2024 covers

Welcome to the Dark Side!

We are writers mainly from Australia and New Zealand who write speculative fiction with romantic elements. Be it fantasy, paranormal, dark urban fantasy, futuristic and everything in between.

Monday 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween Birthday to us!

Last year on this date, we started this blog and site. Now we are:

It's no coincidence we started this blog on 31st October. After all, what better date to start a blog about the Dark Side. And there's the fun side as well - think The Addams Family - it may be dark, but it's a comedy. Our members cover the whole spectrum.

Here, in the the Down Under lands of Australia and New Zealand, we don't celebrate Halloween like the North Americans do. Though it is gaining in popularity. Many stores I've been in this month have had a Halloween items on display. I even grabbed a couple of masks for my godson and his brother.

So this brought me to asking the DarkSiders the question 
"What Halloween Means to You?" 
and here are the replies.

Astrid Cooper
On Halloween Eve my latest book is going to be released - unplanned, but perhaps "topical" given that I have a futuristic romance with villainous aliens causing mayhem and mischief in the dreamscape and the real world ... swirling mists and moans and groans in the ether... And of course Scotland and Halloween are synonymous. 

Halloween means several things to me - the obvious "fun" of dressing up and being weird and no one bats an eye lid.

I was driving home from a Halloween party run by the Star Trek club. I was pulled over for breathalyser -- I had my waist length hair sprayed green and I was dressed in a black kaftan. My mother was dressed up as a Luke Skywalker, but with a vampire bat attached to her blood-spattered costume. The cops didn't react ... just did their job and waved me on.

The other thing that I think when Halloween comes around .... the historical and Celtic connotations. And how that weaves throughout our culture and story-telling. From the oral tradition of Celtic history through to our modern day story-tellers ... now the digital books. How far as a species we have come!

Shona Husk
I‘ve always had a love hate relationship with horror. I went through a phase of reading Stephen King when I was in my teens but had to stop because I was freaking myself out. Buffy I’d record and watch during daylight. When Supernatural started I watched two episodes and couldn’t handle it (I went back during season three decided the plot and the testosterone on screen was too good to miss and watched from the beginning—however it still scared me and any more than two episodes in a row and I’m wired for anything that goes bump in the night). While Halloween has become all about candy and costumes, I love that paranormals and creepy creatures get their own celebration. It wasn’t that long ago that people gathered around the fire or locked their doors against the things lurking in the shadows.

Jenny Schwartz
I like that Halloween acknowledges there are monsters beyond the proof of science. More than that, it celebrates the delightful terror of the unknown.

Maree Anderson
It all started when my daughter turned five. Instead of wanting a fairy party, or a princess party—like all her little girlfriends were having—she wanted a Halloween party. And she wanted to be Mona The Vampire, from her favourite cartoon about a little girl who used to dress up and pretend she was a vampire. Only trouble with that idea? Her birthday is in August... have you any idea how hard it was back then to find Halloween party stuff for sale in Auckland in August???

But I managed it. Thank goodness for old stock, is all I can say! And a Halloween party she had, complete with Halloween Headquarters banner, spider webs, balloon ghosties, home-made cardboard bats, fake severed finger biscuits (amazing how much like a brown icky dead fingernail a raw almond can look *g*), lolly-snake jelly, spider muffins, and ghostie cake. As for her costume? I found a cape and fangs, and with all her different coloured braids (a la Mona) she made the cutest little vampire ever! No surprises the boys from her kindergarten really enjoyed a non-girlie party where they could dress up as Frankenstein’s monster, zombies, ghosts or wizards ;-) The magician we hired went down a treat, too. (You gotta love five-year-olds. It doesn’t take much to entertain them.) But I think the highlight was the little boy whose dad painted his face, arms and hands green so he could be Frankenstein’s monster, and then realized too late that the paint wasn’t going to come off. His mother was majorly unimpressed! LOL.

Since then we’ve collected all manner of Halloween decorations. And every year we decorate our front window with our Halloween Headquarters banner, spider webs, glowing pumpkins and other spooky stuff. Then we fill our pumpkin baskets with sweets and treats, and wait for the knocks on the door. If DD and her brother aren’t going trick or treating with friends, they dress up and hand out the treats, while DH and I lurk in the background, waiting to see the expressions on the kids’ faces. Priceless!

Nicky Strickland
I love the idea of a time of year where the veil is thin. Regardless of our Southern Hemisphere when the season signals Beltane (& we should be jumping bonfires) I love All Hallow’s Eve and the following Day of the Dead. I wonder if it’s due to a lot of endings loom at this time of year (the calendar, academic/school). For me it’s a connection to the primal cycle of life and death and life again.

Of course the ever growing plethora of Halloween candy appearing in more recent years doesn’t hurt either (I say candy as in this context I view it as candy not lollies – thanks to years of US friends sharing what are the yummier options).

Eleni Konstantine
I'd always liked Halloween as a kid - the idea of dressing up as anything ghastly, and I think this rose from my love of shows like The Addams Family and The Munsters, and cartoons having Halloween specials. Fun if not a little scary. Alas, I don't think I ever dressed up as Halloween is not celebrated in Australia, at least when I was a kid. While Halloween has changed from it's Samhain origins, I like that we acknowledge the other side - the dark side. 

The Addams Family

As stated in a previous post, we are going to have a spookily amazing grand prize, and two runner up prizes. 

Here's the clip:

and furthermore, we have announce runner up prize three!!!!
  • Tracey O'Hara is also donating a T-shirt.
  • Astrid Cooper with eBook of Crystal Dreams and a bookmark.

For your chance to win, please just comment on What Halloween Means To You?

We'll close comments on 2nd November so our NA friends have time to comment too.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last year. We hope to celebrate with you again next year!


  1. Happy anniversary, DarkSiders! Has it really been a year already? Amazing, where has the time gone?!?!?!

    Let the party begin!

  2. Can't believe it's been a year! What a fantastic idea this was, and well done to everyone. It's been an amazing year, with lots of achievements and some folks seeing publication for the first time. Here's hoping that with the push of the forces of Halloween, the coming year will be even better!

  3. Happy blogiversary to The DarkSide! What a marvellous year we've had. Thanks to all those people that slave away to make it happen (I'm eyeballing you, Eleni!), and wishing you many more frightening/magical/fantastical years!

    Em. X

    Awwww.... we're growing up so fast! And what an awesome, awe-inspiring year it's been, too. Hugs, all. And Happy Halloween!

  5. WOOT WOOT!! Congratulations to all!!

    Halloween brings back great memories for me. Me and my friends would always dress up and go trick or treating - doing the Nappysan doorstep challenge.

    They are some of my best memories.

    It's also refreshing to think about the good old days when I was obsessed with ghosts and ouija boards.

    Hope you all have a great day.

  6. Happy blogiversary, Dark Siders! It's been a year already? Good grief! Huge kudos to you all, but especially to our wonderful Eleni!

  7. Hi all
    Loved reading about what halloween means to you. I love the idea of a ghouly celebration too, and going to Mexico to see The night of the dead is high on my bucket list. Just explained to my boys what the origins of the night are, and freaked them out a little (even the 10yo, but he won't admit it). My only complaint about Halloween is that I wish we Southern Hemispherians would get our act together and celebrate stuff seasonally, not by the calendar.

  8. Yay us - we're one! Thanks, Helen for all your hard work.

    Hope any lost souls who rock up on your doorstep are amorous and friendly! :)

  9. Happy first birthday to the Dark Siders! It's been an amazing year and just flown by. We never celebrated Halloween when I was a child growing up in the UK, which is a shame as I'm sure I would have loved all that spooky stuff!

    And thank you Eleni for all your hard work on this fabulous blog!

  10. Happy birthday Darksiders!
    Happy Halloween to all. I hope your day is full of spookiness and fun.

  11. Great to see everyone here. Happy Halloween to you all and thanks for the kind words. A year - I still can't believe it. Here's to many more!!!

  12. Happy Birthday and Spooky Halloween to all Darksiders.

    I hope your area gets into the spirit and you see lots of amazing costumes. May you all get Tricked and Treated.

    For me send chocolates not lollies.

  13. Happy Halloween Birthday!

    Halloween to me means lots of spooktacular kitsch! I'm interested in how the horror and sinister aspects to the tradition has eventually toned down into something a lot more fun.

    Have actually seen children in my neighbourhood trick or treat. Very bizarre. I thought about giving them my business cards if they ever knocked on my door.

  14. Happy Anniversary Darksiders :)

    Happy Halloween everyone.

    I used to be in the Girl Guides and Halloween always meant dressing up. I loved it. And then we'd eat sticky gooey toffees that one girl's mum made so well. I always have lollies in the cupboard for kids trick or treating. It's a fun night.

    Wishing you all another brilliant year!


  15. A very Happy Anniversary (and Halloween) to all the Darksiders - we rock!
    And a very big thank you to Eleni, without whom the Darkside wouldn't be quite so, um, Dark!

