Last year, we asked you to scare us, and you did. Our call for ghostly tales was answered by numerous local writers, and just before Halloween of 2017, we published some of our favorites. And the readers loved them (except for those one-or-two confused folks who missed the word “fiction” in the headlines and began worrying that Petaluma had become massively haunted overnight).

Anyway, we’re doing it again. Sort of.

To mark Halloween 2018, the Petaluma Argus-Courier is once again asking for short, scary, fictional stories, the best of which will be published on Oct. 25, just in time to be read (silently or aloud) to your friends and family, one good way to prepare them all for the spooky fun of Oct. 31. Last year we gave you a list of “prompts” borrowed from H.P. Lovecraft’s “commonplace Book.”

But this year we’re doing something different.

Select one of the images below, and write a story to go along with it. The appropriate images will accompany the three winning stories as illustrations.

Submitted stories should be no longer than 500 words (sorry!), can be either scary or funny or just plain weird, but must be inspired by one of these pictures. All stories must be submitted by Thursday, Oct. 18, at 5 p.m. Please include your full name, and (even if it seems obvious) the image you’ve chose to inspire your work of fiction. Send to Community Editor David Templeton at

Have fun, and … sweet dreams.