of “spooky” and “frightful.”

Let’s start with “spooky”:

A spook is a ghost, so this word means “like a ghost” or eerie or scary. Horses can also be spooked, making them nervous or skittish.

Frightful” has a few different meanings:

1) something that’s dreadful, terrible, or alarming
Fright is a sudden and extreme fear. It’s not a general word. When I was writing “Sea Dreams,” I used “fright” and then went back to change it to “anxiety,” since the character felt a long-lasting fear.
2) horrible, shocking, or revolting
We hear about “frightful” messes and such in 19th century gothic novels. To my ear it sounds very proper, but a “revolting mess” sounds worse than a “frightful” one.
3) unpleasant or disagreeable
This last use is a softer application of the second definition.

And what about “scary”? I was interested to discover that this word has two meanings:

1) causing fright or alarm
This is what I expected. However, “scary” can also mean
2) easily frightened or timid
I have never seen “scary” used this way, like “my scary toddler doesn’t like going upstairs in the dark.”

What other creepy Halloween words do you like to use this time of year?

Halloween is here again!

I had a fabulous in-costume picture from a recent trip that my husband insists he doesn’t want me to share. Since I’m about a year behind on Halloween pictures, you’ll probably see it next year…

Halloween is here again, and I’m thrilled as always. This year’s costume may be more recognizable to most classic Disney movie aficionados than last year’s (pictured) rushed-home-from-work-to-get-ready-for-a-Halloween-party. However, I loved getting to commemorate such a historical character for Halloween. In my neighborhood, there are enough people who aren’t familiar with American pop culture and American history to recognize her, but my clue to you is “We Can Do It!” Let me know in the comments if you figured it out.

I love that T doesn’t want to be a princess: her favorite show is “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and she was determined to be the one with the “Green Hat, Red Feather.” I’d rather she was a swashbuckling adventurer than Cinderella any day. While D doesn’t usually have too much of an opinion about these things yet, when he got his little Jake costume on, he was just as pleased as any two-year-old could be.

Call for Beta Readers

Of course, Halloween brings with it shades of NaNoWriMo. While I’m not planning to participate this year, it’s because I’m feverishly working to wrap up my edits to Book 2 of “Sea Deception.”

Titled “Sea Rivals,” it follows the story of my heroine four years after the conclusion of “Sea Dreams.” And that first book is completely finished and ready for beta readers and formatting: I don’t plan to touch it again to make any further changes. Edits all in doubled the word count, and I couldn’t be happier with how the story has turned out. If you’re interested in being a beta reader, sign up to the mailing list and indicate or update your preference.

So I’ve been hard at work scribbling…as soon as I knock out my first-pass edits to Book 2, I’ll send it to my editor for her feedback. Then I’ll get to the business of writing the first draft of the final book, whose title is still not completely decided. That last book is fully plotted out, and I just need to find the time to sit still and write the story. I even have a thought for a bonus book following related characters, so let’s see how this series plays out.

But first, Halloween!

(Then beta readers)

What costume do you have planned?