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October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween
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October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween

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4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  936 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Classic novellas, never-before-published stories, essays on the history, literature, and films of Halloween, and real-life memories of October 31st-from today's best practitioners of fear:Dean Koontz * Peter Straub * Poppy Z. Brite * Rick Hautala * Steve Rasnic Tem * Elizabeth Engstrom * Thomas Ligotti * Gary A. Braunbeck * Jack Ketchum * Thomas F. Monteleone * Hugh B. Cav ...more
Paperback, 656 pages
Published September 3rd 2002 by Roc (first published September 3rd 2000)
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The Halloween Tree by Ray BradburySomething Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburyDracula by Bram StokerThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Bo HamptonFrankenstein by Mary Shelley
Best Halloween Books
24th out of 392 books — 461 voters
Baby Teeth by Dan RabartsFresh Fear by William   CookRead the End First by Suzanne RobbZippered Flesh by Weldon BurgeDead Harvest by Mark Parker
Best Horror Anthologies
23rd out of 351 books — 657 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jacob J.
In some manner my literary, musical, and aesthetic sensibilities transmogrify with the season. Once the autumnal gods blow forth the cool air, carrying with it their fragrances of dry leaves, patchouli, apple spice, and the harvest, and pumpkins begin to grace doorsteps, the numinous in me is sustained by clichéd images of chilling awe; graveyards (with or without decayed hands rising there from), howling wolves silhouetted by full moons, implied malevolent cackling of jack-O’-lanterns, as well ...more
Bark's Book Nonsense
Oct 12, 2011 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, dark-fantasy
A Celebration of Halloween edited by Richard Chizmar & Robert Morrish is a collection of new and previously published short stories, novellas and true-life memories taking place on Halloween. Included is a brief (and interesting) history of Halloween and guides to Halloween film and fiction all written by some of my favorite horror and dark fantasy writers.

I’ve been working at this one for over a month and not due to disinterest either. This sucker is HUGE and its anthology format makes it t
...more
Melki
Oct 29, 2011 Melki rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, halloween
So-so collection of mostly forgettable horror tales. The best stories - Dean Koontz's "The Black Pumpkin", "Masks" by Douglas E. Winter - I had already read in other anthologies. Sprinkled throughout the book are favorite Halloween memories by various authors. Meh!
Bridget
Jul 25, 2010 Bridget rated it it was amazing
"Ahhh, Halloween...The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, the bonfires are lit and everyone anticipates the one day where they can be whatever they want and go begging for treats, and more importantly, and if you're lucky, be on the receiving end of a really good scare! To start your season off right, pick-up a copy of this fantastic book, brimming with stories that will have you up late into the night turning the pages of one of the best Horror Anthologies to date. There is something for eve ...more
Jeff Jellets
Dec 16, 2015 Jeff Jellets rated it really liked it

“I never forget Halloween,” Hat said. “If I can, I stay home on Halloween. Don’t want to be out on the street that night.” “You’d feel in danger?” I asked. “No,” he finally said. “Not exactly. But I wouldn’t feel safe either.”

October Dreams is a well-above average anthology of Halloween-themed horror stories that like a bag of the holiday candy is full of savory treats, with nary a stinker to be found. In addition to some really great short stories (and one poem!), the book includes the ‘Favorit
...more
Chere
Feb 07, 2012 Chere rated it it was amazing
A must-read for fans of horror or Halloween! A thrilling collection of short fiction and Halloween memories from top writers in the field! LOVE!!!
Brian Sammons
May 27, 2012 Brian Sammons rated it really liked it
I love Halloween. I love short stories. And yes, I love this book.
Kelsey
Oct 22, 2013 Kelsey rated it it was amazing
I'm completely obsessed with this book and I think everyone who has the slightest interest in Halloween should read it, though I may be a bit partial because this magical holiday happens to be my birthday. This anthology is brimming with personality and American tradition, not to mention legitimate creepiness. Most of the stories/anecdotes made me want to call up the author and rave about their work and pick their brain about their conception of Halloween. I raced through the 650 pages in less t ...more
Melissa
Oct 21, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
My new tradition will be to read this every October to get me in the Halloween spirit. So many stories I think everyone will enjoy.
Alazzar
Oct 24, 2014 Alazzar rated it it was ok
Shelves: hiatus
Only managed to make it through 185 pages before the book was due back at the library, and being that Halloween will soon be here and gone, I decided it wasn't worth renewing. Next year I may pick up where I left off, though.

On the whole, the stories weren't all that great. I was looking for something that would make me get nostalgic about childhood Halloweens (in the tradition of Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree ), but didn't find much that could fulfill that request--not even in the non-fict
...more
Holly the Infinite Book Dragon
I think of Halloween as a season which begins as soon as fall is in the air and ends when the leaves are gone from the trees, or after October 31st.

What a deliciously nostalgic, fun Halloween anthology! I enjoyed the memories, history, literature & film essays interspersed with the short stories. It was a nice touch! There were some surprisingly somber moments within (Ed Gorman's "October!" immediately comes to mind), as well as your typical, enjoyable scary story (Lewis Shiner's "The Circle
...more
Kala
Jul 02, 2012 Kala rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book, I pull it out every October and read at least a few of the stories. Perfect for getting into the Halloween mood!
Stacy
Nov 04, 2011 Stacy rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Okay so it took me all month to get thru 660 pages but it is the best collection of Halloween fiction I have ever read!
Dawn
Mar 08, 2012 Dawn rated it it was amazing
love this, we get it out again every fall:)
Kirsten
This is a nicely atmospheric, if uneven, collection of Halloween-themed stories. There are some classics here, like "Heavy Set" by Ray Bradbury, and a lot of stories I hadn't read before. I think one of the reasons I ended up not being particularly thrilled with the collection is that it's HUGE and after a while the themes start to get really repetitive. I also was not a big fan of the "My Favorite Halloween Memory" sections, which were short essays from horror writers about Halloween. Some of t ...more
Holly
Sep 07, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing
This book is a lovely holiday companion piece.

