Copy Editing Notes

Notes from LAKANA Copy Desk

October 2017

Scary Halloween edition

Halloween is right around the corner, and this edition of Notes will help you avoid any scary mistakes in your stories!  And remember, no matter what the Renaissance Festival types tell you, it’s not Hallowe’en!

jack-o’-lantern: This is the proper way to write about the pumpkin that you inevitably carve too long before Halloween, leading to you trying to scrape off the mold to make room for the candle on Halloween night.

trick or treat:  The kids at your door are trick-or-treaters, and they’re going trick-or-treating. However, what they yell when you open the door, “Trick or treat!” isn’t capitalized.  And remember that you’ll end up with eggs on your car if you don’t give out the GOOD candy. 

scary:  Not scarey. Adding unnecessary vowels is terrifying.

creepy:  If you’re writing about a creepy haunted house, talk about its “creepiness.”  Change the “y” to and “i” when adding a suffix.  The same goes for spooky/spookiness.

All Saints’ Day:  This is the day after Halloween, Nov. 1. It’s also referred to as Allhallows or Allhallowmas in Old English, and you might run across it.  Note that All Hallows is no longer an acceptable spelling.

Other scary words: Remember that fearful doubles the “l” for fearfully, but not for fearfulness.  Horror becomes horrific and horrible and horrifying.  Terror becomes terrifying.  And, of course, blood becomes bloody and bloodied.

And now, since you’ve done so well, it’s time for a treat!  Here’s one of the Halloween recipes from the LAKANA recipe files:

Tombstone Cookies

These ghoulish goodies make great party tray decorations. For a fun presentation, stick them in a "graveyard" of chocolate frosting or pudding and invite the kids to scoop to their hearts' content.


2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg, beaten
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

Mix flour and sugar together well. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Divide dough into two sections and wrap well in plastic wrap or put in zipper-lock plastic bag. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

Put the kids to work making cookie cutters out of cardboard, or find the cutters at your local party store.

When the dough is chilled, roll each section to about 1/8-inch thickness and let the kids go to work with their cookie cutters. Older kids can even use plastic knives or pastry cutters to cut their shapes from the dough. If desired, use cookie stamps to put things like "RIP" on the tombstones. (You can make a cookie stamp out of a potato. Just cut in the desired stamp design.)

Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 350° F for 10-12 minutes. Cool on racks.

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