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Every October, I aim to bring a tiny bit of spookiness to Stone Soup. We tend to think spooky means ghosts and witches—and there is one witch in this issue!—but it is also so many other, subtler things: shutters banging against the side of a house, a lone owl on a branch in a silent forest, a mysterious note left in our favorite haunt. And this issue is full of those slightly spooky moments. But this issue is balanced with humor as well—I especially love the lighthearted energy and inventiveness Aaron Bogner brings to the world he creates in “Qrange’s Predicament,” starting with his characters’ names, of which he writes:

Qrange took great pleasure in playing with his friends. Their names were Iooooooop and Uf. They sound like weird names to us, but then we don’t live there. They might say our names sound weird!

I laughed out loud at these names, but also appreciated the sentences that followed. While I may never meet anyone from another planet, I will meet people from other countries, with names that sound as strange to me as “Uf” or “Iooooooop.” Like every inspiring piece of science fiction, Bogner’s bizarre world helps us to better see our own. Look around and see if there’s something you can, through your art, make similarly strange.

Happy Halloween from Stone Soup!