Halloween Horror: The Elder Pumpkin
This collection begins with a modern scenario, Eyes That Should Not See by Jim Lynch. When someone begins gouging out the eyes of victims and using trepanation to control them, it's up to the investigators to discover the Great Old One behind it all. Unfortunately, the Great Old One's name (SPOILERS YOU SHOULD NOT SEE) is F'Ncec, which on paper looks like it might be pronounced "effin-kek." Remember authors, always have a reader unfamiliar with your scenario read your Mythos beasts out loud!
F'Ncec has curiously human-like emotions – he is "deeply jealous of Cthulhu's dreams and influence." Really? Great Old Ones get jealous of each other now? What ensues is an escalating series of attacks over Cthulhu's artifacts by F'Ncec's trepanned minions. The descriptions are sparse, the plot is more of an outline, and all around this scenario feels rushed. Still, it has potential, and could easily be plugged into Delta Green's Army of the Third Eye. Three out of five.
For an example of how to write compelling scenes, look no further than Oscar Rios' Halloween in Dunwich. The set up features a ghostly witch, animated scarecrows, hobgoblins, and man-eating cornstalks. The investigators are children who must use the power of folklore and their wits to overcome their great-great-grandmother, which makes their connection to the story all the more compelling. Each character sheet has an interesting background – one even has a ghostly ally that can be summoned in a time of need. The scenario has a time limit and by its nature hedges the investigators in, but that only adds to the spooky Halloween fun. Oscar even provides a variety of options to defeat the witch. This is how you write a scenario! Five out of five.
Terror at Erne Rock by R.J. Christensen also takes places on Halloween in the 1920s, thrusting costumed investigators into a shipwreck that leaves them stranded in a lonely lighthouse. The lighthouse has several dark secrets that begins (TERROR AT SPOILER ROCK) with a seabird attack and concludes with wave after wave of deep ones. This is a straightforward survival horror complete with a few investigator secrets that crop up at inconvenient moments. Four out of five.
The range of scenarios here are above average, elevated chiefly by Oscar's contribution. For a series of Halloween one-shots it's a tasty treat.
[4 of 5 Stars!]