Halloween Edition: Some favorite spooky stories

This started out as a blog post about paranormal romance, but it devolved into a list of some of my favorite things, some of which have nothing to do with romance. In celebration of the Best Holiday Ever, here’s a list of some spooky stuff.

The PsyCop Series from Jordan Castillo-Price

This series got me hooked into the paranormal, something I didn’t think I ever wanted to read. Castillo-Price’s main character, Vic, is a hot mess who does and says really dumb things sometimes, yet you can’t help falling in love with him. And he falls in love with the handsome Jacob, who is much more put together. Over the course of the series, Vic learns to channel his psychic powers to help solve crimes and conspiracies. I won’t lie to you. I think I was initially drawn to the cover of the first book because the model for Vic reminded me of Liam Gallagher from Oasis (though actually on later book covers, it’s clear he doesn’t at all). I read seven PsyCop books, but apparently JCP has been hard at work adding to the series since then.

You can read summaries of each book on JCP’s main website, starting with the first installment, Among the Living.

The Julius House: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery

Before you send me your hate mail, I will acknowledge that Candace Cameron Bure is a complicated star from the perspective of LGBTQ people. That being said, she has perfect hair, and although the romance in this movie is secondary to the murder mystery and it’s with a heterosexual couple, this is my favorite from the Aurora Teagarden series on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Probably because I’m envious of her perfect hair.

Even in a ponytail.

In this movie, single Aurora buys an old farmhouse on the outskirts of town. I admire her tenacity. She’s got a boyfriend but doesn’t think she needs to wait for marriage to buy a home. She’s single and alone, but she doesn’t think that should stop her from living alone far from town. And she gets to renovate the farmhouse into her dream home, while rocking a perfectly highlighted and curled ponytail. It’s all going well until she finds a body behind the wall. Unfortunately, this isn’t available through the Hallmark Movies Now app, but the cable channel Hallmark Movies and Mysteries often has Aurora Teagarden marathons. Catch it next time they do!

The Monster Mash

“The Monster Mash” is hands-down the best Halloween song ever. Period. No equivocating.

If you’re not sold on why it belongs on a list of spooky stories, I would challenge you to reconsider the brilliant lyrics. “The Monster Mash” isn’t a mindless holiday song. It’s the story of a scientist whose creation exceeds even his own greatest belief, amidst a castle so full of ghoulies it could rival American Horror Story: Hotel. There are werewolves, vampires, and zombies all hanging out together in this song’s beautiful testament to diversity and plurality. When Dracula dares to challenge the group with a cheeky line (“Whatever happened to my Transylvanian twist?”), it’s a call-out to any originalist attitude that refuses to modernize with the times. Think of the song’s version of Dracula as a MAGA fifty years before the time. And what happens when he raises this protest? Drac’s folded into the group. He accepts the fun of the new dance, the more inclusive monster mash, and the group accepts Drac as part of them, too. It’s a deeply political message about not clinging to the past and not judging others. I think we have written off this song as a simplistic children’s Halloween song for far too long – when it’s far more meaningful than any Christmas song about jingling bells and melting snowmen. (Okay, the one about the outcast reindeer who becomes appreciated for his different abilities is still different.)

If my take on “The Monster Mash” has sold you, may I recommend watching this music video version featuring the characters from Groovie Ghoulies, an animated children’s show that originally aired from 1970-71. Much like my take on the classic Halloween song, the television series was about a group of relatively harmless monsters all living in harmony together. The animation is adorable. The dancing is terrible. And you’ll want to be part of the fun. Fortunately, as the last few lines of the song remind us, the mash was meant for us, the living, too.

Have a safe and happy Halloween, kids! See you next week!

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