GUEST POST: Erica Lucke Dean

The Unsung Hero of Halloween

Is it just me? Or is everyone too tired to drag out the Halloween decorations this fall? We’re nearly three-quarters of the way through year two of the pandemic, and I barely have the energy to change out of my pajamas most days. I sure as hell don’t feel like getting my porch all dolled up like it’s going to a spooky party. Besides, where I live, we don’t get trick-or-treaters on a good year, so it’s not as if anyone would see them. And since I’ve only been inside the grocery store a total of five times in the past several months, I haven’t gotten swept away by the impulse buys. I can scarcely believe it’s already October, and I don’t even have candy corn yet.

What? Is that the sound of candy corn haters I hear? I’ve got news for you. I actually like the tri-colored confection. I might even go so far as to say I love it. And do not @ me, people. I’m well aware that eating too much of the sickeningly sweet stuff causes a wicked headache worthy of the worst hangover ever. And yeah, the sugary goodness gets stuck in all the nooks and crannies of the most expensive dental work. But it’s also the very epitome of fall. It screams of cool evenings, pumpkin patches, kids in costumes and…

As Forrest’s buddy, Bubba Blue, might say, candy corn is the fruit of the corn maze. You can make candy corn fudge, candy corn peanut bars, candy corn rice crispy treats, candy corn Chex mix, candy corn poke cake, candy corn Halloween bark, white chocolate chunk candy corn sugar cookies, candy corn trail mix, candy corn chocolate chip cookie cake, candy corn brownies, candy corn blondies, candy corn pop corn balls, candy corn ambrosia, candy corn cheesecake, pumpkin bread with candy corn topping, candy corn biscotti, candy corn punch, candy corn cake pops, candy corn lollipops… you can add candy corn to plain M&Ms, peanut M&Ms, and mini pretzels. And don’t forget the candy corn Jell-O shots! 

In a pinch, candy corn can even do double duty as fall decor. Fill a jar halfway with the itty bitty sweets and stick a candle in the middle. Hell, it’s even good for stress relief. Who wouldn’t want a pumpkin shaped piñata filled with candy corn to work out those pandemic frustrations, while also satisfying a sweet tooth? And before you say, “but it’s bad for you!” I have it on good authority, you can buy organic candy corn, and how can that be bad?

So to all the naysayers out there, I’ve got one thing to say to you… quit hating on candy corn! It’s quite literally the unsung hero of Halloween. You heard it here first.

After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica Lucke Dean moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains where she lived in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse.

Tired of being woken up in the middle of the night by a pesky poltergeist, the author of contemporary young adult, romantic comedy, and paranormal romance moved into a cute little cabin in the woods, where she lives with her husband, her dogs, and the occasional bear. Much like the characters in her books, Ms. Dean is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces.

How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.

You can find out more about Erica, in addition to her humorous blog posts and disasters, on her website.

Represented by: Cathie Hedrick-Armstrong of The Purcell Agency

Eve Versus the Apocalypse
When everyone she cares about is killed in an alien invasion, college color guard Eve uses her skills with a saber to battle her way through the changing landscape. Faced with monsters of more than one kind, Eve isn’t sure who to trust. After running into a group of survivors, she must decide if a new alliance with the dangerously sexy Archer is worth the risk. His offer of protection is tempting, but if she agrees to join him, her life may not be the only thing on the line.

Eve on Kindle Vella
New episodes drop every Sunday

Halloween Extravaganza: Linda Addison: Candy Corn!!!!

Am I the only one who remembers thinking as a child that when I grew up I would buy as much candy as I wanted and eat it every day? As an adult, other than a brief flirtation with Sugar Babies, Candy Corn still has a strong hold on me. I can’t even imagine eating only one candy corn. Once I start eating them, one by one, I can’t stop until my teeth ache and my stomach starts to whine. Other than the obvious ingredient of sugar, I was curious what else made up this innocent-looking, yet seductive deliciousness.

Curiosity has lead me to research many things, but usually it’s stuff like quantum mechanics, etc. Finding out that the place of origin for candy corn was Philadelphia was interesting, since I grew up there. Maybe that explained its hold over me? Originally it was called “Chicken Feed” when it was created in the 1880s. I’m pretty sure if they had kept that name I wouldn’t be writing about it now. It’s mainly made from sugar, corn syrup, honey & salt; well, that’s all the different kinds of sweet that accounts for the I-can’t-stop-eating-it-ness.

Millions of pounds are produced each year, which is how it’s on every store counter I pass in October. Sometimes research turns up information I wish I had never found, like there are variations of candy corn created for other holidays, not just Halloween. What the—!

There’s brown/orange/white candy corn for Thanksgiving (okay, I did know about this since it’s slyly shown up in October), red/green/white for Christmas, red/pink/white for Valentine’s Day, blue/white/red for Independence Day in the United States, and Bunny Corn for Easter (two color candy: pink/green/yellow/purple mixes). The madness goes on: caramel apple, green apple candy corn, s’mores, pumpkin spice, carrot corn, birthday cake…

There’s other forms the insidious flavor has invaded: candy corn flavored bagels, flavored martinis, Halloween costumes, beer, smoothies, deep fried, etc. Of course, a “Candy Corn” movie was released in 2019, since Tony Todd is in it I’ll have to track it down.

There are studies on how people eat each piece (whole or nibble from narrow end or the wide end), truth is I’ve done all three.

In case you think I’m the only one to obsess about this there are many essays online about candy corn. Elise Taylor wrote an essay for Vogue magazine in 2017 titled: “Candy Corn: You Either Love It or Hate It, There Is No In-Between”. There’s all kinds of statistics about people hating and loving candy corn. From Taylor’s article: “As Halloween comes and goes, so will the candy corn debate. But in late September, it’ll creep back into our consciousness and conversations again, a sugary Pennywise the Clown ready to terrorize your teeth, your towns, and your Twitter feed.”

I found a “Candy corn lovers support group” on FaceBook but I don’t think they’re going to help me control this problem because the first photo is for candy corn soda. So my little exclusion has opened up a door to eating candy corn all year long, in flavors and forms I never imagined—Noooooooo!!!

Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of four collections, including How to Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, the first African-American recipient of the HWA Bram Stoker Award, received the 2016 HWA Mentor of the Year Award and the 2018 HWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Check out her latest poetry in The Place of Broken Things, writen with Alessandro Manzetti (Crystal Lake Publishing, 2019). She is excited about the 2020 release of a film (inspired by my poem of same name) Mourning Meal, by producer and director Jamal Hodge.

How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend

Who doesn’t need to know How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend? From the first African-American to receive the HWA Bram Stoker award, this collection of both horror and science fiction short stories and poetry reveals demons in the most likely people (like a jealous ghost across the street) or in unlikely places (like the dimension-shifting dreams of an American Indian). Recognition is the first step, what you do with your friends/demons after that is up to you.

The Place of Broken Things

Bram Stoker Award® winners Linda D. Addison and Alessandro Manzetti use their unique voices to create a dark, surrealistic poetry collection exploring the many ways shattered bodies, minds, and souls endure. 

They created poems of visionary imagery encompassing death, gods, goddesses and shadowy, Kafkaesque futures by inspiring each other, along with inspiration from others (Allen Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Phillis Wheatley, etc.).

Construction of The Place started with the first bitten apple dropped in the Garden. The foundation defined by the crushed, forgotten, and rejected. Filled with timeless space, its walls weep with the blood of brutality, the tears of the innocent, and predatory desire. Enter and let it whisper dark secrets to you.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.