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.
Historians have also linked Halloween to the Celtic festival of Samhain, an acknowledgment of summer’s end in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. According to the mythology, the veil between our world and the Other becomes thinner on this date, allowing spirits from the other side to revisit their earthly haunts.
The best Halloween stories produce tingles up the back of the neck, while also, maybe, breaking one’s heart 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! (show notes / transcript)
Top image courtesy of Ehud Neuhaus/Unsplash.
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