Strange things have been happening at Lansing Community Library. Books are falling off of shelves, chairs are moving and lights are turning on and off – and doing so on their own. Who or what has been causing these things to happen – and why?

That is the writing prompt devised by library officials for a Halloween season writing contest.

“We want a short story, the more creative the better,” said Terri Wojtalewicz, director of the library. “Give us a cool story. Be creative and tell us an interesting story.”

She said writing contest judges will look for creativity as well as proper grammar and sentence structure. They also will be judging how a story flows and how it keeps the reader’s interest.

“I’m excited to see what the writers come up with,” she said.

There will be three age categories in the writing contest, including kindergarten through fifth grade, sixth through 12th grade and adults.

There is no cost to enter the writing contest.

There are several writing contest rules. All stories are required to be original. Stories must be written in English and previously unpublished. Only one submission is allowed per entrant. Stories must include a beginning, middle and end. Stories must be typed on five or fewer sheets of paper.

Writers are not to put any identifying information such as name, address or phone number on their submitted story.

Entrants will fill out a separate entry form when they submit their story at Lansing Community Library. Librarians will assign numbers to each submitted story to identify the author. Library officials say this allows for anonymous and fair judging of the entries.

The judges for the contest will consist of an anonymous panel of people to include city staff and Lansing High School staff.

Judges will select the first- and second-place winners in each age category. The top writers in each age category will receive gift cards.

Judges will also name a grand prize winner for the best overall story. An excerpt of the grand prize winner’s story will be published in the Leavenworth Times.

The Friends of Lansing Community Library organization is sponsoring the gift card prizes.

The library began accepting writing contest submissions this week. All submissions are due by Oct. 15.

The winners will be announced Oct. 29. A celebration and reading of the winning stories will be held Oct. 30.