Trick or Treating Is Not for Sissies

Congratulations to contest winner Cathy Ann Adkins.

Written by Guest Blogger Heather Haven

Cindy Sample - Clowning Around!

I love Halloween.

1. You get to dress up in crazy costumes, even when you’re giving speeches at the office! Anyone notice a similarity to the clown costume Laurel wore in DYING FOR A DATE? What detective wouldn’t want to smooch with a gal who looked like that?

2. And then there’s all that candy. Really, does it get any better than that? But not everyone feels that way. My guest, Heather Haven, a master at combining homicide and humor, shares her own childhood horror story. Heather is the author of the award-winning Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries. Murder is a Family Business, the first in the Alvarez series, won the 2011 Single Titles Reviewers’ Choice Award. A Wedding to Die For, the second in the series, was a 2012 finalist for EPIC’s Best eBook Mystery of the Year. Heather recently released Death Runs in the Family to rave reviews.


I have a thing about witches.


Author Heather Haven

Clowns don’t scare me, witches do. I remember seeing the Wizard of Oz on TV as a kid and absolutely freaking out. The Wicked Witch of the West – or is it the East? – was one nasty broad wielding a mean broom. And she had green skin! All over. Nightmares for days.

A short time later, Halloween found me sitting at the kitchen table cramming a giant Tootsie Roll in my mouth. I had made quite a haul, thank you, and while scarfing down my booty, happened to glance out the window. There was the hideous and repulsive face of a witch gaping at me through the windowpane! Bushy eyebrows, bulbous nose, beady little eyes, hairy warts everywhere. Green, green, green.

Have I mentioned how I freaked at seeing Margaret Hamilton in the Wizard of Oz? Nothing like the freak out when my nine-year old eyes clapped onto the horror staring back at me.

After swallowing the chocolate bar whole, my shrieks caused my dripping wet mother, covered only in soap and a towel, to come running from the upstairs bathroom. Our next door neighbor dropped her clothes basket in her backyard after hearing the screeches of her own terrified nine-year old daughter scurrying to hide under the bed. Dressed as a witch, my pal had been peering in my window to show me her costume. The episode ended with me throwing up on my entire stash of candy.

I have a thing about witches!


Contest Alert!

Heather and I would love to hear your scary and/or funny Halloween stories. Leave a comment by midnight on November 2, and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a box of Sees fine chocolates!


Persephone Cole and the Halloween Curse by Heather HavenHeather’s most recent endeavor is a 1940s holiday vintage mystery series starring a five-foot eleven, full-figured gal named Persephone Cole. ‘Percy’ Cole has the same hard-boiled, take-no-prisoners attitude as Sam Spade, Lew Archer, and Phillip Marlow, but tops it off with a wicked sense of humor. The first of the series, Persephone Cole and the Halloween Curse, takes place on New York City’s Broadway stage during World War II.


You can email

Check out her website or her blog at


  1. Sherry on October 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Cute post. I love Halloween. It’s such a neat day and everyone is usually in a great mood.

    • Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 10:21 am

      As I was heading to the airport and out of NYC on Sunday morning, I saw dozens of costumed characters on the streets of Manhattan, even at 4:30 in the morning. I understand last night many people were hopping onto rescue vehicles, including boats, in full costume! You can’t stop Halloween.

  2. Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Cindy, as usual you’ve outdone yourself. Love the pics of both of us. ‘Clowns’ is right! Meanwhile, thanks so much for sharing your blog and sense of humor with me.

  3. Teresa Judd on October 30, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Fun post. However, I have a soft spot in my heart for green witches now that I’ve seen “Wicked” (3 times). Obviously I loved that show.

    • Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 10:22 am

      I’ve seen Wicked twice. It’s one of the best books of a musical I’ve ever listened to. And the music is terrific. It’s a fabulous show.

  4. Gail Roughton on October 30, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I can top everybody. I got married on Halloween. Yes, for real. It was the last Friday in the month.

    • Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 10:14 am

      I am trusting, Gail, that it has been a treat and not a trick!!

  5. Diana Orgain on October 30, 2012 at 10:06 am

    So cute! My kids are so looking forward to Halloween! I have one 9 year old Mad Hatter, a 5 year old Ninja and a 3 year old Buzz Lightyear. My 9 year-old said that our Buzz is so cute he’s gonna get a LOT of candy! I’m sure he will. Happy Halloween!

    • Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 10:24 am

      I love seeing the kids in their costumes. My favorite part of Halloween. That and the Tootsie Rolls.

  6. Cordelia Smythe Mysteries on October 30, 2012 at 10:16 am

    My daughter, Lauren, was a shy child and Halloween was always a chanllenge for her. The year she was 4, she dressed as Pocahontas, letting her long dark hair flow freely. One of our neighbors had teenage sons who had outdone themselves with an altar, dry ice smoke, etc. to display their candy trove. The young men stood flanking the altar, dressed in monk habits. Lauren screwed her courage to the sticking place and inched closer to the couldron holding the Halloween candy. Just as her fingers closed around a peice, one of the boys whispered, “Boo.” Lauren ran screaming from the yard, down the driveway and toward a rather busy street. I was in hot pursuit, but as many of you know, catching a 4 year old at full speed isn’t that easy. Just as she was about to launch off of the curb, I caught her by the hair. Not my best moment as a mother, but certainly a Holloween memory we share!

