Dear Reader: (Yes, that's the Editor in Hallowe'en makeup on the left! So what?)

Another summer is gone into memory and taken with it those sweltering, humid days of August; the thunderstorms, the buzzing insects, the loud bark of lawn mowers and leaf blowers, the cacophony of children screaming, poolside, lawnside and outside every window. Time seems to be slowing down, now. Noises are muted. There's a different dynamic in the atmosphere, the change awakening an anticipation within our souls.

Only those without a spark of childhood left in their hearts can fail to understand the lure of Autumn as it races toward Hallowe'en, taking our dreams and our full consent with it. Hallowe'en, a time of mystery and history and glee and celebration.

Remember back to the days when you couldn't sit still in school because Hallowe'en was only a week away. All other things in your life took a back seat to the fact that the time of magic was returning.

What to wear? Be a ghost? A vampire? Frankenstein's misunderstood monster or the wolf man? Maybe Batman or Zorro or a clown or put burnt cork on your face and be a tramp? It didn't matter what you decided, the fact was that for one day a year you got to pretend to be somebody else and get away with the things you'd likely be punished for any other day of the year. And you'd also be rewarded with bags of candy and popcorn and peanuts and money and everything important to pint sized bandits out to garner all the loot possible in one short night.

Whether we trace the magic back to Druidic festivals or race memories, mass hysteria or psychotic intervals in our otherwise ordered lives, adults seem to need a reason to rekindle those feelings from childhood, or at the very least to acknowledge they exist still. Let them have reign, indulge them for a little while. Nobody's watching.

The chill is in the air and the clouds are lowering, wind whispers the leaves to agitation and spirits are loosed once again to devil our perceptions and tickle our hearts with delicious dread.

This issue of Writer's Cramp introduces some new works to salve your spirits with haunted visions and some old charmers unearthed only for this occasion. Take time to sit back with your favorite drink, muted organ music in the background, subtle lighting washing over your palid brow and the offerings of this supernatural submission to satiate your slavering succubus.

Happy Hallowe'en kiddies.