The Spookiest Things We’re Reading, Watching, and Listening To This October

Spooky season is upon us so we’re sharing our most frightening and devilish finds. Read on…if you dare!


Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
If you like your mysteries a bit more on the slower-paced, literary side (think Tana French?), you will likely enjoy this one. I’m a little under halfway through and am definitely invested in the story, though some of the jokes and commentary haven’t aged amazingly in the nearly 20 years since it came out. (Cathy)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
A magnificently creepy fantasy pits a bright, bored little girl against a soul-eating horror that inhabits the reality right next door. (Kirkus)

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Want a spooky read? Into sci-fi? Like murder mysteries, or sardonic narrators? Look no further than Gideon the Ninth and the Locked Tomb series (the third of four books came out in September!). I haven’t stopped re-reading this book, partly because there are so many layers and mysteries to unfold, and partly because the narrative voice is so entertaining. If you like weird sci-fi, this is for you. (Renee)

The Grand Hotel by Scott Kenemore
A collection of short stories shared by the guests of an especially spooky hotel. (Jimmy)

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
The son of Stephen King, Mr. Hill has become a successful novelist in his own right, telling horror stories which both pay tribute to his father while being uniquely his own. Heart-Shaped Box tells the story of Judas Coyne, an aging rock star who collects macabre items. One day though, he buys a suit that is supposedly haunted, only to discover that it’s no joke. It’s the real deal. What’s more, this ghost has it personally out for Jude, and promises to kill him and everyone he loves. Now in a race against time, Jude must discover why the ghost is haunting him, before the specter makes good on its promise. (Greg)

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
A gothic, ghostly classic from 1959. If you haven’t read this yet you should definitely check it out. There’s a Netflix adaptation available, too, if TV is more of your thing. (Claire)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The most famous true crime novel of all time “chills the blood and exercises the intelligence” and haunted its author long after he finished writing it. (The New York Review of Books)

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon
I read this one 2 years ago but still think about it! Though I didn’t love the ending, I thought it was a good, creepy haunted house story, and loved that the main character was a history nerd with a special appreciation for local history. (Dana)

Rebecca by Daphne Daphne du Maurier
brilliant piece of writing, with the atmosphere and suspense and pace that made Jamaica Inn an absorbing and thrilling story—and it has besides a depth of characterization and soundness of psychological conflict that makes it a finer and more penetrating book. (Kirkus)

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
This book is King’s version of Dracula, and it’s a great one at that. Jerusalem’s Lot is a small town in Maine (this is a King book, after all!) where everyone minds their own business and keeps to themselves. Unfortunately, this makes it all the easier for a vampire to set up shop relatively undetected, and before you know it, half the town is either dead or undead. If Salem’s Lot is to have a chance of surviving, it’ll be up to a local writer, a high school teacher, the town doctor, a drunken priest, and an unusually bright kid named Ralph to stop the monsters. (Greg)

The Shining by Stephen King
This is the first book I was ever legit scared of while reading. I understand now why Joey had to put it in the freezer. (Dana)

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Five dark tales can be found in this graphic novel, all pertaining to the unsettling nature of the forest, and what might await someone there. From an undead bride to a hunting trip gone terribly wrong, these stories are sure to keep you up at night, wondering what lies past the lamp light, waiting in the dark. (Greg)

The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
A young woman is tasked with cleaning out the home of her now-deceased hoarder grandmother. It doesn’t go well. A Southern Gothic folk horror novel with a surprisingly punchy sense of humor. (Ash, Jimmy)

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
This atmospheric gothic novella by T. Kingfisher centers around a retired soldier who visits two old friends in a remote, dilapidated estate where something is not quite right with the local flora and fauna. (Liz)


An exciting, hilarious, extremely outlandish, oftentimes touching, otherworldly adventure that is utterly unlike anything else. (Rotten Tomatoes)

Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
It goes without saying that this is hard to watch. Evan Peters and Niecy Nash are incredible in the “second biggest series ever” (Deadline) by Netflix. (Amber)

Dark Shadows
Imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better and are in need of his protection. (NoveList)

The Exorcist
When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter. (IMDb)

The House of the Devil
This came out in 2007, but takes place in the eighties, and looks like it was filmed then too. A young woman takes a baby sitting job, and creepy things start to happen. (Ash)

Kolchak: The Night Stalker
Carl Kolchak is a reporter for a Chicago newspaper. Through more accident than design he ends up investigating homicides, many of which involve supernatural forces. Ultimately, rather than reporting on the crimes, he solves them. (IMDb)

Los Espookys (HBO series)
This is a mostly Spanish-language comedy about a group of friends who really love all things horror and start a business in which they’re hired to spook people. It’s so absurd and funny, with really cool sets and costumes and music. The humor of Los Espookys is definitely not for everyone (though Fred Armisen is one of the creators and also acts in it as the uncle of one of the characters, which should tell you something about the kind of comedy it is if you’re familiar with his work). Season two is currently releasing weekly episodes and I’m enjoying it even more than the first one! (Cathy)

The Night House
An incredibly atmospheric horror movie about loss and grief. It’s also pretty light on the jump scares for anyone who isn’t a fan of them. (Jimmy)

Over the Garden Wall
Two brothers become lost on a Halloween adventure while exploring over a garden wall. The series follows their eclectic and outlandish adventures to find their way back home. (Claire)

Practical Magic
Is it too all over the place? Sure. Are the sets and costumes iconic? Yes. Is the soundtrack perfectly 90s? Yes. Did I see it in the theater when I was 14 because I’d had a crush on Sandra Bullock ever since Speed? Also yes. Perfect October movie. (Ash)

Rear Window
A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his Greenwich Village courtyard apartment window. (IMDb)

Session 9
Another title I experienced years ago but still think about! I’m not usually a scary movie person, but I’ve been interested in abandoned state hospitals since I was a kid, and couldn’t pass this one up… especially since it takes place in nearby Danvers. It was creepy, and I loved it and hated it for that. (Dana)

Silence of the Lambs
A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims. (IMDb)

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane
If you want to get into the Halloween spirit and enjoy older movies, look no further than this 1962 classic about two older sisters who live together in an old mansion and are totally isolated from the world around them. One of the sisters is a former child star who now spends her days tormenting the other sister, who became a successful actress as an adult until an accident left her in a wheelchair. Also, it’s no secret that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, who play the two sisters, openly hated each other, and I think that’s part of what makes their performances so electrifying. This is such a delightfully unsettling film and I could watch it a hundred more times. (Cathy)


Dear Child by Romy Hausmann
I would classify this as creepy psycho-drama. I’ve seen it described as “Gone Girl meets Room.” and I totally concur. (Deb)

Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Not the best novel I’ve ever read, but there was something about the audiobook that was so enjoyable! Imogen Church is a brilliant narrator. This novel is about a woman who’s broke and down on her luck when she receives a letter inviting her to claim an inheritance from a dead relative. Even though she knows the letter isn’t meant for her, she decides to go anyway and pretend she is who they are looking for. You will probably enjoy this if you are just happy to go along for the ride (complete with a crumbling estate and a sinister housekeeper), and are fine with not reading too much into some of the more glaring plot holes! (Cathy)

Halloween Party playlist on Spotify
This is my favorite Halloween playlist and is played on repeat all day on the 31st. (Amber)

Myopia by Mizmor and Thou
Louisiana sludge metal teamed up with the Portland doom project Mizmor for a full length album that was released in April of this year. I just found out about it and am pretty excited about it– just in time for fall! (Claire)

Snap Judgement presents Spooked
A well edited podcast of spooky occurrences. (Ash)