Halloween is almost here—it’s officially Prime Spooky Time™. For me, part of the draw of the season is testing the limits of my fear. I’m the kind of person who is fascinated by horror as a genre, but isn’t as keen on horror movies or haunted houses due to the unexpected jump-scares. Creepy novels, however, fall right within my scare threshold, since there’s no chance that a person in a mask will jump out from nowhere and scream at me.
We’ve all read a scary book and slept with the light on as a result, but if you want to switch it up and experience your spooks in a different way, I highly recommend trying a scary audiobook. Audiobooks give you the full-body emotional experience that only comes from hearing a great story-teller read a chilling story aloud much like telling ghost stories around a fire (but without the bugs). Many audiobook narrators are trained actors, so they know how to read the prose and dialogue in a way that will keep you up all night. To wrap up the Halloween season, here are a collection of recent audiobooks to chill and thrill you. Some are scary, some are witchy, but they all will give you those good spooky vibes.
It would be an understatement to say that people have been excited for Leigh Bardugo’s adult debut, and the hype is worth it because Ninth House DELIVERS. A warning up front, this audiobook is pretty violent and gory, so it might not be the right listen for people who are sensitive to those subjects. That being said, every second of it will keep you on the edge of your seat, and it has paranormal themes throughout the whole book that give it Peak Halloween VibesTM. The main character, Galaxy “Alex” Stern can see ghosts, and she gets recruited by a Yale secret society to use her ability to keep the other houses (who are all taking part in supernatural activities) in line. If your jam is ghosts, gore, and creepy college campuses, download this ASAP.
Toil & Trouble
If you’ve ever read or listened to an Augusten Burroughs memoir, you know that he’s an unparalleled storyteller and has so many fascinating stories to tell. Toil & Trouble is his newest memoir, in which he reveals a secret he’s been keeping from the world—he’s a witch (and a thumpin’ good one, I’d wager). If you want to listen to a real life story from a real life witch, then this is the perfect Halloween listen. If that doesn’t draw you in off the bat, the audiobook has a full cast of narrators (including Augusten, of course) which makes the listening experience all the more engrossing.
The Monster of Elendhaven
Have you ever thought “Frankenstein would be SO much better if it were gayer and more stabby”? Then boy do I have an audiobook for you! The Monster of Elendhaven follows Johann, a monster who can’t die and his master/love-interest Florian, who is a magician hell-bent on getting revenge on everyone who’s wronged him and the city of Elendhaven. It’s super gritty, pretty gory, and full of dark humor. It’s also only 4 hours long, so it’s perfect if you want to venture outside of your horror comfort-zone, but aren’t sure that you could handle a full-length horror audio.
His Hideous Heart
Nothing screams (pun definitely intended) Halloween more to me than Edgar Allen Poe’s creepy short stories. His Hideous Heart is a collection of his stories reimagined by a star-studded cast of authors and edited by Dahlia Adler, author and founder of LGBTQReads. The YA retellings uphold the spookiness of the original stories, while also giving them a more contemporary and diverse voice. The audiobook features a full-cast, from super talented narrators to the equally talented authors behind the stories.
Five Midnights is a supernatural, murder-mystery adventure based off of the el Cuco myth and set in modern-day Puerto Rico. The story follows a biracial teen who travels from the states to Puerto Rico to visit family members, and gets tangled up in a creepy murder investigation. The horror aspects aren’t heavy handed, and it focuses more on the spookiness of the supernatural elements tangled into the story. As an audiobook, it’s a great listen for people who are looking for spooky vibes but don’t want something too scary. There’s ALSO a romance sub-plot. What could be better?