Spook-tacular Scares For Your Spooktober Needs

Just in case anyone needs reminding (as the months of being cooped up inside have addled all our external markers for time), Halloween, also known as the last day before Michael Bublé’s Christmas album can officially and unabashedly be played at full volume, is finally upon us. Along with all other end-of-the-year celebrations, however, Halloween is going to be different this time around — and perhaps even more terrifying, with 2020 proving to be the biggest jumpscare that caught us all off-guard. 

But just because we can’t go out dressed up as our favorite characters, doesn’t mean that we can’t still spend the night with a bucket of candy while basking in all things dark and spooky. And if you’re having trouble diving deep into the Spooktober mood, we’ve come up with a curated list of things you can curl up with on All Hallow’s Eve. Whether you’re a seasoned horror enthusiast looking for your next great thrill, or just someone craving for that eerie October vibe, or someone in between, you might just find your next favorite treat (or trick) down below:

Category 1: For those with very poor tolerance of horror, but still want to immerse themselves in a magical gloom: these recommendations contain very little horror, but all of the cozy “autumnal” feels — as much as the tropics can give us, in any case. 

  1. The Night Circus, a novel by Erin Morgenstern

Recommended by CandiedApple (Class 2023)

“This book is the epitome of atmospheric. It has a great circus, magic, a few mysterious deaths, and morally grey characters (plus a bit of romance). Doesn’t have the most exciting plot ever but it is the perfect book for sinking into the whimsical October atmosphere ✨”

Perfect for: “Anyone who loves a good atmospheric book for that Halloween vibe, but none of the horror factor.”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 1 

Trigger warnings: death 

  1. Over the Garden Wall created by Patrick McHale

Recommended by: Jason Funderburker (Class 2023)

A Cartoon Network miniseries. Only 10 episodes! 

“To quote one Youtuber: simply put, it’s Halloween perfection. Think of it as Brothers Grimm folktales meets Gravity Falls humor with a gloomier, October tone. The story follows Wirt and Greg making their way through The Unknown, a fantastic subversion of the “two children lost in the woods” trope that is at times both surreally dark and whimsical. The mini-series will have you jumping from pumpkin societies to musical frogs to haunted mansions throughout its 100-minute run time, all while providing some of the best autumn visuals to come out of the world of animation in recent memory. It’s a tale perfect for rainy day hot cocoa, with an ambiguously melancholic ending that will leave you scouring Reddit for fan theories for weeks.”

Perfect for: “People looking for the ultimate autumn vibe-trip in a cartoon.”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 3

Trigger Warnings: Some scary images every now and then, but mostly kid-friendly.

Watch the first episode here: https://youtu.be/_Wc1-q1CX_E (Most episodes are on YouTube, but the entire mini-series can be found on Netflix)

  1. October County, a book by Ray Bradbury

Recommended by: IllustratedMan (Class 2023)

“ It’s a collection of short stories on pumpkins, scythes, evil babies, and all the dark things that come out this time of year. Ray Bradbury has always had a penchant for turning a weird concept into a believably tense story (e.g. what if the wind wanted to kill you? what if you hated your own skeleton?) Not really in the same genre of scary as Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock, but wonderfully captures the magic of the October season in all its creepy autumn vibes.”

Perfect for: “Bookworms who can’t commit to a full novel but want a quick Halloween fantasy fix every now and then that’s not too intense.”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 3

Trigger Warnings: Death 

  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 

Recommended by: Nobody (Class 2023)

“This book tells the story of a living boy who grew up in a graveyard, with ghosts for parents. Often spooky, sometimes silly or downright funny, but always heartwarming. A cute exploration of the lives of the dead. *pun intended*”

Perfect for: “People who enjoy Tim Burton films (embraces the creepy ambience, but rarely ever truly scary).”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 3

Trigger Warnings: Death, ghosts, murder

Category 2: For those with enough courage to venture deeper into horror, but not enough to fully commit to the scaries: these contain darker themes, and we can’t promise that you’ll be sleeping soundly afterwards. 