  7. Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 10:23 am

    OMG – Why mothers get gray.

  8. Shirley Martin on October 30, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Heather, I like to see how different children are dressed up for Halloween. I don’t like to see kids older than 14 who come to the door, smelling of cigarettes. One nice thing about Halloween, I get to eat the leftover candy.

    • Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      My suggestion, Shirley, iis to attack that candy before it’s considered a leftover. Just sayin’.

    • Cathy Ann Adkins on October 31, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Today at work we were talking about older kids barely in costume trick or treating. My coworker told us she and her husband save the little packages of taco sauce or ketchup that come with fast food. They drop them in the bag or bucket of the older kids instead of candy. Kids never find them till later.

  9. RP Dahlke on October 30, 2012 at 11:23 am

    reminding Cindy and her fans, that Dying for A Dance will be featured in this coming week’s e-newsletter: Sat Nov 3rd at All Mystery e-newsletter. Catch it again on Facebook:

    Twitter: @allmysteryenews
    and now:

    • Cindy Sample on October 30, 2012 at 11:30 am

      I love your newsletter, Rebecca, and thanks for the reminder. If you haven’t read DYING FOR A DANCE, imagine “Murder She Wrote” meets “Dancing with the Stars.”

    • Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      This is a terrific site! Glad you brought it to my attention. Cindy writes a great book and I love her stuff. Dying for a Dance is at the top of my to read list, especially after I read Dying for a Date.

  10. Malena E. on October 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Cindy and Heather-
    There are so many things to love about Halloween. I always think of it as a happy holiday, not a scary one. When I was young, no one was out there trying to scare you the way they are these days.
    I can’t resist telling about my favorite ever costume. When I was about 8 I started making my own costumes. My first was the Flying Nun. I thought it was so authentic that I actually jumped off our garage, thinking I could fly. Luckily, our garage was in an alley and low to the ground.
    So many Halloween memories!

  11. Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Malena, you are my kinda gal.

  12. Ann Herrick on October 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Our daughter’s first Halloween costume was a TV set made out of a paper grocery bag. She kept pulling it off her head, though, lol!

  13. Liz Jasper on October 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I love Halloween and I love seeing costumes and I love the eating of candy (the Tootsie Roll imagery was spot on and made my inner glutton happy). I want that pink wig. Bad.

    • Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      It was actually magenta. Pink with a hint of purple. So was my tie. I had contracted Cat Scratch Fever right before the picture was taken (Yes, my little pumpkin Ellie scratched me but it wasn’t her fault, really, truly). Anyway, my face and neck were swollen, which I think works very nicely with the wig, odn’t you?

  14. Paisley Kirkpatrick on October 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I was a Camp Fire leader for years and always had a table of body parts for the kids to feel in a darkened room. One year before the terrifying encounter with the body parts, we heard a knock on the front door. I opened the door and the kids screamed, even my hubby thought the witch was real. She had a crooked wooden cane covered with real spider webs. Her entire costume looked authentic and she spoke like a witch. Because my hubby was startled by the witch, the girls freaked. She finally let out a screech and disappeared. To this day, nobody knows who the witch was and where she came from. But, she certainly looked like the real thing.

  15. Heather Haven on October 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Yowser! She wasn’t green was she? I would have fainted on the spot.

  16. Susan Shea on October 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    My grandsons dressed as Star Wars characters for years, but the best was when the little one was in kindergarten and went as Yoda. He was so short that his mom-made costume completely covered him and not even his 5-yr old classmates knew who was hidden inside the hood. Half were too scared to walk with him in the school parade and he had no idea – was just happily oblivious inside his cozy robes. I couldn’t even get a photo of his face, just shadows.

  17. Barb on October 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Oh, that was a good laugh! Poor thing, barfing on the whole booty! That would be totally devastating! I hope that this did not deter you from chocolate or sweets for the rest of your life!

    When I reached the tender age of 12, I went from the shortest kid in the class to the tallest. Flat chested, and ultra skinny; the boys, yes and the gals too, dubbed me Olive Oyl. Nine years later, working at a casino in Lake Tahoe, one of my co-workers said to me one day, “You remind me of someone…now who is it?” Two days later she told me I reminded her of Olive Oyl. Eeee gads!

    After years of hearing how I looked like beloved Olive Oyl of cartoon fame, I decided I would dress like her for Halloween. When the day rolled around, I took my black skirt from work and sewed a white band at the bottom. I had bought a red flannel long sleeved shirt and sewed lace at the collar and cuffs. I slipped on the skirt and the top, adjusting as I went. Next it was on to the footwear. I bought a pair of white knee-high socks, and had borrowed a pair of black army boots. Socks were on; boots were on. Next, I rolled the socks to the tops of the army boots. The roll looked rather good I thought! So far, so good.

