The Liturgical Calendar of Horror

The liturgical calendar is a way religions organize their feasts and holidays. I like it, because it organizes a rhythm for life. I’m a seasonal person. I love the ebb and flow that comes with each shift in time. From left to right, the Christian, Jewish, and Wiccan calendars:

Christian Jewish

With that thought in mind, I designed a liturgical calendar for the horror votary. This is not meant as sacrilege, but as a way to communicate, in image, what it means to love horror all year long to the rest of the world. The big idea behind any liturgical calendar is finding a way to organize your time and life to promote love and joy. Without further adieu, here it is:

Liturgical Horror


Halloween runs from mid-August to early November. It includes an array of fall activities for getting into the spirit, followed by formal celebration during Hallow Week.


Votaries consider November to be Autumn’s Last Hoary Breath, or Last-Breath. Typical observations include watching the leaves die, wearing moth-eaten sweaters, drinking the last pumpkin spice lattes, and participating in NaNoWriMo.


Hunting season occurs the first three weeks of December. While most people hunt for presents and Christmas decorations during this time, the votary has already hung their Halloween decorations. A true votary hunts gremlins during this season, because no present says I love you like gremlin taxidermy.

Winter Costume Break

Votaries attend ugly Christmas sweater parties, affording the perfect opportunity to wear monstrosities that will horrify their friends and family. At these gatherings, votaries tell children about the gluttonous man about to sneak into their houses in the middle of the night and punish them for being naughty.


A votary takes down decorations to observe WinterKill, the time of year when falling icicles, snowy roads, and -50 degree weather try to kill you (in Iowa, anyways). The season aligns humans with vampires–living in the dark under a coffin of blankets, craving a 98.6-degree beverage to drink.

Spring Costume Break

Two spring costume breaks interrupt WinterKill. One is called Mardi Gras, and it involves wearing a mask while coercing others into excessive behaviors. The second is called St. Patty’s, and it involves pinching strangers that don’t observe the costume rules, something that should be done on All Hallow’s Eve as well.

Cruellest Months

“April is the cruellest month,” wrote T.S. Eliot, and he was right. From late March to early May, spring rears its ugly head, tormenting people with vacillations between sunny daffodils and thunder snow. In this time, the votary knows she is living the part of the scary movie when the killer just won’t die.

Dangerous Time

Instead of Ordinary Time, which runs throughout summer in the Christian calendar, the votary marks the dangerous time: boats, fire play, the sun, tornadoes, summer camp–all of these allow the votary to live dangerously before settling back in for Halloween observations.

What other rituals do horror votaries observe?

2 thoughts on “The Liturgical Calendar of Horror

  1. booksbrainsandbeer says:

    Clever. One of the things I like about having a calendar for my faith (in contrast to everyday life) is that it separates it from the mundane: It creates a stronger sense of “sacred time.” I would imagine that, as a writer, developing your own calendar could enhance mindfulness about your craft.


    • Jennifer Brinkmeyer says:

      Certainly! I’ve always been a seasonal person, so I enjoyed articulating (with humor) what it is to live in this genre year-round. I like your point about sacred time. Our time is always sacred, but sometimes we struggle to name it as such.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s