SSoP Podcast Ep. 17 — Halloween: Costumed Revelry, Voices From Beyond, and YAY, Candy!

SSoP Podcast Ep. 17 — Halloween: Costumed Revelry, Voices From Beyond, and YAY, Candy!

Monday, 19 October, 2020

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!

transcript

Read the full transcript of Episode 17: Halloween.

Basic Witch

buy | read review

The Curse of Braeburn Castle

buy | read review

Pine

buy | read review

Small Spaces

buy | read review

Something Wicked This Way Comes

buy | read review

Something Wicked This Way Comes

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The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

buy | read review

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

buy | read review

Long Way Down

buy | read review

Long Way Down

buy | read review

Kill Creek

buy | read review

Dracula

buy | read review

Dracula

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Bunnicula

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other books we mentioned

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our charming guest

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.

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other cool stuff we talked about

  • Halloween goodies: You can find all of our previous and new Halloween content — including books, essays, recipes, and more — on the Halloween Destination Page.
melissa in an edgar allan poe costume
Quoth the Raven 'Nevermore.'
  • Moray Firth: Found on the northeast coast of Scotland, Moray Firth is the setting for our recommended book Pine — just in case you want to visualize where our heroine’s haunting takes place.

the sea and coast in moray firth

  • Jason Reynolds: The author of our recommended book Long Way Down talks about how he became a reader and poet and wrote this amazing novel — and in the second video provides a very sweet writing prompt as part of the Library of Congress Write. Right. Rite.
  • Ray Bradbury’s backstory for Something Wicked: In this interview, he describes his encounter with Mr. Electro, the real-life basis for his novel.
  • Sleepy Hollow Video Tour: How to spend a perfectly spooky day in Tarrytown, New York, the real Sleepy Hollow.
  • National Geographic in Sleepy Hollow: Meet the man who portrays the Headless Horseman!
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Disney released their animated version of the classic story in 1949 under the title The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Narrated by Bing Crosby, this version is more lighthearted and family-friendly than the original. Here’s a clip of Bram Bones, singing about the Headless Horseman.
  • Sleepy Hollow 1999: This gothic film was directed by Tim Burton and is loosely based on Irving’s story. It stars Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane and Christina Ricci as Katrina Van Tassel. Ichabod is an investigator sent from NYC to investigate a series of murders in Sleepy Hollow.
  • Interview with Scott Thomas: The Los Angeles Public Library interviews Scott Thomas, the author of our recommended book Kill Creek.

Good Stuff from Steve’s Interview

  • Recommended Halloween movies:

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We get it: No one, including us, needs to listen to 'Master Mash' again. Tune into this playlist for 13 unusual, atmospheric, and super-fun Halloween-inspired songs that will put you in the mood for candy and costumes.
We've selected our favorite literary vampires according to a very sharply honed list of criteria. They're all remarkable versions of this ancient creature, and they populate stories worthy of their dangerous charms.
The only thing better than reading a scary story is when someone TELLS you a scary story. Light a candle, grab someone you trust to share the terror, and let these stories creep you out in the very best way.
Stoker's Dracula is the OG vampire: intelligent, cunning, and even a little sexy. But you do not want that bad boy visiting your bed chamber! Simmer a big pot of this delicious, vampire-repelling magic.
The poet's atmospheric poem blurs the divide between memories and haunting. He casts the 'harmless phantoms' — who glide by our sides and sit at our fires — as silent visitors, forging our connection to the beyond.
In addition to social-climbing tendencies, scarecrow-like appearance, and ability to annoy the dead and undead, Ichabod Crane is also known for gluttony. With a sweet-and-spicy cake like this, who can blame him?!
This weekend, indulge in all things Dracula. Read the novel! Listen to the audio dramatization! Put on the play! Along the way, you'll armchair travel to Romania, Hungary, Whitby, London, and more with a fanged friend.
Oh, Carmilla! She's beautiful and slinky and, perhaps, not as innocent as she seems. Which makes this vampire story a suspenseful, atmospheric romp through dark bedrooms, chilly drawing rooms, and misty mountains.
These brilliant short story collections are brimming with delightfully eerie tales of ghosts, goblins, demons, witches, vampires, and the other dark things that come to visit us in the nightmare deep of the night.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a rite of passage at Halloween time, and this recipe elevates the seasonal standard to something truly spectacular. The perfect crunchy go-along to this delightfully creepy horror novel.
In honor of what would have been American artist Edward Gorey's 95th birthday, we invite you to creep into his gleefully macabre world of Victorian manor houses, elegant characters, with plenty of murder and mayhem.

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