Welcome to October, the month when we turn to all things dark and haunted. I call it “Poetober” as a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe, King of Creepiness.

I love this time of year. The weather starts to turn cooler, leaves change color, and monsters go bump in the night. By way of celebration, I take in as many thrilling, spooky stories as I can, whether in written or video form. I’m not a huge fan of over-the-top violence or gore, but anything spooky that messes with my head is a good time.

This year, I have a huge pile of Poetober books to read. It’s doubtful I’ll get through them all, but here’s my list:

Ghostly: A Collection of Ghost Stories (Audrey Niffenegger)

I’m starting with this collection of short stories. The first one was a perfectly creepy Edgar Allan Poe story (“The Black Cat”) and it was an amazing way to kick of my Poetober.

Tales of the Macabre (Edgar Allan Poe)

It took me over a year to track down this book. I think I first saw it posted by The Bloggess and it was so beautiful that I had to have it. I contacted the publisher, local stores, Amazon, national booksellers. I ordered it on Amazon, despite being out of stock, in November 2014. I received it in December 2015.


Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences (Matthew Christopher)

It’s a coffee table book full of photos of abandoned spaces. Churches, schools, industrial plants, hotels, homes, etc. I love imagining the history in places no longer serving the living.

Bad Dreams and Other Stories (Tessa Hadley)

This is a short story collection. While it isn’t necessarily about ghosts and murder, the stories are of a psychological nature so they should be satisfying.


His Bloody Project (Graeme Macrae Burnet)

I picked this up in Amsterdam this summer. Mike actually suggested it based on the topic (it’s nice that my husband indulges my enjoyment of the creep-factor). Once I read the description and saw it was a Man Booker Finalist, I snatched it right up!

Poems Bewitched and Haunted (John Hollander)

I’ve already established that I’m not a huge fan of poetry, but I continue to read it occasionally. When I saw this collection on a recent trip to New Orleans, it seemed perfect for Poetober. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a beautiful book. If I can’t enjoy haunted poetry, nothing else stands a chance.

Scary Stories Box Set (Alvin Schwartz)

This box set of three books includes the original “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” which I read in March. A friend bought these for me, and I don’t think I’ve ever read the second and third book. Also, this edition has illustrations by a different illustrator. Since these are for young readers, it won’t take long to read them.

I’m also watching plenty of dark television and movies. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Stephen King’s It (1990 version)
  • It (2017 version)
  • mother!
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (annual tradition!)
  • The Witch
  • The Craft
  • Little Evil
  • And plenty of Hitchcock

If you have any suggestions, either to read or to watch, leave a note in the comments below. And let me know how you feel about the Poetober theme and scary/suspenseful media.