Spooky stories sought for Halloween writing contest

Driftless Multimedia, LLC, is looking forward to a spooky Halloween and hosting its third annual writing contest, “Spooky Stories to Tell in the Driftless.” Adult (18+) and youth (up to age 17) writers may turn in submissions relaying their best spooky story under the fiction or non-fiction cate-“gory.”

Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place in both cate-“gories”: $100 for first place adult, $50 for second place adult and $25 for third place adult. Youth prizes will be $50, $30 and $15, respectively. The Spooky Stories writing contest is brought to you by Pinters Gardens and Pumpkins, Cresco Theatre and Opera House and Driftless Multimedia. 

Stories will be judged by a ‘spooktacular’ panel of judges from the community and entries will be published in the Driftless Journal throughout October. Share your original fictional haunted stories, or simply write down a ghostly experience you may have experienced personally as non-fiction.


Fictional ghost stories are terrifying to read; the writer can draft a bizarre tale of events that could not possibly happen. Ghost stories are welcome, of course, but submissions can involve any paranormal or supernatural theme. What we’re looking for is creative writing, fresh perspectives and maybe a few surprises. Submissions will be judged on originality, plot structure, quality of writing and the “wow” factor.


Nothing gives readers the chills more than reading about a nonfiction ghostly encounter – events that actually happened. Stories entered in this category should be based on true unexplained events experienced by someone in the Driftless region, whether personally experience or passed down through Driftless lore. Names and dates can be changed for privacy. Submissions will be judged on plot structure, quality of writing, connection to the Driftless and the “wow” factor.


Adult entries must not exceed 800 words. Youth entries must not exceed 500 words. Deadline for submissions is Friday, Sept. 22. Winners in each category will be announced in October. Stories will be published throughout October.

Submissions must include author’s name, hometown, category of entry and contact
information. E-mail submissions to: contest@driftlessjournal.com by 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22. There is no entry fee to participate.

Please keep in mind that the Driftless Journal is a family-friendly publication.


Limit of one story per writer. Individual entries only; group submissions will not be accepted. The story must be your own work – either an original piece, or a retelling (in your own words) of a ghost story/unexplained mystery that you’ve heard or experienced. By submitting your story, you give Driftless Multimedia, LLC, and its partners non-exclusive permission to use content of and/or made by the participant for digital or print publications. You understand that this may include, but is not limited to, social media posts, websites, newsprint, advertisements and audio recordings. You certify that no other person’s permission is needed to authorize the use of said content or images. You agree that Driftless Multimedia, LLC, cannot be held liable for images or content used with your consent.

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