I am a seasonal reader. When the days become noticeably shorter, usually August here in my hometown, I start reading material of a supernatural, horrific type. This goes on until after Halloween, through the dark days of the winter solstice. After the solstice my head turns towards all those lovely floor plans, both the Victorian kind published by Downing, Sloan and Bicknell as well as all the more recent floor plans available online.

This is an essen
...more
Greg Kerestan
Jan 25, 2016 Greg Kerestan rated it it was amazing
This one is essential. There are so few genuinely notable Halloween-themed anthologies, and the ones that exist are often rather light on good material. Thankfully, this one collects just about everything you could ask for in one volume (and I hear there's a Volume Two now!), with "Eyes" being the story that has haunted me the longest.
Therese
Oct 24, 2015 Therese rated it it was ok
To be perfectly honest, this was a disappointment. The stories ranged from way to creepy (but not scary) to macabre and just ugh. I was hoping to be pleasantly scared and reminded of what a fun time halloween is. Instead I was more than a little creeped out (and my creep factor is strong since I watch a lot of Criminal Minds) and just plain disgusted by some of the stories. Do not recommend.
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Excellent book of scary stories by some great authors.
Perfect book for to read this month.
Denise
Oct 28, 2015 Denise rated it really liked it
A very good anthology of Halloween themed stories. I couldn't get it on Kindle, so purchased a used copy from another vendor. I rank this as equally good as "Halloween," edited and curated by the wonderful Paula Guran. What distinguishes "October Dreams" from other Halloween anthologies is the generous sprinkling of "My Favorite Halloween Memories," brief essays by acclaimed writers in the horror genre, and Paula Guran's "Brief History of Halloween." I'm looking forward to reading a second book ...more
Nick Miranda
Aug 03, 2011 Nick Miranda rated it liked it
This is probably one of my favorite collections of horror and dark fiction. It takes some of the best genre authors currently publishing (or who have ever been published) and asks them “What is Halloween?”



The book also has some interesting non-fiction retrospectives on the holiday, including some first-hand experiences of terror. And like any good collection, there is never a single story that jumps out as being the best. But trust me, as October gets closer and closer, the power of these tales
...more
Noah
Nov 02, 2015 Noah rated it liked it
Very mixed bag... some great, some disappointing... just like Halloween.
Daniel DeLappe
Oct 21, 2015 Daniel DeLappe rated it liked it
I throughly enjoyed this anthology. A great line up of writers ( F Paul Wilson and Koontz stand out). Ed Gorman's memory was very memorable. Cemetery Dance always puts out quality product.
Beverly
Oct 22, 2015 Beverly rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
I started reading this collection a couple of years ago. Decided I would pick it up again this year and read a few more stories for Halloween . I have skipped several stories. A few of the stories are okay but so many are too disturbing and bizarre for my taste. I did enjoy most of the personal Halloween experiences titled "My Favorite Halloween Memory." Unless you are into horror stories I would not read this except for these personal experiences.
Mollie *scoutrmom*
Oct 20, 2010 Mollie *scoutrmom* rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of horror and of halloween
I requested this book from the public library because it filled a spot in a reading challenge in which I am participating: "Something with Ten or October in the title or theme."

There were some very unsettling horror short stories in here, but I really liked the nonfiction Memories of Halloween many authors submitted. I rated it low because I don't like horror.
Brittany Z
Nov 01, 2015 Brittany Z rated it liked it
I didn't read the book in it's entirety because its like 650 pages long and I got it late for Halloween. I read about a third of the stories. Most of them weren't too great--nothing too noteworthy. I liked Ray Bradbury's Heavy Set the best. Regardless, it will still get you in the Halloween spirit and their are many stories to pick and choose from.
Steven
Rereading snippets of this book for the season reminded me how solid and informative an anthology collection can be. The jewels in this book are various authors' recollections of their personal Halloween stories, in addition to many great horror tales. Highly recommended, whether this edition or the later reprint editions not put out by Cemetery Dance.
J.T. Therrien
Aug 23, 2013 J.T. Therrien rated it did not like it
October Dreams is a large collection of dated Halloween short stories. Most are forgettable, as are the authors' reflections on their own childhood Halloweens. The only spooky story is Peter Straub's novella at the very end, "Porkpie Hat".

Read Straub's story and move on to something better, is my suggestion.
Jaime
May 28, 2008 Jaime rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is THE best book to read in October. I bought this collection around the beginning of October a couple years ago and it took me the better part of the month to read it. I don't think there were any stories I didn't enjoy, but the Straub story, "Pork Pie Hat", makes this worth it. Fantastic collection.
Austin
Nov 22, 2013 Austin rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
This book is a myriad collection of short stories, ghost stories, and simply tasteful arrangements of literature that help paint a nice fall bouquet to get you in the mood for Halloween. Some stories and authors are better than others, but it is a nice book to break out every so many years during Halloween.
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Halloween lovers... 1 13 Aug 03, 2009 01:22PM  
Halloween lovers... 1 6 Aug 03, 2009 01:21PM  
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In 1988, Richard Chizmar founded Cemetery Dance Publications, a specialty press publisher of horror and dark suspense. CDP is comprised of a book imprint, a magazine Cemetery Dance, a comic book series Grave Tales, a newsletter Cemetery Dance, and an website with an online store, at www.cemeterydance.com.
More about Richard Chizmar...

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