It may be a little early to start decorating for Halloween, but it's not too early to start writing about it.
For area students grades 5 through 8, now is the time to start thinking about Halloween and let imaginations run wild. Students have until 5 p.m. Sept. 4 to write original, Halloween-inspired short stories for the Paducah Parks Services Halloween Short Story Contest.
Not sure where to start? The first sentence is already written. Every submitted story must begin: "The glow of the jack-o-lantern hovered over the front steps." The rest of the story - which should be no longer than 600 words - is up to each young writer.
"It's all about inspiring them to write," said Amie Clark, Paducah Parks Services recreation superintendent. "We're not choosing winners based on grammar or anything. It's all about the story and how they make it work."
First-, second- and third-place winners will be chosen for each grade. Each first-place story will be published in Purchase Parenting and Family Magazine's October edition, and second- and third-place stories will also have their titles and authors' names printed in the magazine.
Paducah Parks Services has a few words of advice for aspiring young writers entering the contest: Be original, be creative and follow the rules. The best stories in the world will be eliminated if they do not follow the contest criteria.
Clark emphasized that originality trumps all in this contest.
"The ones that we pick out stand out easily," she said. "They're different."
Stories can be brought or mailed to the Paducah Parks Services offices at 1400 H.C. Mathis Drive. For more information, Paducah Parks Services can be reached at 270-444-8508.