  1. Vertigo, a film by Alfred Hitchcock 

Recommended by: Boo (Class 2023) 

“A cop is forced into retirement, then hired to stalk a suspicious socialite. 

Bonus: if you end up liking this film, check out Rope and Psycho, both also by Alfred Hitchcock.” 

Perfect for: “Fans of hitchcock or classic hollywood film noir.”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 4 

Trigger Warnings: Drug use and addiction, prostitution, eating disorders 

  1. It Moves video game by developer SnowOwl (Based on Creepypasta entitled “Bedtime” by Michael Whitehouse)

Recommended by: ved5br6F (Class 2023) 

“Boy is haunted by an entity as he tries to sleep.

People who read the creepy pasta “bedtime” might already have an idea of what it might contain. The video game is an interpretation of that story. “

Perfect for: “People who like to sleep.” 

Spook-o-meter Rating: 5

Trigger Warnings: Weird, gory elements 

Download it here: https://rpgmaker.net/games/6022/

  1. Antumbra video game by DroneLocker 

Recommended by: ved5br6F (Class 2023) 

“A point-and-click game with an in-game story where you’re thrown into a situation and you have no idea what’s going on. It’s a weird journey with a weird climax, but it’s more disturbing and creepy than scary.” 

Perfect for: “Fans of Darkseed, Silent Hill, Hellraiser, Event Horizon, Shivers and Lovecraft, as these were what inspired the creator while developing the game.” 

Spook-o-meter Rating: 5

Trigger Warnings: Jumpscares, gore, self-harm, death, anti-religion, blasphemy

  1. Frankenstein by J. Searle Dawley (film adaptation of the novel by Mary Shelley) 

Recommended by: Boo (Class 2023) 

“It’s just 12 minutes, and it’s a silent film with no subs needed.”

Perfect for: “People who don’t want to read the novel or watch a full-length film adaptation. If you do [want to watch the full-length film], watch the 1994 adaptation, NOT the 1931 adaptation (pls don’t, the 12-min silent film is more accurate).”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 6

Trigger Warnings: the monster is ugly 

Category 3: For the true horror veterans who need pure terror to feel alive: if you’ve made it this far into the list, we assume you know what you’re getting yourself into (i.e., several weeks of no sleep and images you may never be able to unsee).

  1. It by Stephen King (film adaptation)

Recommended by: Mr. Poodle (Class 2024) 

“The monster feasts on your fears. It’s not jumpscare scary, but sort of a slowburn.” 

Perfect for: “People looking for a good storyline progression with spooks here and there 🤡”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 7

Trigger Warnings: Clowns, some jump scares 

  1. Rosemary’s Baby, a film by Roman Polanski 

Recommended by: Boo (Class 2023) 

“Simply put: it’s f*cked.” 

Perfect for: “People who love old hollywood aesthetics and want to be stressed.”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 7

Trigger Warnings: Rape, the devil 

  1. Mysterious Forum and 7 Rumors, a visual novel/game by Entabridge Co., Ltd.

Recommended by: Mimikyu (Class 2023) 

“This game really knows how to play with your emotions. The writing, art, and music combine in such a way that makes whatever mood the developers wanted to set extra potent. Also, the stories in the game are pretty short, and they can stand alone for the most part. So, if you’ve got a short attention span, you can finish one story in one sitting and leave the rest for another time.”

Perfect for: “People who want short scary stories but who also want to cry”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 8

Trigger Warnings: Death, bullying, some jump scares 

Download it here: https://apps.apple.com/ph/app/mysterious-forum-and-7-rumors/id1435682088 

  1. Sinister, a film by Scott Derrickson 

Recommended by: Boo (Class 2023) 

“Supposedly the ultimate “scientifically scary” film, as per this study: https://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/features/science-of-scare” 

Perfect for: “People who like Ethan Hawke (also see: The Purge)”

Spook-o-meter Rating: 8

Trigger Warnings: Jump scares, murder

*Spook-o-meter Rating Scale: 

1 – Not scary at all

10 – Extremely scary 

And there you have it, a roadmap from the warm and cozy to your (scientifically backed) worst nightmares. Happy Halloween!

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