Sometimes we want to participate in October’s spooky festivities without worrying about sleeping at night. Here are four spooky, in-season Halloween reads for those afraid of horror!
Sheets by Brenna Thummler
Sheets is a YA graphic novel just cute enough to warm any soul. Without any spoilers, Sheets is about a ghost who lives in a laundromat and, though he doesn’t intend to, creates a lot of riff-raff for the family who owns it. It’ll remind you of Casper and then break your heart (with love).
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manasala
Arsenic and Adobo is a cozy murder mystery! Yes, those two words can live together in one statement. When Lila Macapagal returns home to work at her family’s restaurant, her ex-boyfriend (a snobby food critic) drops dead eating their traditional Filipino cuisine. Immediately marked as the prime suspect, Lila must clear her name, find the murderer, and save her family’s business (whilst convincing them that changes to the menu are not always a bad thing). Centered around the kitchen of the Filipino diaspora, Arsenic and Adobo brings murder together with classic hallmark romance.
It Came From the Closet edited by Joe Vallese
It Came From the Closet is a collection of essays written by queer authors (including FBC fave Carmen Maria Machado!) that discuss the relationship between queer culture and horror, specifically when it comes to film. The movies under discussion include everything from The Exorcist (a classic!) to Erés tú Papa? to Get Out! And though the focus is on horror, these essays act more as personal reflections on queer relationships, social commentary, and various funny aspects of queer culture.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
For a lot of people, the first thing that comes to mind when folks mention Frankenstein is Frankenstein’s monster, particularly the one rendered in the classic black-and-white film from 1931. This poor fellow, with his head shaped like a square, his arms floating stiffly before him, expresses his frustration and anger with a deep, rumbling yell. In actuality, The Monster is a very articulate gentleman longing for love. Though often revered as a gothic classic, Frankenstein is finally beginning to be discussed as a piece of feminist fiction that dissects the nature of young men (and not so much the Monster). And though the actions of men can be very scary, I assure you: This book is not. It is a social commentary! It is drama! And surprisingly enough, it is full of jokes! I encourage you to pick up Frankenstein, one, because it is one of my favorite books ever, and two, because in that first movie adaptation, Mary’s husband Percy B. Shelley is credited as the author of the book instead. And at this point, it’s personal.
If these titles merely whet your appetite for even more intense horror, check out some of our horror posts from earlier in the month, including Steph’s list of 9 Witchy Titles to Carry You Through the End of October and Nina’s list of Must-Read BIPOC Horror Books.