Marisa Fife is a registered nurse, medical editor, and public health writer. She holds a BS in Pre-Veterinary & Animal Science from the University of Massachusetts and a BSN in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University.
Her work experiences have led her from monitoring songbirds for biological surveys, to rehabilitating wildlife, to caring for oncology patients on bone marrow transplant floors. Her first fiction novella, The Woman in Brown, was published in 2022. Her first children’s novel, Will and the Clan of Shadows, is now available.

She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), and Sisters in Crime (SINC) professional writing organizations.”

Crisp, tart, red apples. Cool nights. Slinking black cats. Orange, red, and gold leaves. Melted caramel, sweet spices, and chocolate perfume the air. Warty, squat, saffron-hued pumpkins with shriveled, twisting green stems lurk on mossy brick steps. Hulking, angular Victorian houses filled with creepy shadows, their front yards decorated with enormous plastic skeletons. (My favorite display was a life-sized plastic skeleton horse pulling a cart filled with cheerily waving faux human skeletons).

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. There’s just something playful, mischievous, and youthful about the season that I love. The costumes crack me up. So do the purple frosted cupcakes with candy monster eyes, bat-shaped sprinkles, and raspberry filling designed to look like blood. As a child, I loved movies like The Addams Family (1991) and books like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. Vincent Price enthralled me as much as Alfred Hitchcock, and I still adore the film Dracula (1931), even if Castle Dracula is infested with armadillos. There are no armadillos native to Transylvania, alas. Perhaps Dracula had an affection for delightfully odd, armored, nocturnal pets with the ability to spread leprosy and dig deep holes in his garden.

Growing up in New England, with Salem and its witchcraft history close by, Halloween was an all-out event. Trick or Treaters, young and old, would gallop, skip, and walk the leaf-littered sidewalks dressed as werewolves, witches, and Wednesday Addams. Colorful candies would fill our pillowcases as we went house to house in the dark. The stars would sometimes burn bright, and the air buzzed with anticipation and magic. If we were lucky, a full moon would grace us with a ghostly silvered world, and the wind would play tricks by making the shadows move––or was there some thing actually lurking there?

I always hoped it was a thing.

I became enamored with Halloween when I was small, helping my mother prepare our carved pumpkin. She cut a spooky face with a knife, and I scooped out the pumpkin’s slimy innards. We toasted the seeds and ate them by the window while watching the trick or treaters go by before we went out in the night ourselves in whatever costume we had begged our parents for that year.

These experiences were the inspiration for my newest novel, The Curse of the Devil’s Purse Inn, a paranormal mystery for ages nine and up. The Sanglier family plans a relaxing vacation in Witchville, Massachusetts, but encounters eerie incidents at the ominous Devil’s Purse Inn. I wanted to write a book that captured things I love about Halloween: magic, mystery, mischief, and fun. And, of course, it also includes lots and lots and lots of candy.

I must leave you now to set up my life-sized skeletons in the front yard. This year’s theme is Jason and the Argonauts (1963). Wishing you all a fantastic Halloween season.

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