“The October Game” Summary: Ray Bradbury Short Story Synopsis

The October Game Ray Bradbury Summary
“The October Game” Summary

“The October Game” is a short story by Ray Bradbury that was first published in 1948. It’s about a  couple who are preparing to host a Halloween party. Their marriage is troubled and the man has decided to make his wife suffer. Here’s a summary of “The October Game”.

“The October Game” Summary

Mich puts the gun back into the bureau drawer. That would be too quick, and he wants Louise to suffer a long time.

It’s Halloween and he can hear children outside. His relationship with Louise mirrors the season. There’s no hope for them. Mich’s eight-year-old daughter Marion runs around the house trying on masks; she settles on a skeleton.

Halloween has always made Mich sad. He was crying all evening. There won’t be a spring this year. Louise has been preparing for the evening all day and avoiding Mich in the process, rushing from room to room. The house smells of rich syrupy candy.

Mich does up his cufflinks, adjusts his bow tie and puts on his dark coat. Marion comes in and shows off her mask. Marion looks like Louise, nothing like him. Mich had wanted a boy. After Marion, Louise couldn’t have more children. He pities Marion because he has never loved her. Louise didn’t want a baby; he had insisted and she resented him. Living through the ordeal and having a blonde girl was her revenge.

Mich can’t bear the thought of another winter trapped in the house with a wife and daughter who don’t love him. He’s worn down by business failures, tension with Louise and distance from Marion. He wants to hurt Louise by taking Marion away from her.

The doorbell rings and children start arriving. Louise let’s them in and Mich goes down and greets them. The doorbell stops ringing at ten o’clock and Mich takes the party over from Louise, talking to the parents and supervising a few games.

The lights go out and Mich leads everyone to the cellar for an activity via a jerry-rigged slide. A wailing sound is heard in the dimly lit cellar. Everyone but Marion is excited and talking. Mich and Marion slide down last.

Over thirty people, children and adults, sit in a wide circle. Louise is at the far end and Mich is by the stairs. It’s completely black now. He starts his spiel about a dead witch, passing a knife, her head, arm, and heart, which each person passes to the next. One of the children starts explaining how they’re only handling clay and various food items, but is hushed for spoiling the game.

Some of the children are too afraid to touch the items and they leave their seats to stand in the middle of the room. Louise tries to reassure Marion but she doesn’t answer. Mich says she’s not afraid. The game continues with much screaming and enjoyment.

Louise again calls out to Marion in the dark. There’s no answer and everyone goes quiet. She gets frantic and keeps calling out. The children stop passing the items, and one of the adults wants the lights turned on.

Louise starts shrieking and doesn’t want the lights on. Everyone freezes and the wind outside bangs against the house. A boy runs outside and goes around the house calling out to Marion, but can’t find her.

Someone turns on the lights.

I hope this summary of “The October Game” by Ray Bradbury was helpful.