  16. Happy Anniversary!!!

    Hallowe'en means candy!! and little adorable children in costumes.. and spirits..

  17. Happy Blogiversary!!! WOOT!!

    What Halloween means to me?
    I am not a fan of the day.As a kid I liked it just for the fact of all the candy..I didn't really like getting dressed up,but if I wanted the candy I had too.So I'd find the simplest costumes I could.Now I rather read about the supernatural worlds in my books.
    The only time I really liked it was watching my nieces and nephews enjoy the day.Getting them dressed up and how excited they were.Then I'd take them trick or treating.But now they've grown out of it.

    I still get candy..I just buy it for myself :)


  18. As a child i never got to join in with Holloween. I would see all the other children dress up and go out with there friends and familys either to parties or to trick and treat in the streets. Then the next day at school i would hear all the fun stories, all the talk of candy and chocolates.
    When i turned 18 i started going to the parties, dressing up and having a good time with my friends. Sometimes we would have bonefires on the beach and each take turns at telling scary stories, or we would have a scary movie night. It was mostly about getting together and celebrating friendships. Now im 30, i dont have children of my own yet, but i make my own treats. Candy apples, coconut ice, chocolate pave, like goodies. I hand them out to the children where i live and also with my neice and nefews and all my friends children. To me Halloween is about togetherness, sweets and good times. I can not wait to have children of my own to be able to share there kinds of advents with them.

  19. Happy blogiversary Darksiders!!! Halloween for me is many things. It is of course the excitment that the kids have, picking out a costume and trying to fool people, going out with friends and getting candy! It's also a fall festival of sorts. A time to celebrate Autumn at it's finest, the colored leaves, the ripe apples, the pumpkins!!! But It's even more than that (this year especially) for me. We celebrate All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day (a day to remember our deceased loved ones). My Dad died on Oct. 6th 2011. So we will be celebrating his life this year along with others we have lost.

  20. Happy Anniversary to all the Darksiders !!!! May there be many more to come.

    And Happy All Hallows Eve to all.

  21. Happy Halloween Birthday!
    Halloween to me is a celebration of creativity, whether it is to scare to outwit or to create. I love seeing houses decked out, unique costumes and seeing Halloween-themed foods. There are so many way to celebrate it, whether it is traditional or retro or modern, it's about having fun and for many that means a chance to be something or someone new. I'm more of a bystander in this regards but I like seeing people get creative :-)


  22. First of all congrats on the 1 year anniversary. :)

    What Halloween means to me is a time to have fun and enjoy yourself. Dressing up however you want without people staring you down and wondering why you aren't wearing "normal" clothes. Normal is boring! Halloween is all about creativity and thinking outside of the norm. I love everything about it.

    Oh, and the candy. Halloween is about candy....lots and lots of awesome candy.

  23. Congratulations!

    Being Australian, Halloween doesn't really mean much to me, but I do love the cool lollies and gummies that come out in spooky themes!

  24. Happy Anniversary, Darksiders! What would life be without a dark side to tempt us?!

  25. Happy anniversary to us!!! So far we've had no trick or treaters visit. Looks like there'll be lots of lollies left over. I'm not complaining. :-)

  26. Happy first birthday! I can’t believe it’s been a year already.

  27. Happy 1st birthday :o)

    Lots of tricks and treats that Halloween for us *grin*

    Rita from South Africa

  28. I'm loving reading all these comments -- thanks heaps for sharing, everyone! Halloween is already over for us. A bunch of DS's mates turned up to go trick or treating with him--he didn't think to warn me first. Sigh. And once I'd fed and watered them, I realized they didn't have any costumes. Out came the old sheets, and all of them went as ghosts. It was either that or dress in scrubs covered in fake blood *g*. I stayed home with DD to hand out sweets, and got to try out my red contact lenses. They're awesome, BTW. Very spooky. Hope everyone had a fun night!

  29. Maree, I'm loving the comments as well. Keep them coming all.

    Passing out the choccies and candy as our US friends say. :))

  30. Happy birthday Darksiders! Happy Halloween to all. Halloween has always been about the kids to me. It was a great way of making memories.

  31. Woot!!! Happy Halloween Darksiders!! And thanks Eleni for pulling us all together for this spookily fun event!!

  32. Samantha Levinson31 October 2011 at 22:24

    Happy Halloween!!

    Halloween for me is another time to get together with family. Carving pumpkins and sharing the real meaning of what the Jack-O-Lanterns were meant to do. The best part is watching all of the kids dress up and parade around in their costumes.

  33. Happy Halloween to all and wow, a year already? How time does fly. Been fun reading all the comments in between all the candy chewing.

