Suspend Your Disbelief

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Halloween lit

I Love October

We don’t usually think of Halloween as a “reading” kind of day, but I can think of at least a couple of Halloween-related stories.

In Lorrie Moore’s classic short story “You’re Ugly, Too,” a history professor escapes her life by visiting her sister over Halloween weekend–to attend what may be the most painfully awkward Halloween party in literature:

Zoe put on her bonehead. […]

When Earl arrived, he was dressed as a naked woman, steel wool glued stretegically to a body stocking, and large rubber breasts protruding like hams.

“Zoe, this is Earl,” said Evan.

“Good to meet you,” said Earl, circling Evan to shake Zoe’s hand. He stared at the top of Zoe’s head. “Great bone.”

Zoe nodded. “Great tits,” she said.

And Rick Moody’s short story “Demonology” begins with trick-or-treaters:

They came in twos and threes, dressed in the fashionable Disney costumes of the year, Lion King, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, or in the costumes of televised superheroes, Protean, shape–shifting, thus arrayed, in twos and threes, complaining it was too hot with the mask on, Hey, I’m really hot!, lugging those orange plastic buckets, bartering, haggling with one another, Gimme your Smarties, please as their parents tarried behind, grownups following after, grownups bantering about the schools, or about movies, about local sports, about their marriages, about the difficulties of long marriages, kids sprinting up the next driveway, kids decked out as demons or superheroes or dinosaurs or as advertisements for our multinational entertainment providers, beating back the restless souls of the dead, in search of sweets…

and hurtles towards a terrifying familial heartbreak. This is one of a few stories that I literally cannot read without crying.

There must be more that I’m forgetting. What other Halloween-related stories can you think of? Tell us in the comments!

Further reading:

  • Want more chilling reads? FWR contributor Forrest Anderson recommends three favorite stories that scare (and be sure to read the comments for a scary real-life story about one of the authors!).

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