Nothing marks the beginning of fall quite like the start of the NFL season. The Eagles got off to a good start on Sunday, coming from behind to beat the Redskins, 32-27. Our region’s overall mood is tied to the Eagles’ success or failures, so it was nice to begin the week on a high note.

At the Local, we’re beginning to ramp up into our busiest period.

As schools and government get back into their rhythms, our news volume rises with it. We also have a number of special projects lined up for the last third of the year. We’re working on a special edition of ChillLocal focused on the upcoming Fall for the Arts Festival. We have a special pink edition coming on Oct. 3 dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our annual Holidays on the Hill guide is scheduled for Nov. 21. A small business guide and gift guide will follow, as well as our annual Kids Edition on Oct. 31.

Another project on which we’ll soon begin work is the annual Witches and Wizards Weekend guide that corresponds to the neighborhood’s annual festival on Oct. 18-19. This year, the Local is helping the good people at the Chestnut Hill Business District who organize the annual festival with a story contest.

We’re seeking Halloween-themed or other fantasy short stories that complement the festival. In the words of organizer Walt Maguire, the contest is “Open to any subject or style, but remember, this is a Halloween event. It can be funny, scary or even sad. It can feature wizards, lizards, space travelers, princesses, princess rebel space travelers, superheroes, dragons, ghosts or the undead, but it’s probably not going to make it through if it’s about Santa Claus or that time you ate too much frozen yogurt. Unless it was froyo that turned you into a monster.”

Organizers of the festival are getting a panel of judges together to pick winners. We will publish the best stories we receive in the Local’s special section for the festival, which will be part of the Oct. 17 edition. Those winners and others will also be asked to read their stories at a festival event.

Here are the general guidelines:

• The contest is open to all ages.

• Stories should be no longer than 750 words.

• Include your name, phone number and email with every submission. If we can’t contact you, we won’t judge your submission.

• Stories must also be family-friendly. Remember, these need to be publishable in this newspaper and fit for a public reading. In the words of Maguire, “scary, not sweary.”

• The deadline for submissions is Oct. 7.

• Submissions should be emailed as a PDF or Microsoft Word document to

You have almost a month. Get writing.

Pete Mazzaccaro