The Costume Party

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Abandoned

A Halloween costume party in most places is just good fun but in Danberry Illinois sometimes it is more.

The annual Danberry costume party was in full swing and Frank Johnson was attending to the door.  The man stumbled up the stairs and shuffled inside.  Frank looked over the costume and let out a low whistle.  ‘Damn you went all out on that costume.’

The man’s head was tilted to the left almost at a weird angle.  He sort of half groaned and half growled as he shuffled past Frank.

Frank gave him a slap on the back and dust came off the man’s jacket.  ‘I do think you over did it with the smell though.’

The man just kept shuffling along as if he hadn’t even seen Frank there.  He was passing the buffet table when somebody stuck a glass in his hand.  ‘Drink up buddy’

The man brought the drink up as he made the groan sound again.  The drink missed his mouth and splattered all over his face and chest.

A small boy saw him shuffling across the dance floor and let out a scream ‘Zombie.’  The boy’s mother quickly shhh’ed the boy.  The man didn’t seem to notice as he passed them.  The mother covered her mouth.  ‘Mom the zombie made stinky.’




Martha Waters at eighty-three years old was the oldest person at the party, that was only because her husband had died last year.  They had attended this party every year in costume.  He had proposed at this party and a year later had somehow persuaded Father Joseph to perform the wedding at the party.  This was the first year she wasn’t in costume, but without Charlie, it hadn’t felt right.  Charlie had loved this party and every year made their costumes himself saying they were going to win the costume contest, they never did, but that didn’t stop Charlie.

She wouldn’t have even come except Charlie had made her promise to come this year as he lay dying in the hospital.  She had decided she would stay for another thirty minutes then she was headed home.  She looked up as she smelled something.  She saw the man as he shuffled towards her and she couldn’t believe her eyes.  His face was rotted and his suit needed a good cleaning, but that was her Charlie.




Sheriff Nestor and Old Rufus the gravedigger came in the back door.  They weren’t sure what to expect, maybe panic, possibly a bloodbath.  What they saw was Martha Waters dancing slowly with her dead husband.

‘How you want to handle it Sheriff?’

‘I don’t know Rufus.  Why tonight and why this party?’

‘You never knew Charlie did you sheriff?’

‘He died just before I was hired.’

‘All Charlie ever wanted was to win the costume contest.  He would spend months working on his costume.’

‘What that have to do with him coming here tonight?’

‘I think Charlie wants to try one last time to win that contest.’

‘So, you think we should leave him alone until after the judging?’

‘I think we should make sure he wins, or he just may come back next year.’

Frank Nestor shook his head.  As a detective in Baltimore homicide he had dealt with some crazy stuff, but nothing like he has since become the sheriff of this small Illinois town. He had come here to get away from the crime of the big city, but times like this made him miss the city and its crime.  He truly believed that Danberry somehow attracted all this weirdness and that made him wonder why he had been attracted to the town.

‘You keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t start biting people.  I’ll go see if I can get the judges to vote for him.  I really hope this works.’

Rufus nodded and headed over towards Martha and Charlie.  The couple was at a table after their dance just holding hands as he approached them.  He nodded to Martha as he moved to stand behind Charlie.

‘Are you going to take him Rufus?’

‘Not yet Martha, but he has to go back, you know he does.’

‘But he is a good man.  He won’t hurt anybody.’

‘He is Martha and he misses you a lot.’

‘I try to visit him, but it is hard for me.’

‘He understands.’

The old woman began to cry softly, and the zombie reached out and gently wiped her tears away.  She smiled at her dead husband and squeezed his hand.

‘I love you Charlie’




‘Mayor O’Shea can I speak with you?’

Robert O’Shea looked up from the table he was sharing with his wife and daughter.

‘Sheriff Nestor this is a party and I want to enjoy it.’

‘Well, we have a situation and need your help dealing with it.’

‘What situation?’

Nestor jerked his head to the side and moved off.  O’Shea got up and followed the sheriff into a corner.

‘What is the situation sheriff?’

‘We have a zombie at the party and need you to make sure he wins the costume contest.’

‘Are you crazy?  Just drag him out of here.’

‘Rufus suggested we let him win or we may just have the same problem next year.’




The old woman and the zombie hugged before he laid back down in his coffin.  Rufus smiled as he shut the lid on the zombie who was now clutching the first prize trophy for the costume contest.  He could almost swear that even though his features were rotted the zombie was smiling.


Submitted: August 06, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Alex S. Foley. All rights reserved.

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I personally think the Zombie venue is vastly overused. But this particular story was absolutely fun, and wildly imaginative. Great Job!

Sat, August 6th, 2022 11:26pm

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