I love Halloween. I have really fond memories of dressing up and trick-or-treating when I was a kid, and now that I’m an adult I love the general aesthetic and spookiness that comes with this time of year. So I thought I would put together a big master list of spooky/spoopy things that I love, in the hopes that you might love some of them too! A lot of them are pretty well-known, so this probably acts more as a list of my favourites than a list of new recommendations. But that’s ok!
- Her Body and Other Parties – I will NEVER mention this book enough times. It’s a short story collection that ‘demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism.’ It is feminist and queer and every story has an unsettling twist.
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle – We stan Shirley Jackson in this household! This is a really strange book about Merricat and her sister Catherine, and the secrets that they hold. It’s a masterclass in the unreliable narrator, and I definitely need to re-read this book again soon.
- Undead Girl Gang – This is a relatively new read, but it’s definitely a new favourite! The basic premise is that our main character Mila raises her best friend from the dead after her apparent suicide…and accidentally raises two other girls from the grave as well. It’s both funny and has a bit of an edge.
- The Devouring Gray – I know that this book got a bit of a mixed reaction, but I loved it. It has everything I want – creepy small towns with ancient lore, queer characters, and a nameless beast! It’s exactly the type of spooky and witchy content that I love.
- Slasher Girls & Monster Boys – this is a YA anthology of horror stories from authors such as Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake. Obviously some stories will be better than others, but I thought this was a strong horror collection.
- Coraline – A Neil Gaiman classic, this movie follows Coraline as she discovers a secret door that leads her to her Other Mother. This should not be classed as a kids film because it is utterly horrific. (I love it, obviously.) And I actually think that I might like the movie better than the book!
- The Cabin in the Woods – Everyone always says the same thing about this film but I’ve got to repeat it – the less you know about it, the better. You go into it thinking that it’s going to be a pretty average horror film with a generic premise and characters, but it is so much more than that. GOD I love this movie!
- Ready Or Not – This is a really new horror film (it should still be playing in cinemas when this post goes up!) but one that I really enjoyed. It follows Grace, a new bride who has to play a sinister game in order to be accepted into her husband’s family. It is really funny and has a killer (hehe) cast.
- ParaNorman – This is such a sweet kids film! It follows Norman, a kid who can see and communicate with ghosts. One day, his estranged uncle visits and tells him he needs to do an ancient ritual to protect his town from a curse. Naturally, it all goes a bit wrong. I think this movie has a lot to say about prejudice and judging people, and I really like it.
- The Belko Experiment – I’ve only seen this movie the once, but I am desperate to re-watch it. It’s about a twisted social experiment where 80 colleagues are told that they must kill each other by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system. For some weird system I found this really compelling. I like movies that think about human psychology.
- The Haunting of Hill House – I’m sure that most of you have heard about this Netflix TV series that came out last year. It is loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name. I would not go into this looking for an adaptation of the novel, but it’s definitely worth a watch. The characters are given so much time to breathe and grow, and there are some A+ scares in it, too.
- Scream – Did you know that there’s a Scream TV show? It is everything that I love about the movies – it’s campy and slasher-tastic, and has a couple of scares. Again, because it is a TV show, it gives the characters a depth that they sometimes don’t get in a movie.
- The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – I know that there are some problems with this TV show, but I thought that it was still worth mentioning. Based on the Archie comic, it follows Sabrina Spellman as she turns 16 and has to decide whether she is going to devote herself to Satan and fully come into her witchy powers, or stay in the world of the mortals.
- Buzzfeed Unsolved – If you haven’t watched this YouTube series, I urge you to check it out! In two different series, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej look at unsolved true crimes and investigate whether supernatural entities such as ghosts and cryptids are real. It is consistently hilarious and I love them as a duo of a sceptic and a believer.
- Stranger Things – Another Netflix classic! If you somehow have not seen it, this is about a small town where weird shit is starting to happen. A young boy called Will Byers goes missing into a strange world called the Upside Down, and a young girl with telekinetic abilities shows up, who is simply named Eleven. I know that it is hyped, but yeah. It’s good.
- Two Girls One Ghost – This is my main supernatural podcast. Sabrina and Corinne are two friends who talk about supernatural myths and haunted places. Every week they pick a different theme, such as haunted libraries or friendly ghosts, and talk about two examples of it. They’re funny and approachable, and I just kinda want to be their friend!
- Dead Meat – This is a podcast and YouTube channel that is about horror movies. The podcast is hosted by James and Chelsea, a couple who likes to get scared together. I love how in-depth they talk about horror movies – they both have a background in filmmaking so they can talk about camera angles and the historical aspects of horror.
- Welcome to Night Vale – Again a classic! Welcome to Night Vale is ‘a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.’ This is the only fiction podcast on my list – if you have any recommendations for more fiction podcasts, let me know!
- Lore – I always find this one difficult to explain. It’s sort of like the classic ‘telling spooky stories around a campfire’ but for the modern age. They’re all nonfiction stories that explore the darker underside to humanity. There’s also a TV series and a couple of books, if that interests you more.
- The Last Podcast on the Left – this final podcast is a little bit of everything. They talk about true crime such as serial killers and cults, and supernatural things such as demons. This isn’t my favourite of the podcasts, but I think that their true crime episodes in particular are pretty solid.
Phew, that was a long list! If you have any spooky recommendations, particularly with stuff that explores human psychology, please leave a comment!