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Spooky Halloween Fun

Calling all ghosts and ghouls! Are you looking for something fun to do this Halloween? Did your October TBR run out sooner than expected? Do you need something with spooky vibes to pair with your cider and candy?
In lieu of our usual review, we have put together a list of diverse recommendations for one of our favourite seasons – Halloween. The recs have been separated by activity type, so whether you’re looking for a last-minute spooky read or a scary podcast to listen to, hopefully you’ll find something that piques your interest.
We’ve already started consuming some spooky media during the week, and we hope you take part with us and stay safe indoors!


Reading

Ring by Koji Suzuki
One night in Tokyo, four healthy teenagers die one after another of heart failure. A journalist, the uncle of one of the victims and intrigued by the coincidence, investigates and learns of a videotape that the four watched together a week before dying. Amid a series of bizarre and frightening images is a warning that the viewer will die in exactly one week unless a certain act is performed. The description of the act, of course, has been erased from the videotape, and the journalist’s work to solve the mystery assumes a deadly urgency.


Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink
“This is not a story. It’s a road trip.”

Keisha Lewis lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job as a long-haul truck driver and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system—uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk
Some things should stay buried.

Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.

So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult which murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.

As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?

You can find our review of Widdershins here

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

You can find our review of Every Heart a Doorway here

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood
Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

The Last Temptations of Iago Wick by Jennifer Rainey
The city of Marlowe, Massachusetts is a lovely place to settle down… just ask its two resident demons.

For centuries, Iago Wick and his partner, Dante Lovelace, have meddled in the affairs of Man for the benefit of Hell—and had a damnably good time doing it.

Everything changes when a peculiar demon hunter with a murky past comes to Marlowe and sets his sights on Iago. Mr. Wick is all too happy to grant him a game of cat and mouse. After all, a little distraction from his Hellish duties does an old demon good.

But soon, Iago and Dante find themselves entangled in the mystery surrounding the strange hunter, and the line between danger and excitement becomes a blurry one. What happens when Iago gets a little too close? Is working for Hell really all it’s cracked up to be? And why is the idea of freewill suddenly so appealing?

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked “King City” by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.

Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.

Diane’s search to reconnect with her son and Jackie’s search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: “King City”. It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures…if they can ever find it.

Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark
D. W. Griffith is a sorcerer, and The Birth of a Nation is a spell that drew upon the darkest thoughts and wishes from the heart of America. Now, rising in power and prominence, the Klan has a plot to unleash Hell on Earth.

Luckily, Maryse Boudreaux has a magic sword and a head full of tales. When she’s not running bootleg whiskey through Prohibition Georgia, she’s fighting monsters she calls “Ku Kluxes.” She’s damn good at it, too. But to confront this ongoing evil, she must journey between worlds to face nightmares made flesh–and her own demons. Together with a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse sets out to save a world from the hate that would consume it.

You can find our review of Ring Shout here


Playing

Night in the Woods by Infinite Fall
College dropout Mae Borowski returns home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs seeking to resume her aimless former life and reconnect with the friends she left behind. But things aren’t the same. Home seems different now and her friends have grown and changed. Leaves are falling and the wind is growing colder. Strange things are happening as the light fades.

And there’s something in the woods.

The Walking Dead by Telltale Games
The Walking Dead is a five-part game series (Episode 2-5 can be purchased via in-app) set in the same universe as Robert Kirkman’s award-winning series. Play as Lee Everett, a convicted criminal, who has been given a second chance at life in a world devastated by the undead. With corpses returning to life and survivors stopping at nothing to maintain their own safety, protecting an orphaned girl named Clementine may offer him redemption in a world gone to hell.

Fran Bow by Killmonday Games
Fran Bow is a creepy adventure game that tells the story of Fran, a young girl struggling with a mental disorder and an unfair destiny.

After witnessing the gruesome and mysterious loss of her parents, found dismembered at their home, Fran rushes into the woods, together with her only friend, Mr. Midnight, a black cat that Fran had previously received as a present from her parents.

In the forest, Fran goes into shock over the loss of her parents and when she recovers, she’s at Oswald Asylum, an oppressive mental institution for children, and Mr. Midnight is nowhere to be found.

After having a dream about her beloved cat, Fran decides to escape from the mental institution to find him and go back home to Aunt Grace, her only living relative.

The Wolf Among Us by Telltale Games
Fairytale characters are being murdered in this hard-boiled, violent and mature thriller based on the award-winning Fables comic book series (DC Comics/Vertigo) by Bill Willingham. As Bigby Wolf – THE big bad wolf – you will discover that a brutal, bloody murder is just a taste of things to come in a game series where your every decision can have enormous consequences.


Watching

OSP’s Halloween Specials by Overly Sarcastic Productions
Interested in classic works of horror literature? Have a soft spot for spooky mythology? (Just want to hear good ol’ Howie referred to as “Hates Progress Lovecraft”?) Well you’ve come to right place!

Every Halloween, Red of Overly Sarcastic Productions creates a special, spooky-themed episode talking about a classic work of horror, well-known horror author, or other spooktacular topic. This year’s video was about the folkloric motif of the Wild Hunt, which is definitely worth a watch!

Ringu (1998)
Ringu is a Japanese horror film based on the 1991 novel by Kôji Suzuki, and follows a reporter who is racing to investigate the mystery behind a cursed videotape that is rumored to kill the viewer seven days after watching it.

(If you’ve ever been interested in watching this classic work of horror, Becca absolutely recommends watching this original adaptation of the story)





Lovecraft Country (2020)
Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Freeman as he joins up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.

(Full disclosure: neither of us have gotten off our butts to watch this yet, but we’ve heard nothing but good things and it’s definitely on our short lists!)


Listening

The Magnus Archives by Rusty Quill
Make your statement, face your fear.”

The Magnus Archives is a weekly horror fiction anthology podcast examining what lurks in the archives of the Magnus Institute, an organisation dedicated to researching the esoteric and the weird. Join new head archivist Jonathan Sims as he attempts to bring a seemingly neglected collection of supernatural statements up to date, converting them to audio and supplementing them with follow-up work from his small but dedicated team.

Individually, they are unsettling. Together they begin to form a picture that is truly horrifying because as they look into the depths of the archives, something starts to look back…

Janus Descending by No Such Thing Productions
A limited series, science fiction/horror audio drama podcast, follows the arrival of two xenoarcheologists on a small world orbiting a binary star. But what starts off as an expedition to survey the planet and the remains of a lost alien civilization, turns into a monstrous game of cat and mouse, as the two scientists are left to face the creatures that killed the planet in the first place. Told from two alternating perspectives, Janus Descending is an experience of crossing timelines, as one character describes the nightmare from end to beginning, and the other, from beginning to the end.

Alice Isn’t Dead by Night Vale Presents
A truck driver searches across America for the wife she had long assumed was dead. In the course of her search, she will encounter not-quite-human serial murderers, towns literally lost in time, and a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.



Archive 81 by Dead Signals
Archive 81 is a found footage horror podcast about ritual, stories, and sound.






Midnight Radio by Martlet Radio
All ghost stories are love stories.

Midnight Radio is a ten-part audio drama podcast chronicling a strange correspondence between Sybil McIntyre, the host of a 1952 late-night radio program in the small town of Dawn Arbor, and a mysterious young woman who begins writing letters to the show about her recent return to their shared hometown.

Through their conversations, these two women begin to learn about love, ghosts, grief, nostalgia, our connections to our past and our hometowns, each other, and themselves.


Have you watched, listened to, or read any of our recs? Let us know! Do you have any recs for us? We’d love to hear them!

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