I love Halloween. Halloween, to me, is not a day of the year, but a season that starts just around September 10th and ends on Thanksgiving. Our house has a Halloween countdown calendar that has a piece of Halloween-themed media we watch every day.
I don’t mess around when it comes to Halloween, y’all.
This also means that, naturally, one of the ways I prepare for Halloween is to start listening to all of my favorite spooky or Halloween-themed podcasts. I’ve found a selection that’s good for just about anyone, whether you’re here for the scares or just for that fun, spooky vibe.
If you’re looking for a quick, silly, fun Halloween podcast, The Halloween Haunt is perfect. Meant for any audience, the show is a quick foray into Halloween traditions, spooky poems, and short stories. Seldom over ten minutes long and only airing in October, The Halloween Haunt is the perfect way to get any little ones into the Halloween spirit–or any adults, if those adults are like me, in that when it comes to Halloween they are essentially small, exciteable children.
Think of Every Day is Halloween as The Halloween Haunt‘s edgy older sibling. Like The Halloween Haunt, Every Day is Halloween covers everything Halloween, but has more of a focus on horror movies, horror TV shows, haunted houses, and the like. The show is usually over an hour long, and the host, “Horror Guy Keenan,” is shockingly comprehensive. Every Day is Halloween is released monthly, but will have two episodes this coming October–perfect for the 2017 Halloween season.
You’ve still got time to check out Lore before its Amazon TV adaptation, and if you’re a fan of modern folklore, you absolutely should. Lore covers everything from retellings of popular “creepypasta” stories from sources like /r/nosleep (which also has its own, slightly less impressive podcast) to discussing true stories, like that of H. H. Holmes. While the show is perhaps best known for its episode “Episode 15: Unboxed,” this list also has a great collection of must-listen episodes to fit in before the Amazon adaptation.
While I don’t currently keep up with The Magnus Archives, it was one my absolute favorite ongoing horror podcast. I often referred to it as “What The Black Tapes should have been.” The Magnus Archive is a horror audio drama that focuses on the archive of a supernatural investigation business. Each episode has a different account of a supernatural, usually horrific experience, but as the episodes go on, the person reading the archives slowly starts down a plotline of his own. The early episodes are some of the best horror writing I’ve heard, and the production quality perfectly suits the genre and tone of the show.
After years of presenting a “Spooked” episode during the Halloween season, Snap Judgment has decided to spin the recurring episode off into its own show. Snap Judgment follows the standard “creative nonfiction stories on a theme” format, and Spooked is no different. While it’s obviously up to the listener whether or not they categorize the stories under “nonfiction,” the show does entice the listener to believe. Because of Snap Judgment‘s ability to curate–the show has existed and been widely popular for years now–each episode has only the cream of the crop with the stories it presents.
If you follow my podcast-specific tumblr, you probably know that I consider Limetown a Holy Grail Podcast–something in the same ranks as Wolf 359 or Radiolab. For a long time, I even reviewed podcasts in quantities of limes as a tribute to the show. Limetown is formatted like investigative reporting. It follows a reporter named Lia as she tries to unravel the mystery of a place called “Limetown”–a sort of commune for scientists that suddenly turned into a ghost town ten years before the recording begins. Each year, I do at least one relisten of this horror, semi-sci-fi audio drama. I’ve just recently started my relisten, and the show maintains as amazing as I remember it. The twists the show takes are exciting and suspenseful, the production is stunning, but what really sets this show apart is its mind for characters. The character writing in the show is on par with podcasts like The Bright Sessions, even though most characters only show up for an episode. While there have been some teases about more Limetown content coming in the future, I think it should be viewed as one complete piece for now–even if the ending might leave you with even more questions than you had when you started listening.
7. Point Mystic
Point Mystic is an interesting blend of things: it’s a magical realism story, but it feels like horror. It’s scripted in events, but the dialogue is almost entirely improvised. The show is so immersive, it’s hard to figure out what was planned and what came about organically while recording. The show’s first arc is about a town where it’s an unspoken tradition that children build strange structures out of sticks in the forest–and nobody is really sure why. It has a chilling aesthetic to it that’s hard to pin down, but makes for an absolutely bingeworthy show.
8. Help Me
Help Me is by far the most novice podcast on the list, and while that does show at times (usually in the form of unfortunate supporting character performances), it makes up for those shortcomings in attention to detail, writing, and some key production moments. Help Me is an audio drama in which the protagonist tries to find out more about her friend’s sudden death. The show is fast-paced and suspenseful, feeling more like an audio version of The Blair Witch Project than other projects’ take on “Serial but it’s horror.” The project is complete, and each episode is under half an hour, making it an easy quick listen before Halloween.
I will always maintain that Within the Wires is Night Vale Presents’s most underrated show, and that especially applies when discussing horror. While the most obvious horror-based show within the company would probably be Alice Isn’t Dead, the horror in Within the Wires always convinced me more. Within the Wires is structured as relaxation tapes, which might seem antithetical until you realize how successful the dissonance between relaxation and the slow unfold of the gruesome plot is.
Station to Station from the Procyon Podcast network is the newest show on this list with only three episodes so far; still, it’s already become a riveting, unnerving tale about a scientist trying to find out what happened to her lab partner, who was supposed to join her on a research cruise. While the show has front-loaded with character development, the gorgeous production constantly reminds the listener that there’s something more nefarious going on. The show sets tone better than almost any other audio drama I can think of, and I’m so excited to continue getting spooked by it this season.
What are your favorite Halloweeny podcasts to listen to? Do you like the audio dramas or the retellings? Do you prefer cute spooky or full scary? Let me know in the comments below, or feel free to drop me a line on asks on tumblr or on twitter.