Horror Fiction Review: The Halloween Children by Brian James Freeman & Norman Prentiss

Make sure you're not that house. You know the one. The lights are out and there is not even a bowl of teeth rotting candy left out for the little beggars . . .

The Halloween Children by Brian James Freeman & Norman Prentiss
Horror Fiction
Released June 2017
The Halloween Children are watching—they’re always watching in this chilling novel of suburban horror from Bram Stoker Award winner Norman Prentiss and Brian James Freeman of Cemetery Dance Publications.

The accommodations at Stillbrook Apartments aren’t exactly glamorous, but they’re quiet, affordable, and well maintained. The handyman is usually available to help with a leak or a broken bulb, his wife and two adorable kids often tagging along. When occasion dictates, the neighbors gather to wish each other well and spread the requisite holiday cheer. Everything’s very nice. Very normal.

But as Halloween approaches, strange occurrences are happening all around Stillbrook. The children tell disturbing stories, bizarre noises bleed through the walls, and one abandoned unit is found to be inhabited by something sinister—something that’s no longer alive.

For the safety of the tenants, the Halloween party has been canceled. There will be no decorations or masks, no candied apples or witch’s brew. But without treats to divert the Halloween Children, they have no choice but to play some very nasty tricks.

My Thoughts

I’m giving The Halloween Children a solid four stars because it created a smothering sense of creepiness and managed to maintain it throughout the entire story and it held my attention from beginning to end. You know from the beginning that something terrible is coming but you’re never sure exactly what form that terribleness is going to take and when it’s finally revealed in all its gruesomeness it is quite terrible indeed!

But this isn’t a five star read for me because it is told by two very unreliable narrators and in the end many things were left unanswered. So many things! The authors could potentially write another short story just tying off all the dangly bits. I don’t need everything wrapped up in a bloody little bow but when I finished this story I felt like I needed to read it again in an attempt to learn more.

Basically it’s a story set in an apartment complex that may or may not be inhabited by insane occupants, murderous humans small and large, soul-stealing demons, or perhaps evil, whispering ghosts. Take your pick or choose them all, if you wish. Harris and Lynn are our main narrators and neither are very stable personalities, though usually entertaining to listen to. They have two children and they each favor a particular child and don’t work too hard at hiding their feelings. That’ll mess a kid up, just saying. Harris is the building maintenance man and starts to notice some very strange and usually smelly events occurring when he’s out on late night calls. When the party pooping property manager cancels the Halloween party the events ramp up and this strangeness begins to infect his personal space and, well, I can’t tell you any more without spoiling too much.

This is a great little story to read on Halloween. It has some delightfully ghastly imagery, creeped me out and even made me laugh a few times. I am very glad that I no longer live in an apartment complex and that I always bought candy for the brats when I did!

I received an ARC of this story from Netgalley, thanks Netgalley. I also read this book to participate in the Horror Aficionados October Group Read.


  1. I guess it might be worth it for the ghastly imagery alone with knowing that I'll be left without answers in advance.

    For What It's Worth

    1. A friend of mine said she went back and reread it and many of her questions were answered. I'm too lazy for that though. Maybe next year.

  2. Sounds like a great read for this time of year. You know, I'm not convinced I've jumped on the whole "unreliable narrators" bandwagon. Whenever I hear it, I think of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train and neither were faves of mine.

    1. Yeah, they can be tough. These two were more situational madness induced rather than straight up narcissists, lol. I think you would enjoy this story.

  3. I like short stories, but they do leave you hanging sometimes. I think that's why I like longer fiction. I like to have all my questions answered. :)

  4. Oh no...not the children. lol sounds pretty good and I would give it a shot.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  5. This sounds more complicated than I was expecting. It still sounds like a good pick for Halloween, though!

    1. Yep, definitely! Some of those images were sooo disturbing.

  6. Got this on my list. I love creepy and kids really do that in horror!

  7. I hate loose ends at the end of a book!


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