All Hallows’ Eve is creeping up and that means it’s time to get your spooky on as much as possible. While you’re topping off your candy dishes and whipping up spooky concoctions for your bloody good Halloween party, dive into one of our top five horror podcasts to get in the haunted spirit.
Now it’s time to get those pumpkins carved, add the finishing touches to your badass Halloween costume, and turn the fear factor up.
The Horror of Dolores Roach
You might know Gimlet from insightful shows like Reply All and StartUp (or maybe you heard about them when it was announced that their gripping psychological thriller podcast Homecoming was to become an Amazon Original series), but this year they’ve decided to expand their top-notch storytelling skills into the dark realms of horror fiction. The Horror of Dolores Roach is a Sweeney Todd-inspired tale of the titular Delores Roach, who promises to share “all the gory details” as she recounts the story of returning to her old neighborhood after 16 years behind bars. The show stars Tony nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega as Dolores Roach and Bobby Cannavale as Luis, the stoner friend who follows Roach into an increasing web of darkness and horror. The voice acting is impeccable, which is no surprise considering Rubin-Vega and Cannavale are joined by castmates like Richard Kind, Vanessa Williams, Margaret Cho, and a whole host of other incredible talents. The show offers up a creeping narrative that moves just slow enough to keep you on edge and just fast enough to send you binging right to its chilling conclusion. All eight episodes are available for streaming now.
Palimpsest’s first season is composed of the audio diary entries of Annaliese, a young woman caught between mourning over her past and attempting to step into a new chapter of her life. What begins as the half-begrudging, partially excited recordings of a young woman moving into a new apartment quickly reveals a deeper, more mysterious story as her stream-of-consciousness audio entries begin to betray all the truths she’d rather not think about: a relationship gone bad, what happened to her sister, the neighbor boy that keeps showing up on her lawn, and the strange lady across the hall. Hayley Heninger (also the show’s co-creator) is the voice of Annaliese and her wide-ranging narration is backed by an eerie soundtrack that will give you goosebumps long before you’re sure you should be creeped out. All of season one is currently available for streaming and season two, which follows a brand-new character on her own dark journey, is currently in progress.
The Moonlit Road
If you’re looking for a short horror-fiction series to fill the void after you prematurely binged NoSleep’s entire back catalog, The Moonlit Road has everything you need to get your fix for the 31st. The show focuses on horror stories, urban legends, and freaky folktales from the American South, with narration by a varied cast of incredible Southern storytellers. If you’re from the South, you might find something hauntingly familiar in the archives of The Moonlit Road, as they pull many of their stories from well-known local legends and widely-reported hauntings. Everything about The Moonlit Road oozes the feeling of ghost stories being passed down generation by generation on moonlit evenings and around crackling campfires. New episode releases tend to be sporadic, but there’s currently over 50 that you can sink those witchy fingers into before the holiday.
The Other Stories
What better way to prepare yourself for the spookiest night of the year than by terrifying yourself on the way to work every morning until you’re so on edge that you can’t bring yourself to open the door to trick-or-treaters? The Other Stories, which warns listeners that “these aren’t the stories your mother told you,” is a horror/sci-fi/thriller fiction podcast that is specifically built to be enjoyed in bite-sized portions. Episodes stick to a 20-25-minute runtime, so you can experience them start to finish on your commute. The spine-chilling stories are complemented by immersive soundtracks and dotted with subtle sound effects to pull your mind deeper into their madness. The result is a perfectly digestible, delightfully unsettling audio morsel to feast on in preparation for all those brains — er, candy — you’ll be enjoying this Halloween. Episodes typically release once a week, but during Halloween week (October 25 through October 31), you can enjoy a new one every single day.
When you first begin Haunted Places, you may feel like it’s the podcasting world’s answer to shows like SyFy’s Ghost Hunters International, but oh boy, is it so much more than that. Each week, host Greg Polcyn brings you along on a tour of a famous haunted place. Polcyn doesn’t stop at relaying the legends surrounding each location, though — he takes a deep, dark dive into the history of every location, sharing the haunting truth of how each place gained its infamous reputation. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, there’s something spine-chilling about hearing the oft-untold stories behind now-defunct asylums, dusty old castles, and creepy hotels. The show seamlessly weaves together ghastly history lessons with audio of Polcyn’s tours of each location, and the chill factor of each episode is supported by eerie music and immersive sound effects. You can listen to the last six months’ worth of episodes for free, and the full archives are available on Stitcher Premium.
If you burn through all of these, you should check out our favorite podcasts for road trips, our top overall picks for 2018, these productive podcasts to help get your life together, the best fiction podcasts overall, the greatest history podcasts, or The Manual’s own podcast. Need more suggestions? Here are some of our faves for men’s fashion, craft beer, and true crime.