Halloween 2020 Recommendations

I have previously received PR products (free review copies) from Penguin and HarperCollins. Any books published by either company will be marked [PR relationship]. This is based on the edition I own/read.

Happy spooky season! Today’s post is going to be a little bit different to normal. I’m going to be talking about some spooky recommendations! We’re talking books, films, activities, food… Let’s get going!

Books
As this is primarily a book blog in my eyes, I have to start with books. Some of these are recent reads, some of them are ones I read a while ago. Some of them are spooky classics, and some are more ~gothic vibes~ that I feel are appropriate for Halloween.

[PR relationship] Dracula – Bram Stoker. Kicking off the list with an absolute classic. I know everyone will have heard of this, but if you’ve not read the original then I definitely recommend you do to see where the legend comes from!

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley. Again, a CLASSIC of spooky literature! I was so impressed by this when I read it for university, and I totally recommend it. It’s really accessible by classics standards so don’t worry if you’re not used to reading classic literature because it’s definitely on the more accessible end.

[PR relationship] The Secret History – Donna Tartt. There’s an obsession with ‘dark academia’ on book twitter right now, and if you’re into that trend but haven’t yet picked up The Secret History, you absolutely have to. It’s a more adult book, though, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone under 16, and if you’re 16-18 use your own discretion before picking it up because it does address some fairly adult topics.

Rebecca – Daphne DuMaurier. This one is fairly classic, but also a little bit less known than Dracula and Frankenstein. It’s gothic, not horror or sci-fi, but it definitely gives off those Halloween, gothic, dark vibes.

[PR relationship] Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte. Ending with another gothic classic. I found this one a bit less accessible than the others on the list because of the complicated family trees and the frankly indecipherable Yorkshire dialect (even my Yorkshire boyfriend agrees — it’s not easy to comprehend!). However, it’s a really gripping gothic story that I’d recommend to anyone!

Film/TV
Again, there’s going to be a bit of diversity here: some family content, and some adult content for those of you out there who love jumpscares and a bit of gore. Fair warning though — I don’t like traditional horror movies so for the more seasoned spooky fans out there, this selection might not be for you!

The X Files. Starting with a classic TV show that I’m currently watching and really enjoying! There’s loads of seasons so you can get really into it, and so far the episodes are all really gripping. Some are definitely scarier than others for me because there’s so much diversity in what the show covers that it’s bound to hit upon one of your personal fears at some point.

Doctor Who. Definitely one for the whole family to enjoy, this isn’t truly Halloween-y or spooky, but it’s got aliens and sci-fi and some of the episodes deal with classic Halloween spooks like ghosts and werewolves, so it’s definitely worth considering! Plus, the Daleks have achieved legendary Halloween-level status if you ask me.

Hannibal. I’m talking about the TV series starring Mads Mikkelsen in the title role here. Definitely NOT family viewing, but brilliantly clever and horror-inducing. I personally didn’t really enjoy season 3 as much as 1 and 2, but by that point I was too enthralled by the characters to stop watching.

Alien. Moving onto films, and again, one that’s not family viewing. I was lucky enough to see Alien in cinemas when it was screened for its 40th anniversary. Despite being 40 years old, it really holds up and is definitely still worth watching now. The alien itself looks so good for the time, and it’s definitely a sci-fi classic.

The Addams Family. This is where I admit that I’ve really not seen many Halloween movies and jump straight to the fun, family friendly ‘spooky’ films. I watched The Addams Family for the first time recently and really loved it! It is kooky, and a bit silly, and not very scary at all, but it was a really fun watch.

Ghostbusters. So this could be the original, the sequel, or the 2016 remake because I enjoyed all three! Please nobody in the comments slander the 2016 version because I do adore it. The originals are pretty sexist, but they’re a product of their time, so I take it with a pinch of salt, but just something to be aware of especially if you’re watching with younger people.

Activities
Trick-or-treating is sort of out this year, so I thought I’d make some suggestions for safe, fun, family activities that can help you get in the spirit (get it???)

Pumpkin picking and carving. Take your pumpkin fun to the next level by going to a Pick Your Own patch if there’s one nearby. If not, your local supermarket can save you. If you want to get serious, you can get proper carving tools, print out stencils and recreate your favourite characters. If you don’t want to get serious, then a pencil to draw your design on and a kitchen knife will do the job. Maybe do a family competition to see who can make the best pumpkin face!

Sweetie treasure hunt. Just because kids can’t do trick-or-treating properly this year doesn’t mean they have to lose out on the sweets! Hide some around your house and send them off to find them. You could put them in random places around the house or, if you’re concerned about finding a melted chocolate under your pillow the next morning, try having a series of clues that lead the kids to the final location with all the sweets instead!

Apple bobbing. I have no clue why this is Halloween-y, but it happened at like every Halloween party I went to as a kid so get a washing up bowl full of water and a bag of apples, and get bobbing!

Murder mystery game! This is a bit harder to do when we can’t mix houses, but I’m sure there’s a way to do a virtual murder mystery with friends. You can all dress up as your characters and have a good laugh from the safety of your own living rooms.

Spooky baking. Some ideas for what you might like to bake below, but this is a really fun activity for families, as well as adults on their own! If you have young children, get them involved decorating! Older children can get more involved in the actual making of the goodies as well.

Food

Pumpkin cake. I made a vegan pumpkin cake (recipe here), and it worked so well! I didn’t use the icing recipe provided here though, I made my own from vegan butter-like spread, icing sugar and ground sweet cinnamon. Make sure you get an edible pumpkin if you opt to make your own puree though.

Cobweb cookies. Use any cookie/biscuit recipe you like, and then decorate with white writing icing in a cobweb pattern. Bonus points for adding a little spider in the middle!

Ghost cupcakes. I’ve seen some super cute ones and I’m not 100% sure how they’re made, but I think it would work if you stuck a marshmallow to the top of a cupcake (again, any cupcake recipe you like) with some plain icing, and then covered the marshmallow with a rectangle of royal icing to form the sheet-like appearance. A couple of blobs of black writing icing for eyes and you have yourself a tiny ghost cake!

Squash soup. Bit of a deviation from the baking side, but squash is such a classic autumn ingredient. This isn’t really spooky, but it’s certainly autumnal. I like butternut squash and sweet potato soup. I fry a chopped onion in a little bit of oil until it goes soft, then add chopped butternut squash (half a squash) and sweet potato (2-3 potatoes depending on size), along with about 1.5 pints of vegetable stock, or enough to cover all the vegetables. Simmer for about half an hour, or until the squash and potato are soft. Season (I like a bit of chilli flakes, some paprika and a bit of ginger), and blend. It should make about 4 portions, and you can freeze it, or it keeps in the fridge for a few days.

I hope this list offered some inspiration for you! Let me know what you’re doing to celebrate Halloween this year in the comments.

17 thoughts on “Halloween 2020 Recommendations

    • Thank you! I want to watch the new Rebecca soon but I’ve heard some not good things from a few people!! You’re the first person I’ve seen who’s said they enjoyed it!!! It gives me some hope maybe I’ll like it though so fingers crossed

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s a film rather than a show, but yeah! I’ve heard it’s not that great sadly 😓 there’s also a Hitchcock adaptation from a while ago that is fairly well regarded though!

      Like

  1. I was so happy to see that you included Dracula. That’s my favourite book of ALL time. I reread it every 2-3 years or so, because I just can’t get enough of it. There’s something about it that draws me in and I get completely lost in the story every time (even though I obviously know what’s going to happen lol)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really liked it too! I’ve only read it once, but I can definitely see myself rereading it in future.

      Like

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