Get spooky this Halloween with ANU Library

23 Oct 2023

Happy spooky season! Halloween originated as a Celtic pagan celebration of the new year, called Samhain, when people would welcome the harvest and usher in “the dark half of the year”, that is, winter. The Celts believe that the barriers between the physical world and the spirit world break down during Samhain, allowing more interaction between humans and denizens of the Otherworld.

Whether you love Halloween and embrace the opportunity to dress up, eat lollies and binge scary films and books, or you just like a bit of horror, gothic, or science fiction, we have some great reading – and viewing – suggestions for you this October! 


Check out these spectacularly spooky titles for Halloween!


Dracula – Bram Stoker 

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

The Telltale Heart and Other Stories – Edgar Allen Poe

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James 



Halloween: from pagan ritual to party night – Nicholas Rogers

The curse of the werewolf: fantasy, horror and the beast within – Chantal Bourgu Du Coudray

The Horror Film – Stephen Prince

Twenty-first-century children's gothic : from the wanderer to nomadic subject – Chloe Buckley

Witches and Wicked Bodies – Deanna Petherbridge



The Exorcist (1973)

The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

The Mummy (1932)

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

The Shining (1980)



Monster Book Club; or, Monster Mythologies in Young Adult Literature: A Digital Ethnography – Kathleen Kellett

Re-Historicizing the Female Gothic – Natalie Schuler Evers

Queering Witches: A Queer Feminist Exploration of Witches in Media – Kaitlyn Gael Ricks

'Three Types of Terror.' A Critical Study Into How Stephen King Elicits Terror, Horror and Revulsion in the Novel It – John Morris

Watching Monsters: The Horror of Racialized Monsters, Disabled Monsters, and Gender Nonconforming Monsters in Embodied Gothic Horror Films – Jaynelle Nixon


Fun facts:

The tradition of wearing scary costumes for Halloween comes from the Celtic festival Samhain, when the Celts donned disguises so that any spirits they encountered would leave them alone.

Likewise, the displaying of jack-o-lanterns is intended to scare away any ill-meaning spirits! But did you know that pumpkins are classified as a fruit, not as a vegetable?!