In the days leading up to, and past, the Halloween holiday, I’ll be taking a look at and recommending all manner of Halloween horrors and spooky treats. These are the
Thirteen Days of Halloween
Day 1 – October 22nd: The October Country
Day 2 – October 23rd: Bone-Chilling Books
Day 3 – October 24th: Terrifying Television
Day 4 – October 25th: Petrifying Podcasts
Day 5 – October 26th: Grisly Games
Day 6 – October 27th: Creepy Comics
Day 7 – October 28th: Frightening Films
Day 8 – October 29th: This Is (A) Halloween (Mixtape)
Day 9 – October 30th: Halloween Horror
Day 10 – October 31st: Why Halloween?
Day 11 – November 1st: All Hallows’ Day
Day 12 – November 2nd: Día de los Muertos
Day 13 – November 3rd: Nightmares before Christmas
Day 4 – October 25th: Petrifying Podcasts
Podcasts are the best. I started listening to podcasts in 2006 and I listen to more today than I ever have. You can find a podcast about just about anything, so yeah, there are number of podcasts out there for horror fans.
Last Podcast on the Left: This is a podcast that is about all things horror, with a primary focus on films, mythology, and real-life horror. Every week Ben Kissel, Henry Zebrowski, and Marcus Parks delve into everything from creepy pastas, to the occult, to fairies, to H. H. Holmes. And there’s a LOT of it (245 episodes and counting). My only complaint (and it’s a big one) is that it can get a little… shock jock-y? The podcast often devolves into what Donald Trump would call “locker room talk”, and it can occasionally come off as a bit misogynistic. I keep expecting them to start triggering a sound board, but it never comes. If you can get past that, however, there are a TON of interesting topics discussed here. I’m not sure where else you’ll find such a comprehensive list of horror and horror-adjacent topics.
My Favorite Murder: If you want something similar to Last Podcast on the Left without the “boys will be boys” aspect, check out Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark’s My Favorite Murder. Every week the two of them highlight a number of new murders, crimes, and mysteries. While the girls are undoubtedly fascinated by the topics (as am I), they handle them with a bit more tact than the boys do. Unfortunately, they only talk about murders and serial killers, so this isn’t necessarily a horror podcast per se. Still, if you’ve spent your entire life fascinated by murder and have felt guilty about it, there’s a place for you here.
Lore: Every week, host and writer Aaron Mahnke explores the origins and backgrounds of real-life myths and folklore. It’s interesting, informative, creepy, and Amazon Studios has picked it up for a 10-episode series. Get in on the ground floor!
Serial/In The Dark: I almost didn’t include this, because it’s not horror or horror-adjacent, but I remember starting Serial season 1 in October of 2014 and it felt like it fit. Despite the fact that it ultimately went nowhere, there was something mysterious about the start of that season. You genuinely weren’t sure what was going to happen or where the story was going to go. It was a time of possibility. Maybe that’s why it felt so right to be listening to it in October. If you’ve already listened to season 1 of Serial, I’d recommend In The Dark, a newer true-crime podcast that follows the recently solved disappearance Jacob Wetterling. If you like that, well, I have good news for you – Serial started a true-crime epidemic. There are plenty more where these came from.
Remember a time when families gathered around the radio? Me neither, but it happened. Radio dramas are making a big comeback in the form of podcasts. There are tons, and some are better than others. These are the ones I’ve listened to.
Small Town Horror: Probably the worst I’ve listened to, simply because of how annoying I find all the voices. That being said, the tale of a man returning to his hometown after the death of his father is filled with legitimately creepy moments. That’s the joy of scary podcasts – the sound design. You know what’s more frightening than a jump scare? Lying in your bed, in the dark, and hearing creepy laughter in your ear buds. I don’t know where this story of a missing town, a childhood game, and child abductions is going, but the mystery is enough to drive me past the grating voices.
Archive 81: You’re going to notice a theme start emerging – narrative podcasts often have annoying voice actors. Archive 81 is no exception. Luckily, there are two main characters here, and only one is annoying (the one with a pet rat named “Raty”). This character, Daniel Powell, is tasked with recording an account of every tape in Archive 81. As he listens to the tapes, which follow a female reporter as she investigates strange happenings in a hotel buildings, he gradually begins to lose his sanity. It gets REALLY creepy towards the end. I’d almost recommend it based on that episode alone. If you’ve never listened to a narrative podcast, however, start with the suggestions below.
The Black Tapes: This is maybe my favorite of all the dramatic podcasts that I’ve listened to. The premise is simple – Podcast host Alex Reagan profiles Dr. Richard Strand, a paranormal investigator who debunks supernatural cases. Dr. Strand has a number of unsolved cases, known as “The Black Tapes”. Imagine a Serial-like podcast that investigated the X-Files, and you’re almost there. The podcast is genuinely scary and the cases are almost always interesting. As time goes on, more and more is revealed about the mysterious Black Tapes and you start to realize that maybe these incidents aren’t as isolated as previously thought. By the time Season 2 rolls around, Alex and Strand are involved in a web of mystery that spans decades.
Tanis: This is sort of a spin-off podcast from The Black Tapes, although it doesn’t cover the same ground. This time, Alex Reagan’s producer, Nic Silver, starts his own investigative podcast, looking into the myth of Tanis. It wouldn’t do me or you any good to try to explain the myth of Tanis any further, because the whole point is that nobody really knows what Tanis is. It’s a compelling mystery, and while I don’t like Nic as much as Alex, in the end, Tanis could end up being a more satisfying story.
Limetown: This is the podcast that initially turned me onto dramatic podcasts, and it’s still probably the best one I’ve heard. The Black Tapes and Tanis have good voice-acting, but Limetown’s is better. This podcast follows the same Serial-like docudrama format as the last two, this time investigating the mystery of Limetown, a small-town in which 300 people disappeared overnight. Host Lia Haddock begins to slowly peel away the mystique surrounding Limetown as she encounters people who claimed to have been there that night and before she knows it, she’s swept up in a conspiracy that threatens her very lilfe.
Welcome to Night Vale: I’m not entirely sure if this belongs under this section or not, but I included it because it’s scripted. Unlike the above podcasts, Welcome to Night Vale doesn’t tell a serialized story week-to-week. Instead, it’s presented as a fictional radio show that reports on the curious happenings in the mysterious town of Night Vale. It’s odd and unsettling, yet also comforting in a way.
If you like any of the above, there are many more dramatic and true crime podcasts out there. I think people should listen to more podcasts in general, so do yourself a favour and go try out some other stuff that interests you. Podcasts are the best.