    Now what to do with my hair? I ended up buying Dippity-Doo to do the do! Greasing up my hair, I made two tufts by my ears, and using wire, put my hair in a pony tail that stuck out from the back of my head at the same angle that Olive Oyl’s did. I donned a pair of white button earrings. and then I looked at the face in the mirror. I had to grab the sink quickly as I knew I was about to pass out from the realization that I looked just like Olive Oyl! You think Shelley Duvall was a good Olive, my God was I better!

    Off to the costume contest at the local bar I went. I was meeting my friends Jeannie and Cookie there. I arrived solo. A bit of snow had accumulated on the ground, and had melted a bit, then froze again making it hard to open the bar door. Rather ungracefully, which is one of my innate traits, I yanked the door open almost falling, causing all eyes to turn to the clutz at the door. Almost in unison I heard the folks in the bar say, “Oh, Olive!”

    Realizing that there were at least 100 eyes looking at me, and being embarrassed with my less than graceful entrance, all of a sudden, as if in a dream, I heard myself say, “Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! Popeye!” The bar erupted in laughter and cheers and they were clapping! Seemed that I made a grand entrance, and I won the best costume award that night bringing home $250!

    No one messes with Olive any more!

    • Heather Haven on October 31, 2012 at 9:25 am

      I LOVE THIS STORY! You must run it again somewhere. It’s too good to only see the light of day in comments. That stated, however, I am thrilled it wound up here. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

      • Barb on October 31, 2012 at 6:21 pm

        You made me think back to the days of wearing costumes! Now the only costume I wear are the glasses featured in my latest Halloween blog post:
        Loved your post!

        • Heather Haven on October 31, 2012 at 6:35 pm

          Went to your blog, Barb, left a comment, but can’t remember my name or password or something so it didn’t go thru! Anyway, loved your blog. The three witches from Macbeth figure predominantly in my latest book, Persephone Cole and the Halloween Curse, as does the play. Lots of fun!!! H

  18. Margaret Tanner on October 31, 2012 at 1:40 am

    Hi Heather and Cindy,

    Great stories, I would be scared witless if that witch had come to my house. We don’t celebrate Halloween so much in Australia, although over the last couple of years it seems to have gained a lot of followers. I would be a follower, but just for the candy and chocolate bars.



    • Heather Haven on October 31, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Margaret, Halloween has never been as big as it is now. Every year it seems to grow and take in more people. Lots of adults participate and that wasn’t always the case. Sunday I was going to airport at 4:30 am and saw dozens of people out in costume dressed for Halloween. But that’s NYC for you. They are like no other people in the world, seriously. That’s why I know this blow from Sandy will not keep them down for long.

  19. Robin Burcell on October 31, 2012 at 8:25 am

    My childhood nemesis is Dracula. I had nightmares for weeks. (Incidenteally, those shows on TV have it wrong. According to my nightmares, the way to best a vampire is to defang it.) Back then, if Dracula had showed up at the door, I would have fainted. Thank goodness the vampire craze was still decades away.

    To this day, my oldest, now 22, is afraid of ET… She absolutely will not watch the movie. She was about 4 the first time she saw (and was scared of) him. I still can’t figure that one out. ET is so cute! There’s no telling what will frighten a kid.

    • Heather Haven on October 31, 2012 at 9:30 am

      Let me get this straight, Robin. So carrying around a pair of pliars instead of a crucifix or garland of garlic is a better choice for fending off a vampire? Hmmmm. I can work with that.

  20. Madeline Olson on October 31, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Loved the blog, Heather and Cindy!
    Here’s a fond childhood memory: Our next-door neighbors, the sweetest, kindest family on the block, one year decorated their house and yard like a cemetary, complete with a series of skeletons and zombies slouched across chairs leading to the porch. They rigged up a speaker beneath one of them, and as a group of kids passed it, Mrs. E (unseen inside the house) would whisper something sinister. If that didn’t fully freak them out, when they reached the porch, lit only by a collection of jack o’lanterns, the porch zombie (Mr. E) would sit up and moan.
    Needless to say, the little kids would shriek and run to their parents at the street and the big kids would love it. This was in the old days, when people weren’t worried about lawsuits, I guess.
    I always checked with their son ahead of time to find out what the “trick” would be that year so I’d be mentally prepared!
    Happy Halloween, everyone!

  21. Heather Haven on October 31, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Wow! I would love to see that house. I live in San Jose and nothing like that goes on around here that I know of. Anyone? Where would be a good spook place in San Jose, Ca?

  22. Heather Haven on November 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Cindy, many thanks for inviting me to visit on your blog. It was sensational, as are you.

    • Cindy Sample on November 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Heather. Thanks for writing such a fun post. I loved reading everyone’s comments. And congratulations to Cathy Ann Adkins, the winner of the box of Sees truffles!

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