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  • Writer's pictureEmily

Halloween reads for 2022

It's time for my annual tradition of scaring myself half to death by late October!


King, Stephen- 'Salem's Lot

Searles, John- Help for the Haunted

Daley, Richard, ed.- The Virago Book of Ghost Stories

Dark, Larry ed.- The Literary Ghost

Orem, William- Miss Lucy



Maxwell, Tom- "We Salted Nannie"

I got started in September this year, with 'Salem's Lot, which I've been meaning to read for years. It was an interesting take on vampire lore. There were some gross parts. I didn't think it was as scary as I expected, but it did build up a nice (is that the right word?) sense of dread. ***SPOILERISH*** I was pretty into it until a kid joined in on the vampire hunting and the grownup with him just went along with it. And then the other grownups involved went along with it instead of sending him home. I'll admit that within a few days of all their trouble there was no minimum safe distance, but they missed a couple of chances to get him away early on. I guess I was supposed to enjoy the scary adventure instead of being all grown-upish about it. Maybe I should have read this book 20 years ago.

Since then, I read my October reading challenge book, the one book on my scary books shelf at home that I hadn't read. It was Help for the Haunted, and I really liked it. It was creepy and suspenseful. I decided to keep it because I think I'll want to read it again. It's a mystery about a family before and after the death of the parents. The mother was a little psychic and the dad saw ghosts, and they made a living helping people with supernatural problems. After they've died, their younger daughter is trying to figure out what happened the night they died, and how much of the supernatural is still in their house.

I started and stopped a book called The Halloween Mask. I was afraid that it would be too scary- the cover has a skull in a hood or something. It's a little unclear. Anyway, I read two or three stories. They're very short. They didn't scare me (maybe they get scarier as it goes?), and they reminded me of stories that kids tell at sleepovers. So, that might be someone else's cup of tea. I just wasn't getting into it.

This last weekend, Bitter Southerner posted a link to a scary story that you can read or listen to, called "We Salted Nannie." It's very good! The tweet said that they send it out every year. This was my first year to read it. I saved the link.

I've started Miss Lucy, a novel about Bram Stoker. So far, I like it. It's too early to tell, but I'll try to post a review in StoryGraph.

I doubt that Miss Lucy will be enough to get me through Halloween. It's pretty short. But I've got three books of ghost stories, including my favorite, The Virago Book of Ghost Stories. I usually get it out every year. I missed it so bad when it was in storage. This summer, I got The Literary Ghost, and so far, I haven't liked it much. I've read a few of the stories and I'm not loving it, but I'm going to give it another chance. I also have a big book of classic ghost stories from Barnes and Noble that I haven't read all the way through.

I've also been watching some scary movies. Or scary-ish, sometimes. I got What We Do in the Shadows from the library. I've seen it before, and then watched the TV show, and when I caught up to the last episodes, I wanted to go back and start over with the movie. It isn't really scary, but there are vampires, so it's Halloween-appropriate. I found The Quiet Ones on a list of scary movies online, so I checked it out too. I liked it alot. It has a pretty low score on Rotten Tomatoes, and I just can't understand it.

I also watched The Craft, Winchester, and Fright Night. I liked them all. I had never watched The Craft all the way through, beginning to end in one sitting. I had seen Fright Night once. I just got Practical Magic on DVD, hurray! And last year I got a digital The Haunting, which I'll save for Halloween night, and I'll watch it with the lights off.

If I'm not a nervous wreck by the end of Halloween, it won't be for lack of trying.

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