Horror fans, this is the month where we all grow into our full power. October is the time of year when we get to emerge from the shadows and love scary stories with our whole chests. From October 1st to October 31st, the whole world has a hunger for everything horror. Everyone is craving thrills and chills, and they’re everywhere. In abundance. Skeletons have come out of the closet and are hanging in front yards. People are proudly displaying cobwebs in their windows. Spooky soundtracks are on every radio station. Ghost stories have now become a part of polite dinner conversation — at least for the rest of the month.
This October is especially sweet, with all sorts of treats and tricks in store for readers. What can you expect this month as we count down to Halloween? So many scary things! Think haunted schools, horrifying vampires lurking in the shadows of a high-rise apartment complex, exorcisms, aliens, and other horrors you can’t even imagine. Yes, this October is the best month for horror readers for a number of reasons. Eight of the best reasons to be excited about October are right here, just waiting for you to add them to your TBR.
Out There Screaming: An Anthology of New Black Horror, edited by Jordan Peele and John Joseph Adams (Random House, October 3)
You know when Jordan Peele has a new horror movie hitting theaters, we’re all going to be first in line to go see it. Now, the acclaimed director of Get Out and Nope is bringing his horror sensibilities to a super spooky new anthology. Out There Screaming features a collection of brand new horror stories from Black voices: Erin E. Adams, Violet Allen, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Maurice Broaddus, Chesya Burke, P. Djèlí Clark, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Tananarive Due, Nalo Hopkinson, N. K. Jemisin, Justin C. Key, L. D. Lewis, Nnedi Okorafor, Tochi Onyebuchi, Rebecca Roanhorse, Nicole D. Sconiers, Rion Amilcar Scott, Terence Taylor, and Cadwell Turnbull.
A Haunting on the Hill by Elizabeth Hand (Mulholland Books, October 3)
Does the name sort of sound familiar? It’s because A Haunting on the Hill is a return to the world of the Shirley Jackson classic The Haunting of Hill House. Holly Sherwin is a struggling playwriting looking for a way to get away from the outside world and focus on her work. So when she discovers Hill House, a mansion hidden away outside of a remote village, Holly packs everything up to retreat to the house and focus on her work. Joining her is her girlfriend Nisa and a troupe of actors. The plan is to spend a month in the mansion working on a play. But the house has other ideas.
The Dead Take the A Train by Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey (Tor Nightfire, October 3)
Cosmic horror and dark fantasy meet in this first book in a new duology from bestselling authors Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey. In an effort to make a name for herself in the world of magic, Julie spends all of her time going from gig to gig in New York City. From exorcizing demons to making deals with dastardly gods, no job is too horrifying for Julie. But the grind is getting to her. Then her best friend Sarah shows up at her door asking for help, and everything else goes to the wayside. Now Julie’s priority is saving her friend, even if it means journeying into the darkest corners of magical NYC.
Frost Bite by Angela Sylvaine (Dark Matter INK, October 10)
If you dig horror with a dash of nostalgia, pick up Frost Bite this October. Demise, North Dakota, is a town trapped in 1997. You see, when an alien worm crash-landed in a trailer park in Demise, it started infecting animals with a memory loss-inducing illness. Now it’s up to Realene and her friend Nate to stop the alien before it infects everyone and leaves the town in shambles.
Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt (Tor Nightfire, October 10)
Here’s an unmissable queer body horror book you’ve got to read this October. Frankie’s world is falling apart after her workplace was bombed by a transphobe. Now, Frankie deals with the trauma by partying, sleeping around, and hanging out with her new friend, Vanya. The two quickly fall into an intense friendship with one another, but the closer Vanya and Frankie get, the more Frankie grows suspicious that Vanya is hiding something from her. Something dark and impossibly evil.
Christmas and Other Horrors: An Anthology of Solstice Horror, edited by Ellen Datlow (Titan Books, October 24)
If you love Halloween, you probably don’t love how many stores start playing Christmas music as soon as the leaves turn. We know Halloween deserves its time to shine, but why fight it? The Nightmare Before Christmas proves there’s room for both horror and winter holidays in our hearts. This anthology is a collection of horror set during the winter solstice. It includes new works from some of the horror greats, including Stephen Graham Jones, Alma Katsu, and Josh Malerman.
Nestlings by Nat Cassidy (Tor Nightfire, October 31)
The horror of being a new parent is an often-revisited subject in horror fiction, but Nat Cassidy’s Nestlings explores domestic horror in a whole new way. After a horrifically difficult birth, Ana is scarred in more ways than one. Now she and her husband Reid are desperate for some good news. When they win an affordable apartment in one of New York’s most preeminent apartment buildings, they think this is it. But if something seems too good to be true (especially in a horror novel), then you know it probably is.
The Reformatory by Tananarive Due (Gallery/Saga Press, October 31)
When Tananarive Due announced she had a new novel coming out, it quickly became one of the most anticipated new horror books of 2023. And it’s finally hitting shelves this Halloween! After kicking a white boy’s leg, Robert Stephen Jones Jr. is sent to Gracetown School for Boys in Gracetown, Florida. The reform school is a house of horrors full of racism, injustice, and the ghosts of the boys who died there.