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.
Spirits is a “boozy dive into mythology, legends, and folklore” hosted by two long-time friends. In each episode, the hosts drink and discuss one piece of mythology, including how it’s been retold throughout the years and its significance in its culture. This podcast is hilarious and informative, but it’s not without its own spine-tingling stories. Check out their fan favorite series of hometown urban legends for some spooky tales submitted by listeners.
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.
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. 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. Be sure to catch up now before its second season debuts Halloween 2018 after years of fans waiting.
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. Its second season will be dropping Halloween 2018.
Palimpsest is audio fiction’s best foray into the Gothic–the genre of creeping, slow, psychological horror found in Dark Romantic greats and the writings of authors like Shirley Jackson. The first season follows a woman convinced that she’s seeing the ghost of her sister, even in her new apartment, and what unfolds is a ghost story unlike any other. Its second season is a new season–a new story on top of the season prior, a palimpsest of its own–that focuses on a woman working in as the attendant of a mysterious and lovely carnival performer.
9. Rose Drive
Rose Drive is an audio fiction thriller, taking the listener through an investigation of a tragedy at the protagonist’s high school reunion. Rose Drive feels almost like a Nolan film in audio: it’s mindbending, inspires rampant conspiracy theories, and has a slick, polished production quality. Each episode of Rose Drive focuses on a specific subject, all told through the lens of a deeply flawed and unreliable narrator who you still can’t help but root for.
Like Palimpsest, Mabel is a slow-build creeping story about ghosts, memory, and what it means to be haunted. The story follows a woman leaving voicemails for the granddaughter of the woman she’s been hired to take care of, and the listener gets to experience the calls becoming more personal–and more entwined with the eerie and supernatural.
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.