Our Holiday HORRORS Flash Fiction Contest Returns!2 min read

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We are delighted to announce that we are hosting a holiday season flash fiction contest. Read on for theme, contest rules, and publication details!

This year Mike Allen will serve as our guest judge! Mike is the owner of Mythic Delirium Books and the editor of the acclaimed Clockwork Phoenix anthology series. As evidenced by his contributions to Apex Magazine over the years (for example, “The Button Bin”), Mike knows his way around horror. We’re delighted to have him!

Mike Allen being “non-threatening.”


The holidays are a time of celebration with family and friends. It is also a time ripe for horror: Krampus, zombie elves, creepy uncles, maniacs in Santa suits. We want the scariest fiction you can write that is set around a celebratory holiday in and around December.

Your stories aren’t restricted to Christmas tales. Also, holidays with religious connections aren’t required. We encourage you to write a holiday themed story relevant to your experiences. Some good examples include Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Winter Solstice, and the Chinese New Year.


  • Your story must be 250 words or less. That is a hard limit. It does not include your title or byline. Our guide will be the Microsoft Word word count tool.
  • Your story must feature the holiday horrors theme and be filled with frights.
  • Entry is free to all.
  • Contest opens on October 1st, 2020.
  • Contest closes at 11:59pm EST, November 15th, 2020.
  • Please submit your story in doc, docx, rtf, or odt format. Use a sensible font that is large enough for us to read (12 pt.).
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Contest is open to everyone. If you’re under 18, you’ll need to obtain permission from a parent or legal guardian.
  • You can have a submission in consideration at Apex Magazine and enter the flash fiction contest separately.
  • Jason Sizemore and Lesley Conner will read all submissions and send their top 20 picks to guest judge Mike Allen (editor of Mythic Delirium Books and the popular Clockwork Phoenix series of anthologies).
  • Winner and runner-up stories will be announced on this blog on December 4th, 2020.
  • Submit via our Moksha Portal here: https://apexbookcompany.moksha.io/publication/holiday-horrors


  • We will choose a winner and two runner-ups.
  • The winner will receive $25 and publication in issue 121 of Apex Magazine.
  • The two runner-up entries will receive $10 and publication on the Apex Magazine blog.
  • Apex will request that the winner and runner-up entries agree to our standard short fiction contract that can be found here. Clause 3 (rights fee) will be modified to reflect the offered payment terms of the holiday horrors flash fiction contest.


A few years ago we ran a Christmas Horror flash fiction contest. We encourage you read our champions’ fine stories and write something even more frightening!

“Christmas Is Coming” by Gina L. Grandi

“A Letter to Santa” by Melanie Rees

“Reconstituted” by Marlee Jane Ward

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$4 funds 50 words of Apex Magazine fiction!