  34. Halloween means spending time with my family and friends where goofing off it totally acceptable. I love all the Halloween legends and really anything to do with Halloween? scary movie or novel anyone.....

  35. Happy Birthday and Happy Halloween to you! Halloween to me is a time of fun. You dress up as anything you want, you get treated for it. You can play a trick and get away with it. Its a time for spooky stories and family fun.

    LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

  36. What a fabulous year it has been, happy birthday! Halloween has always been a fun family time. The kid's would help decorate the house, carve pumpkins, and hunt down costumes. Then after they collected all their candy loot, it was laying it all out (in order), to see who got their favorite's. Some wonderful memory days for me.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  37. What does Halloween mean to me?

    When I think of Halloween the first thing that comes to mind is the costumes. The amount of energy and creativity that people put into their costumes at times amazes me. I've seen some truly creepy costumes, but on the other hand I've seen some real stunners as well. I love seeing that creativity come out of people on Halloween when they can give in to their imagination and run wild with their ideas.

    I believe Halloween is also about having fun. Getting together with your family and friends and just having a good time. Forgetting about the worries of yesterday and just working to have a good time with one another.

    And of course, Halloween is about the spooky, creepy, scary things as well. It wouldn't be the same without the houses all dressed up in cobwebs and monsters lurking in the sides as you or your kids go up to try and get the candy....the true treasure of Halloween.

  38. Halloween for me has always been that season and specific day when I was able to let more of my true self come out without being afraid. Decorating with skeletons, flossy spider webs, and lots of black just isn't as well appreciated other times of year. Nor is my penchant for dramatic blood red manicures or vampire fang tee shirts.

    Congrats on the anniversary DarkSiders! We may be on opposite sides of the globe but I have fallen in love with this amazing group and your works. :) Here's to many more years!

    -- Rhianna
    always.and.never AT gmail DOT com

  39. Happy Halloween...or in my case Happy Halloween Sugar Hangover Day!!!!

    I'm in NZ and although we don't really celebrate the holiday, its a really GREAT excuse to pig out on lollies (not that I ever need an excuse!!)
    So that's exactly what my 3 girls and I did last night...ate a truck load of lollies and chocolate, hence the 'hangover'

    Happy Halloween, Anniversary, Blogversary, Birthday to all the lovely Darksiders :)

  40. Fabulous to read all the posts. I hadn't thought about the creativity side of it - there's not many celebrations that encourage that part of us, is there? I've never really done Halloween, being Australian and all, but maybe next year I'll embrace it a bit more.

    Thanks :)

  41. Congrats loved reading the blog

  42. Happy Birthday Darksiders, love checking out your blog!
    Halloween appeals to my 'dark side', the one that had me, as a child, sneaking into the lounge after my parent had gone to bed to watch horror movies with the volume turned down low. Voraciously reading and watching everything I could of the supernatural was and still is my way of life - except now I have fun writing about it as well.
    If only I was game enough to dress on the outside how I see myself on the inside. My family and friends think that I live 'in another realm' as it is. Siggghhhhh!

  43. Darn...did I somehow miss commenting on this?

    Gah! Well if I did...

    *Happy Halloween*

    Halloween..hmm as a kid growing up in Queensland and the UK we never celebrated it. My parents always shook their head and said "We don't celebrate Halloween." Right-e-o...then I married my non Halloween believing husband and he has always said..."We don't celebrate Halloween." *sigh*
    Maybe that is where my subversive interest in things that go bump in the night came from :)

  44. Happy blogversary! What a wonderful day to have your blogversary. ;)

    I grew up in the States, so I celebrated it with all the costumes and the candy afforded to children there.

    But as a young writer... Well, you see, Halloween gave me the opportunity not only to write about characters but also to dress up and *be* one. What fun! The one time of the year the I didn't have to worry about running around and acting like a princess or a gypsy or, one year, a gridiron player. (Last minute costume so I could go out and help shuffle around some younger relatives.)

    So Halloween has always been about my creative side, even though I don't celebrate it here in Australia.

  45. Happy Birthday and Happy halloween!!!!!

    This is the first year I saw halloween close up and personal :) And had fun!!!!! Not really celebrated it, but from an observer's viewpoint!!

    Stocked up on loads of candies, but no costumes ;) Loved watching what everyone else wore..and yeah - window shopping!!!!

    And soaked up on all the paranormal inspiration too ;))

  46. Winners have been announced. Please check the blog to check if you are a winner.


check out all our books on our dsdu-books shelf:
DarkSide DownUnder's book lists (dsdu-books shelf)