Creepypasta, Shirley Jackson, and Horror Podcasts: A Halloween Reading Guide

Happy Halloween! It’s the season of costume parties, trick-or-treating, pumpkin-carving, and scary stories. The spookiness doesn’t have to end with the weekend—indulge in classic creepypasta, scary podcasts, and Ms. (Shirley) Jackson on your lunch break.

1. “The Definitive Guide to Creepypasta–The Internet’s Scariest Urban Legends.” (Aja Romano, The Kernel, October 2012)

For the past two weeks, I’ve been in a reading funk. I start a book; I put it down; repeat. Instead of novels, I’ve turned to Reddit (for virtually the first time in my life), reading creepypasta and other weird stories into the wee hours. Bonus round: Every year, Jezebel collects terrifying stories from their readers—usually of the paranormal-it-happened-to-me variety–and this year’s is up! I think “Armoire” is the scariest.

2. “A User’s Guide to Shirley Jackson.” (Anna Fitzpatrick, Hazlitt, September 2016)

Late one night, I asked Twitter for advice about my aforementioned reading rut, and one wise internet denizen recommended The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson—”a spooky, pretty short, easy read,” she said. I found a PDF and settled in. Three hours later, I was simultaneously freaked out and in awe of Jackson. Use Anna Fitzpatrick’s reader’s guide to choose which tale will jolt you from your own rut, or start with “The Man in the Woods,” courtesy of The New Yorker.

3. “Readers Report: Haunted.” (Susan Clements, The Rumpus, October 2014)

Eighteen writers take on what it means to be haunted in these super-short stories and poems.

4. “Antique Nightmares.”(Jason Boog, LARB, October 2015)

Podcasts like NoSleep, Lore, Just A Story, Tanis and many more are bringing old-school radio horror to our modern airwaves. Jason Boog writes about these contemporary storytellers and their 20th century precursors. (If true crime is scarier to you than the paranormal, I’m obsessed with My Favorite Murder.)