It is officially spooky season! It’s time to start planning your costume, decorating your house, bobbing for apples and carving up a few pumpkins. Whatever gets you into the ghoulish spirit of All Hallows’ Eve, nothing beats a scary story or two snuggled up under the covers. But with so many to choose from, where to start?
We've listed our favourite books, films and podcasts full of spooky stories to get you in the Halloween spirit…
Here are our favourite horror books, thrillers, and fantasies full of ghosts, goblins, witches and supernatural beings for a Halloween night to remember...
The Haunting of Hill House
No Halloween reading list is complete without Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. One of the best literary ghost stories ever written follows four strangers - an occult scholar, his assistant, a woman with a history of supernatural encounters and the soon-to-be heir of the house - as they convene in notorious Hill House. You'll get all the unnerving haunted house tropes, but with a literary twist.
Let this be the year you finally read the science fiction/gothic horror classic story behind everyone's favourite Halloween costume. Mary Shelley's brilliant novel follows Victor Frankenstein, who discovers the secret to creating life. He uses this knowledge to form a hideous monster, which becomes the source of his misery and demise.
Chuck Palahniuk's collection of twenty-three short stories is perfect for anyone looking for a good scare but not at the expense of good writing. Plus, they're great fun to read in snippets, which is ideal if you don't have the time to dedicate to a full novel this spooky season. Each short story is funny, grotesque, thought-provoking, and not to forget, haunting!
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
So if you love Halloween and want to get in the spirit but don't really feel like sleeping with a light on for the foreseeable future, opt for a classic like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Slightly unnerving and full of creepy imagery but ultimately not a terrifying read.
It wouldn’t be Halloween without a horror story from the King of macabre, Stephen King. Deeply hidden beneath the mundane surface of Derry, Maine, sleeps an ageless evil. It is a malignant force that terrifies the entire town by its mere presence.
Everyone knows this is a killer clown story, but Pennywise isn’t just an ordinary killer clown, he is the very embodiment of pure terror and is what is known as a Deadlight, a horrifying reality of nightmares and hysteria. Read this book at your own peril!
Halloween simply wouldn't be Halloween without the movies to set an eerie scene. There's nothing like a cosy movie night tucked up in bed filled with all the greatest chainsaw-wielding, spell-binding, hair-raising flicks to get you in the spirit...
This Disney classic is one for the whole family and tells the tale of the witchy Sanderson sisters who are accidentally brought back to life by meddling kids. Along with their black-cat companion, the gang must destroy the trio before they suck the life out of all the children in Salem. And it was really filmed in the famed Massachusetts town, so gets points for authenticity.
The Addams Family & Addams Family Values
Another family favourite is, of course, the creepy and the kooky, the mysterious and spooky Addam’s family. There’s nothing not to love about this eccentric, morbid and fun-hearted family. Consider these films perfect viewing for anyone who loves the Halloween mood but could do without actual scares.
This clever-yet-scary slasher movie/black comedy continues to be a fan-favourite. A peaceful small town in California turns into a bloodbath when a masked killer haunts the town. Sidney Prescott, a young teenage girl whose mother was killed a year before, becomes the target of the masked killer! But who is the face behind the mask?
In this John Carpenter feature, masked killer Michael Myers escapes from an asylum and returns to his hometown to stalk a babysitter and her friends on, of course, Halloween Night. If you haven’t quite got your spooky fill, there are seven more installations in the Halloween franchise to enjoy.
Yes, it is as terrifying as you remember. When Linda Blair’s young Regan exhibits signs of possession, her mother seeks out a priest to rid her of the demon. It’s a testament to the film that, as dated as it is, the special effects are still effective today and will leave you shaken. Are you brave enough for this supernatural horror?
If you’re looking for the best podcasts that tackle spooky tales, the paranormal and the supernatural, you’ve come to the right place. Listen if you dare...
If you're interested in looking behind the scenes of classic horror stories, this is the podcast of your dreams (or nightmares!). Halloween Unmasked by film critic Amy Nicholson reviews everything behind the Halloween movie franchise from the movie elements to the rich history behind it. Everything from the original 1978 version by John Carpenter to the four-decade-later Halloween films is included.
Even though fictional horror stories are pretty scary, the scariest tales come from real life. This podcast features true stories of the supernatural. You have 5 seasons worth of episodes to test your nerves.
Alice Isn't Dead
With a killer name like that, you know this podcast is going to leave you wanting more. Unlike other spooky fictional podcasts, this is a serial fiction podcast. It follows the story of a truck driver's search across America for her thought-to-be dead wife. Spooky! Alice Isn't Dead has plenty of stories and juicy twists to keep you guessing.
Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous film tells us the story of the genesis of one of the most famous horror films of all time. Based on Robert Bloch’s book and inspired by the real-life killer Ed Gein, listen to the process of how the adaptation gets taken from literary to the big screen.
Halloween Night 1994
There was no better time than Halloween Night in 1994! This is the podcast that remembers all things Halloween in the ‘90s through pop culture, movies, history and some childhood nostalgia.
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