Classic novellas, never-before-published stories, essays on the history, literature, and films of Halloween, and real-life memories of October 31st-from today’s best practitioners of fear:Dean Koontz * Peter Straub * Poppy Z. Brite * Rick Hautala * Steve Rasnic Tem * Elizabeth Engstrom * Thomas Ligotti * Gary A. Braunbeck * Jack Ketchum * Thomas F. Monteleone * Hugh B. Cave * Simon Clark * Christopher Golden * Ray Bradbury * Jack Ketchum * Alan M. Clark * Gahan Wilson * Paula Guran * John Shirley * Tom Piccirilli * Jack Cady * David B. Silva * Robert Morrish * William F. Nolan * Michael Cadnum * Richard Laymon * Douglas Clegg * Douglas E. Winter * Stanley Wiater * Caitlín R. Kiernan * Lewis Shiner * Yvonne Navarro * Tim Lebbon * Kim Newman * F. Paul Wilson * Owl Goingback * Dennis Etchison * Stephen Mark Rainey * Charles L. Grant * Kelly Laymon * Dominick Cancilla * Kristine Kathryn Rusch * Michael Marshall Smith * Wayne Allen Sallee * Ramsey Campbell * Ed Gorman * Stefan Dziemianowicz * Peter CrowtherThe Black Pumpkin by Dean Koontz
The Black Pumpkin by Dean Koontz
It’s not difficult to revel in the hokey nature of a story about an accursed jack-O’-lantern, purchased from a creepy old pumpkin carver, that wreaks havoc on a family, apparently in the name of justice.
A Moonlit Night with Rats by Elizabeth Engstrom:
Lantern Marsh by Poppy Z. Brite:
Nicknames: A Hallowe’en Reminiscence by Rick Hautala:
Coming off, at first, more like an old curmudgeon, which I am fast becoming, it was interesting to hear a true account of an incident of unstable town drunks threatening kids for causing some mischief on mischief night. It sounds scary. I’ve been physically threatened by cadres of belligerents before. Rick says that such memories as these (of the very few that he remembers, ostensibly) propels him to write the stories he writes as an attempt to ‘bring it all back.
A Condemned Man by Steve Rasnic Tem:
Conversations in Dead Language by Thomas Ligotti:
My Favorite Halloween Memory by Gary A. Braunbeck:
My Favorite Halloween Memory by Jack Ketchum:
Yesterday’s Child by Thomas F. Monteleone:
Zombies by Hugh B. Cave:
The Whitby Experience by Simon Clark:
Impressive tale of oceanic terror; one of my favorite brands of terror. I will merely issue a recommendation of this story along with my favorite, somewhat Bradburian paragraph:
‘Through the glass she heard the soulful call of the foghorn. Being a city dweller the sound was alien to her; gravely mournful, too. She couldn’t escape the notion that she heard some primeval creature that lay dying on the shore as it called to its long lost mate.
This perfectly describes how I feel sitting on the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota (not quite oceanic, but still), and hearing the horns bellow as I stare out into that other world, the sea, and imagine the ancient, undiscovered creatures that dwell beneath, surfacing for a moment to issue a resounding, somber call, with my personal wonderment being the sole beneficiary.
Halloween Memories by Christopher Golden:
Won’t be the last reminiscence in this collection to feature an enviable neighborhood house with its own haunted lore.
In-Between: A Halloween Poem by Ray Bradbury:
Gone by Jack Ketchum:
A night of boredom on Halloween reveals a past tragedy of a kidnapped child (one of many recurring themes in this anthology), and only one less-than-considerate comment to throw a woman into a grief-stricken violent rampage against the only trick-or-treaters she receives for the evening. Ketchum knows that sadness is an inherent component of terror.
That Smell in the Air by Alan M. Clark:
This title is probably the most important part of the story. There’s nothing like closing your eyes on an October evening and letting the scent enter you like a possessive spirit. Clark is the kind of dreamer who lives in Halloween land all year round; the type of guy who becomes a special effects guy for monster movies. When you can’t let go of the Halloween spirit?
Yesterday’s Witch by Gahan Wilson:
A Short History of Halloween by Paula Guran:
Here is a concise piece of which I am sure plenty of books share the same subject, in addition to some History Channel specials. We all know the key vocabulary to utilize in a discussion about the origins and evolution of Halloween: All Hallows’ Eve, saints’ day, Samhain, Druidic, Celtic, primal fears of death but there are some cool facts about the history that I wasn’t aware of, or that I forget year after year. For instance, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on Wittenberg Castle Church on the 31st of October in 1517, and the subsequent reformation saw that the observance of saints’ day was expunged, and mostly lead to the destruction of celebrations in Europe. As for me, there are no superstitions interspersed with my love for the season, or that ‘hallowed’ night, at least not anymore, and am content with the opportunity to confront and mock death. It’s false power, but the absurdity of life only enhances the sensation.
The Last Halloween by Poppy Z. Brite:
“If you’re reading this book, odds are you’ve also read Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree, and I certainly can’t top his descriptions so I won’t even try –but that’s how it was.” There is much pride to be felt in being a, what I will deem, Halloween geek, which often goes hand-in-hand with being a horror geek, and we all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the late Halloween prophet, Bradbury.
Mask Game by John Shirley:
A family is forced to relive brutal secrets from their past as a mysteriously familiar stranger shows up on Halloween night to play a game involving wearing masks of their younger selves. Do you ever conjure the setting of a story you’re reading from some arbitrary place from your past? This story, for me, took place in the living room of my former babysitter’s/neighbor’s house, and I somehow felt like I was watching it all, first person, through the window, from outside, in my costume, just wanting some candy. It was spooky that this was happening right next door to me, and that I was so young while reading this tale.
Criswell Conquers the Alien Elvis-‘Nappers by Tom Piccirilli:
1942 by Jack Cady:
Out of the Dark by David B. Silva:
Pumpkins and Circumstance Robert Morrish:
Heavy Set by Ray Bradbury:
Year of the Witch by William F. Nolan:
Where Juliet Went: A Halloween Memory by Michael Cadnum:
Boo by Richard Laymon:
A Halloween Memory, Age Four, Hawaii, 1961 by Douglas Clegg:
Fellini and Halloween by Ray Bradbury:
Masks by Douglas E. Winter:
My Favorite Halloween Memory by Stanley Wiater:
A Redress for Andromeda by Caitlin R. Kiernan:
The Santa of Halloween by Richard Laymon:
The Circle by Lewis Shiner:
“First of All, It was October…” An Overview of Halloween Films by Gary A. Braunbeck:
Halloween Dreams by Yvonne Navarro:
Pay the Ghost by Tim Lebbon:
Halloween 25 by Kim Newman:
Buckets by F. Paul Wilson:
My favorite Halloween memory by Owl Goingback:
Needles and Razor Blades by Dennis Etchison:
Orchestra by Stephen Mark Rainey:
Halloween Companion Piece by David B. Silva:
Eyes by Charles L. Grant:
Ugh! Good Grief! R.I.P Pepe, Charlie Brown! By Kelly Laymon:
My Favorite Halloween Memory by Simon Clark:
Deathmask by Dominick Cancilla:
Halloween Frights by Kristine Kathryn Rusch:
Some Witch’s Bed by Michael Marshall Smith:
Cyanide and Pixie Stix by Wayne Allen Sallee:
The Trick by Ramsey Campbell:
October! by Ed Gorman:
Porkpie Hat by Peter Straub:
Trick-Or-Read: A Reader’s Guide to Halloween Fiction by Stefan Dziemianowicz:
A Halloween Memory by Peter Crowther: