Outlandish Recommendations for Spooky Season

It's that creepy time of year when skeletons hang out on people's porches, pumpkins glow after dark, and Halloween lovers everywhere are preparing their costumes. To get into the seasonal mood, Editor in Chief Alana Joli Abbott asked Team Outland to recommend some of their favorite spooky reads. Turn on the lights and be prepared for some creepy thrills (and a few less terrifying tales for the fainter of heart).


Senior Editor Scott Colby's Classic Thrillers

Initially I thought I'd ramble about Tamsyn Muir's amazing Locked Tomb series again, but at this point I suspect everyone I know is pretty tired of hearing about how obsessed I am with space necromancers.

So let's go for a deeper cut! One of the first adult thrillers I read back in my high school days was Relic, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's novel about a strange creature terrifying the New York Museum of Natural History. This book freaked me out; the sequel, Reliquary, scared me even worse. I'll never forget reading it alone while on family vacation one summer, reaching the point in the story when the characters were descending into a dark, claustrophobic tunnel potentially swarming with horrible beasts, and then almost leaping out of my skin when a firework went off in the distance. What eventually became a series following the supernatural-ish adventures of Agent Pendergast has long been a favorite of mine, and it's still worth checking out today!

Althingi Editor and Game Designer Joshua Gillingham's Eerie Anthology

Outland anthology contributor Shanon Sinn, more widely known as the author of the runaway best-seller The Haunting of Vancouver Island, has just launched a brand new press called Black Cat Books. Black Cat, the flagship anthology for the press, is a collection of thirteen supernatural stories set in the Pacific Northwest of British Columbia, penned by a diverse group of Western Canadian writers.* From historic to futuristic, these tales of fiction are guaranteed to chill readers to the bone, and just in time for Halloween! With entities both monstrous and misunderstood, Black Cat is truly an anthology unlike any published before. Find out how this collection can come to haunt your bookshelf by visiting the Black Cat Books website.

*including Outland's Althingi worldsmith Joshua Gillingham!

Editor in Chief Alana Joli Abbott's Gothic Graphic Novel

Everyone on Team Outland knows I am probably the easiest person on the team to scare! I keep my chills and thrills a little less dire, which means a graphic novel like The Glass Scientists vol. 1 is a perfect way for me to dabble in the chaos of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Frankenstein, werewolves, and other mad scientists without having to keep all my lights on. This series opener from S. H. Cotugno has Gravity Falls and Owl House vibes—unsurprising as Cotugno worked on both those shows—but dabbles with the less sinister side of gothic favorites. Jekyll has created a boarding house for similar science minded individuals, determined to show the public that science can be trusted, even when it's dabbling in the supernatural (like werewolves) or off the charts weird. When the famous Dr. Frankenstein shows up, she (that's right) has absolute disdain for the idea of respectability—but her monster thinks Jekyll is the only one who can cure her illness. There are fabulous secondary characters, a lovely dueling narration between Jekyll and Hyde, and a soft, cinnamon roll werewolf who's likely to end up saving the day for everyone. If you have a YA reader or just like softer scary stories, this is a great choice.

Cover Artist Anne Marie Cochran's Riveting RPG
Lies of P is a brand new release. It’s like a gothic Castlevania aesthetic with Dark Souls game play. And you can pet the cats!

The Halloween Tree

Outer Shadows Curator and Author Cullen Bunn's Cornucopia

Here are a few suggestions that I think will get folks in the Halloween spirit!

BOOK - The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is a short, charming, spooky Halloween fantasy in which a group of trick-or-treaters must embark on a mystical journey in order to find a missing friend. Just reading the first few pages will put you in the spirit of Halloween and make you yearn for the good ol' days of knocking on doors and begging for candy. But the story is just all-around amazing. 
COMIC - The Upturned Stone by Scott Hampton. This short, sharp graphic novella may be a perfect Halloween story! Imagine a pumpkin pie…made from an enormous pumpkin…found growing in a graveyard. It's a terrific—and beautifully rendered—tale of ghosts, childhood, and Halloween. 
MOVIE - Everyone's gonna suggest Trick or Treat, right? I mean, it's a great Halloween flick. So, I'll suggest two other movies that would make a pretty great double feature. Haunt and Hell Fest. Both take place on Halloween. Both embrace the spirit of the holiday. And both feature some nasty slashers stalking Halloween haunted attractions. For added creepiness, watch them…then go to a haunted house in your town!
MUSIC - Not really Halloween-focused, but Gunship's latest album Unicorn is playing on repeat while I'm working these days, and there are plenty of great creepy-adjacent songs to enjoy!

What are your favorite spooky season reads? Tell us in the comments, and make sure you visit Cullen Bunn's Kickstarter for his middle grader horror novel, Crooked Hills, and bookmark Outland's newest anthology, Haunted Hallways, coming to you on Halloween!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published