Oh, Halloween! The gleefully macabre celebration of all things ghoulish: ghosts and goblins, witches and werewolves, vampires and zombies, and haunted houses that creak and groan with the crushing weight of anguished and angry spirits.
It’s no surprise that most Halloween stories delve into the dark corners and shadows of life. That premise is in the very name of the holiday. Originally known as All Hallows’ Eve, it’s celebrated just before All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day — two holidays meant to honor the dead. For thousands of years, people all over the world have remembered the lost with candles, rituals, costumes, and revelry.
The best Halloween stories produce tingles up the back of the neck, while also, maybe, breaking our hearts just a little bit. After all, good scares and sorrow often go hand-in-ghostly-hand.
In this episode, we get curious about Halloween traditions and explore the lore that swirls around classic creepy creatures. Then we recommend books that celebrate the spirit (and spirits) of Halloween, including stories for self-proclaimed scaredy-cats, titles that should come with a ‘don’t read this at night’ warning label, and a few in-between. Trick or treat!
Read the full transcript of Episode 17: Halloween.
Mitch and I both loved Famous Monsters of Filmland. In fact, the first copy I ever saw was a copy Mitch had purchased. I would copy photos out of Famous Monsters. That was that was the connection there. And and I never stopped doing it. — Steve Bissette
Steve Bissette is a horror illustrator, writer, publisher, teacher, and editor. He is perhaps best know for his work on Saga of the Swamp Thing and the comic anthology, Taboo. He has a shelf full of industry awards, including an Eisner and a Jack Kirby Award. His latest work includes a book on movie monsters called Cryptid Cinema and a scholarly look at David Chronenberg’s The Brood. A new deluxe printing of his Swamp Thing books is being released on October 27, 2020.
Halloween costumes of note: History.com has some super-creepy photos of old-timey costumes, here are 40 pics of Halloween costumes from the 1960s, and yowza! Margaret Atwood talks about the Sexy Handmaid’s Tale costume. FWIW, while doing research, we found a sexy corn costume. WHY?!
More about Samhain: Get the scoop on the Celtic holiday that morphed into Halloween as we know it.
CONOP-8888, the government plan for a zombie attack: The CDC advice for surviving a zombie apocalypse is now retired (sad tromboe), but you can still read the CNN report on the government’s plan, and the Washington Post opinion on What’s wrong with the Pentagon’s plan to thwart the zombie apocalypse.
Famous Monsters of Filmland: The official website is a treasure trove of monstery goodness.
The Wikipedia List of Cryptids: Get ‘em all right here.
Recommended Halloween movies:
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Top image courtesy of Kris Mari.
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