10 Spooky Things to Read, Watch And Listen to Before Halloween

10 movies, books and podcasts to get you into the Halloween spirit!

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I love Halloween. Not so much the dressing up part, but the chill in the air, the crunch of the leaves, and anything slightly macabre to get me in the Halloween mood. The copious amounts of chocolate candy doesn’t hurt, either. There’s also something about Halloween that makes me want to devour all of the spooky pop culture. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite things that are the perfect mood setter as we gear up to Halloween next week!

READ

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. Ho-ly @#$% you guys. Michelle McNamara’s masterpiece detailing the hunt for The Golden State Killer (also known as EAR-ONS - East Area Rapist - Original Night Stalker). I’ve read so many true crime books and listened to so many podcasts, that just when I thought I was jaded, this book came a long and scared the crap out of me. If you want the kind of read that will make you afraid to get out of bed to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, this is it.

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The Woman in the Window. This is a great, easy thriller that kept me guessing from start to finish. An agorophobic woman spends her time drinking too much wine, watching her neighbors and yes, taking photos of them. One night, she sees a murder through her window…or did she?

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Then She Was Gone. There are only a handful of books I can recall reading in a 24 hour period. This is one of them. It’s horrifying, riveting, extremely disturbing, well-written and kept me guessing until the very end.

WATCH

All of these picks are streaming on Netflix RN!

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The Sixth Sense. A masterful thriller of the late 90’s, this film stands the test of time. From Netflix: When a 9-year-old boy inexplicably starts seeing dead people, he lands in the care of a child psychologist who's determined to uncover the truth. Gah this movie chilled me to my bone and yes, made me afraid to go into the kitchen alone at night. A classic, timeless, shocker.

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The Shining. Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Another classic that chilled me to the bone. From Netflix: Jack Torrance descends into madness -- terrorizing his wife and young son -- after living at a deserted and eerie hotel during its off season. It’s a master class in suspense, culminating in some of the most iconic scenes in film history.

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The Haunting of Hill House. Based on the classic book, this is a new Netflix series that launched just last week! It’s in my queue and it’s getting all.the.buzz! From Netflix: Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.

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Mindhunter. Another incredible Netflix original. If you have any interest in criminology, in getting inside the mind of a killer, then this is the show for you. It’s fictional, but based on real events, people and serial killers. Directed by David Fincher, it’s dark, smart and chilling.

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American Horror Story, Season 1. I have such fond memories of watching this when it first aired in 2011. Shaun wasn’t interested so I decided to give it a go alone. After passing through a few scenes, he eventually came around and wanted to watch it too. The notion of a horror tv show was fascinating. The cast was tops. And the idea that it would be a single season storyline was mind blowing. This season is chilling, disturbing, unsettling and yes...scary!

LISTEN

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The Wonderland Murders podcast. I really loved this series from Hollywood and Crime. 4 people are brutally murdered in their home and the episodes unfold from 2 points of view…one after the murders have taken place, and one leading up the murders, detailing a porn king’s descent into drugs and darkness.

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Dr. Death podcast. Confession: I haven’t listening to this one yet, but it’s in my queue for this week! From Wondery: Dr. Christopher Duntsch was a neurosurgeon who radiated confidence. He claimed he was the best in Dallas. If you had back pain, and had tried everything else, Dr. Duntsch could give you the spine surgery that would take your pain away. But soon his patients started to experience complications. And all they had to protect them was a system ill equipped to stop the madness. 

PS - As I finished writing this post, in the dark of the early morning hours, I heard my daughter, down the hall, asleep in her bed, say ‘Thank you’ in her sleep. Yeah, I was pretty creeped out.

Halloween Movie Musts

To me, one of the best and most efficient ways to get in the holiday spirit is through classic seasonal movies. I love settling in with a bunch of snacks, a few drinks and a stack of films to get through. Though the likelihood of that happening anytime in the near future is sparse, I can still dream, right? If I had my way, or if Penelope was old enough, I'd dedicate a whole weekend to decorating, making pumpkin cookies and watching this entire list!



This first group is what I like to call 'Halloween Lite'. These movies are more family-friend, not necessarily scary, and just a good time!

Hocus Pocus - a true classic to me. I love this movie so much and if you just don't get why, see this list.

The Addams Family - a stellar cast and a good enough story. Plus they're scary and they're spooky!

Ghostbusters - another classic. I love both I and II but if I only get to pick one, I'd have to go with the original.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show - not really Halloween per se, but it evokes that dark, spooky spirit. It's just a fun movie with pretty fabulous soundtrack which is worth watching for alone.

The next group are some classic scary movies that some deep, dark part of me really loves to watch!

Halloween - there's nothing like the original. I've seen it many times yet it still manages to get under my skin.

Psycho - it's the quintessential scary movie, the film that defined a genre. And it still puts me on edge to shower when I'm home alone.

Scream - the first scary movie that I ever saw (and in a theater!) and the opening scene is still one of my all time favorites! You know, in a really morbidly thrilling kind of way.

The Exorcist - totally over the top and let's face it, it's totally dated. But when Reagan walks backwards down the stairs with those green eyes and scarred face? Ugh I'm shuddering just thinking about it.

Nosferatu - the original Dracula and a silent film to boot, yet still manages to be quite scary in it's old age.

The Shining - just a story of a creeptastic hotel and the inhabitants who slowly go crazy there. oh and some dead people too.

 

And finally, since I'm always on the look out for some new things, here are a few movies that I'd love to see for the first time this year:

The Birds

In Cold Blood

The Amityville Horror

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

 

What are your Halloween movie musts?