I’m all about costumes, candy, and anything else Halloween-y … that isn’t scary.
But even though I avoid ghosts and guts, I have many friends who wallow in them, particularly this time of year. So, with fans of all things creepy-crawly in mind, below are a few podcasts to help you get into the Halloween spirit (with a couple not-so-scary shows thrown in):
This podcast takes the scary tales we’ve heard endless times— about haunted insane asylums, creepy old houses, sinister creatures in the woods—and traces them back to their origin stories. The thoughtful, well-produced episodes appeal to history and horror buffs alike.
2. Jim Harold’s Campfire: True Ghost Stories
Dubbed the “paranormal podcast guy,” host Jim Harold shares listeners’ real-life ghostly encounters on this popular show. Whether you believe this kind of stuff or not, Harold’s genuine curiosity and enthusiasm may draw you in. (He also hosts a lighter pop culture show called TV You Grew Up With, which is more my speed.)
3. The No Sleep Podcast
For those who prefer scripted stories, look no further than David Cummings’s podcast, which combines unsettling short fiction with terrifying sounds. Fans go crazy for these weekly episodes; one listener on iTunes says discovering Cummings posted a new episode is “like coming home to find that your mom has baked cookies filled with blood.”
FOR HARDCORE HAUNTERS
A little 2012 documentary called The American Scream taught me about the fascinating world of homemade haunted houses. This podcast offers tips for “haunters” along with interviews and event coverage. (Sample haunter’s problem: If a prop falls down during a tour, what do you do?)
5. Goosebumps: Welcome to DeadCast
If the Jack Black movie reignited your interest in R.L. Stine’s series, stop by this podcast for in-depth analysis of the books. (Now is a particularly good time to check out DeadCast, since the latest episode features interviews with the cast and crew of the new film.)
6. Watching Dead: Walking Dead Podcast
For every zombie killed on AMC’s The Walking Dead, there are about five Walking Dead podcasts. This one stands out for its consistency and honesty. (Translation: The hosts love the show, but if they hate an episode, they’ll tell us.) Twenty-minute “instant takes” are posted after new episodes air; lengthy breakdowns go up the next day.
7. The Horror!
They don’t scare ‘em like they used to. This podcast features classic radio stories from the 1930s up through the ‘70s. They all have a creepy edge, and the effective sound effects may prompt you to re-check all the locks in your house.
FOR THE FAMILY
8. The Halloween Haunt
Each October this podcast returns with new episodes about spirits, Halloween history, and more. Aimed at older kids, the eps have spooky sounds but the content probably won’t give them nightmares (i.e. some delve into Halloween traditions around the world). A five-minute runtime also makes the show ideal for short attention spans.
FOR SCAREDY CATS (LIKE ME)
Why are some people night owls? How come our view of the night sky is disappearing? Halloween might be the perfect time to sample this podcast, which examines activities and mysteries of the evening hours. It isn’t super-scary, but it is super-dark.