Halloween: 10 books and 17 movies for October
Let’s start with the truth: Halloween is one of my favourite holidays so chances are I’m biased here.
I grew up in Italy where Halloween has become a “thing” only very recently. When I was a kid, Halloween didn’t exist. Yes, you’ve read it right. Zero. Null. I never had the chance to dress up and go trick or treating with my friends. I’m an only child, so I guess I wouldn’t even have had the chance to blackmail an older brother or sister into taking me out anyway. A little girl could only dream, right?
On the other hand, while growing up in Italy my favourite time of the year was definitely Carnevale. Carnevale is the Italian version of Halloween, only it lasts for weeks, it happens in February, and almost no monsters are involved. There are tons of ballerinas, princesses, and pirates thou.
Halloween combines both my passion for horror and for dressing up, so it’s easy to see why I love it so much. I love everything about Halloween: the tacky decorations, pumpkin carving, orange everywhere, thinking about how to dress up for one of the gazillion Halloween parties that will take place in London this year… Yeah, I admit I also thought about stealing a kid or 2 and go trick or treating with them (and keep the candies).
October 1st officially signals the start of Halloween Month. Not only it’s time to think about costumes, but it’s also time to live Halloween in all its (brief) glory.
So here are some tips to set the right mood.
“It is most unlikely. But, here comes the big “but”, not impossible.” – Roahl Dahl
- The Halloween Tree: A classic horror story. On Halloween night, eight trick-or-treaters gather at the haunted house by the edge of town, ready for adventure. But when Something whisks their friend Pip away, will the boys be able to find him again?
- Dracula: I don’t think we need to go into many details here. The story of the most famous Vampire in the world. Watch also the 1992 movie, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it’s gold.
- The Graveyard Book: Bod is only a baby when he escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family finding refuge in a graveyard. He is brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres and funny enough Bod learns about life from the dead. In the cemetery Bod is safe. The question is, is it enough to be just safe, and is Bod really alive?
- Salem’s Lot (but seriously, anything written by Stephen King is good in October. This is his month): Forget Twilight. In this book, vampires are serious business like in Dracula. Ben Mears is a writer who goes back Salem’s Lot to exorcise the terrors that have haunted him since childhood. Too bad that a whole new bunch of terrors await. Who is Mr. Barlow, the new owner of the most terrifying house in the Lot? Why does he appear only after dark? And what is happening to the people of the sleepy village?
- The Witches: One of my childhood books, Roal Dahls is always a must. Real witches dress in ordinary clothes and look like ordinary women. But they are not ordinary. They are always plotting and scheming with murderous, bloodthirsty thoughts – and they hate children. They hate you too.
- Let The Right One In (the movie is also really good): I love this book. It talks about loss, hardship, death, but also love. Oskar is a 12-year-old boy living with his mother. He dreams about his absentee father, gets bullied at school, and wets himself when he’s frightened. Eli is the young girl who moves in next door. She doesn’t go to school and never leaves the flat by day. She is a 200-year-old vampire, forever frozen in childhood, and condemned to live on a diet of fresh blood. This is the story of how the two of them became friends, and fight together for life.
- The Little Vampire: This book made it to the list because of its emotional value. The first time I read The Little Vampire I was in second grade. A friend gave me the book during recess, and I spent the whole hour reading instead of going out to play with my friends. This book actually opened the door to my passion. Now I read it when I’m nostalgic. The plot is very simple: Anton is a little boy who loves horror stories. Until one night the horror becomes reality, when Rudiger knocks on his window. Rudiger is a vampire, but completely different from the ones in the movies. Because for example Rudiger is afraid of the dark.
- The Raven Boys (first book in a trilogy): Blue is cursed and she has to live with the knowledge that if she kisses her true love, he will die. When Blue meets Gansey’s spirit on the corpse road she knows there is only one reason why – either he is her true love or she has killed him. Determined to find out the truth, Blue becomes involved with the Raven Boys, four boys from the local private school who are on a quest to discover Glendower – a lost ancient Welsh King. Whoever finds him will be granted a supernatural favour. Where will fate lead them?
- Frankenstein: Another classic that doesn’t need a lot of explanation. The story of Dr. Frankestein and his creature.
- The silence of the lambs: I consider this a classic too, actually. We meet Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psichiatrc currently held in a mental facility because he is a cannibal serial killer. Clarice from the FBI, seeks his help investigating a new set of murders. Quid pro quo, Clarice. I suggest you watch the movie, too.
- The girl with all the gifts: Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.
- The road: This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. A father and his son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men who stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
The Corpse Bride (2005)
Kiki Delivery Service (1989)
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) -> watch the original one, not the remake, pretty please.
The Babadook (2014)
Interview with the vampire (1994)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)