Avoid Being Haunted by AP Stylebook Mistakes this Halloween

Oct 28, 2015 Christine Lewis

Somehow, summer has officially transitioned into fall and now Halloween is fast approaching this Saturday. Whether you’re still debating if you should dress up as Donald Trump or the classic ghost route, as PR people it is important to always have our writing skills buttoned up. As such, here are some quick AP style guidelines to keep in mind for any Halloween-oriented content this week:

  • Halloweenthe festive eve of All Saints’ Day (both Oct. 31)

  • Day of the Dead (Nov. 1)

  • jack-o’-lantern

  • Popular candy: M&M’s, Reese’s peanut butter cups, York peppermint patties

  • Popular costume accessories: chain saw, eye patch, handgun, shotgun, UFOs

  • Satan (devil is not capitalized)

  • spider web

  • trick-or-treating and trick-or-treater require hyphens; the phrase trick or treat does not

  • It’s fall! Seasons are never capitalized.

  • Daylight saving time ends on Sunday at 2 a.m. It’s saving, not savings.

Read full AP Style guidelines

And, avoid spooking off journalists by adhering to these three key and commonly abused AP rules:

  • Numbers under 10 should be spelled out, unless it is a percentage.

  • Titles should only be capitalized if it precedes an individual’s name. The title should be lower case if it falls after the name.

    • Account Director Christine Lewis

    • Christine Lewis, account director

  • Its/it’s. “It’s” is a contraction for it is. “Its” is possessive.

    • The company announced its quarterly earnings yesterday...

    • The company announced it's relocating to Boston...

For more tips, check out our blog post on AP style tips for fall and follow @APStylebook on twitter.


Topics: InkHouse, Public Relations, Writing, Journalism
Christine Lewis

Christine is an account director at InkHouse.

Read more from Christine Lewis

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