Halloween is my favorite and October is one of my favorite times of year. One year, I was getting really excited for the holiday and wanted to decorate in September because it was getting close. A friend said, “Let’s face it. Isn’t it always kind of Halloween in your head anyway?”
Yes. Yes it is.
Usually I spend this month writing creepy posts everyday, but that was not to be this year. I will have to stock up for next time around.
So here’s my Top Ten things to read this Halloween, in no particular order…
The Seance by John Harwood
This is my favorite of Harwood’s. He meshes the Victorian sensation novel with a really great mystery. Reminiscent of William Hodgson Hope.
Books don’t usually scare me. This one did. It genuinely creeped me out and I haven’t been able to shake it. Also, McMahon’s best.
Ghostland by Colin Dickey
The best true ghost story book I’ve ever read. Dickey explores the history of America through the hauntings that hover over us. He makes note of those stories and makes astute observations on what they say about what truly scares us.
American Ghost by Hannah Nordhaus
In the vein of Ghostland, Nordhaus traces her own family history, starting with the ghost of a great-grandmother who haunts her old home (now a hotel). The latter portion of the book is more ancestry than ghost story but it’s still well done.
The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
This is a psychological thriller rather than a ghost story, but it is terrifying. And it’s based on an incident that really happened to the author. The truth is not clear until the very end.
Perfect Medium by Clement Cheroux et al.
Though they aren’t real ghosts, the images are stunning. It’s an amazing collection of these strange and creative historical photographs, in one place, with well-researched and documented context.
The Phantom Coach, edited by Michael Sims
No one does ghost stories quite like the Victorians. Here, Michael Sims pulls together a varied assortment of spooky tales. Be sure to read “The Moonlit Road” by Ambrose Bierce.
Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar
Eichar presents the bizarre unsolved mystery of a group of young expert climbers who never came back from a trip. He even makes a convincing case for what happened that last night on Dead Mountain.
We all think we know this book but it deserves a legitimate read. It’s deep, dark and brilliant. It’s not about a monster. It’s about being human, but wrapped in an amazing story with murder, love, mistaken identity and revenge.
Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
It’s no Halloween list if it doesn’t include Poe. 200 years later and he is still the gold standard for the grotesque, the detective story, the macabre and dark humor. Make sure you read “The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether” when you revisit the old favorites.
What do you read to get in the Halloween mood?