Review: Haunted Nights by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton

Sixteen never-before-published chilling tales that explore every aspect of our darkest holiday, Halloween, co-edited by Ellen Datlow, one of the most successful and respected genre editors, and Lisa Morton, a leading authority on Halloween.
In addition to stories about scheming jack-o’-lanterns, vengeful ghosts, otherworldly changelings, disturbingly realistic haunted attractions, masks that cover terrifying faces, murderous urban legends, parties gone bad, cult Halloween movies, and trick or treating in the future, Haunted Nights also offers terrifying and mind-bending explorations of related holidays like All Souls’ Day, Dia de los Muertos, and Devil’s Night.

Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton. A Halloween anthology of 16 new short stories. Published by Anchor Books in October 2017. 352 pages. Triggers: child death, suicide.

-With Graveyard Weeds and Wolfbane Seeds by Seanan McGuire
-Dirtmouth by Stephen Graham Jones
-A Small Taste of the Old Countr by Jonathan Maberry
-Wick’s End by Joanna Parypinski
-The Seventeen Year Itch by Garth Nix
-A Flicker of Light on Devil’s Night by Kate Jonez
-Witch-Hazel by Jeffrey Ford
-Nos Galen Gaeaf by Kelley Armstrong
-We’re Never Inviting Amber Again by S. P. Miskowski
-Sisters by Brian Evenson
-All Through the Night by Elise Forier Edie
-A Kingdom of Sugar Skulls and Marigolds by Eric J. Guignard
-The Turn by Paul Kane
-Jack by Pat Cadigan
-Lost in the Dark by John Langan
-The First Lunar Halloween by John R. Little

I don’t normally read that many anthologies. It’s not that I don’t like short stories, or themed stories. My problem is that normally an anthology is very up and down. Some good, others…. well…. Usually only one or two stories really stand out and then the rest are normally meh to oh boy! And for me, sometimes running in to one dud of a story can really unmotivate me to finish the rest of the stories.

I was actually really happy with Haunted Nights. There was a lot to like with this book. First of all, our theme is the most epic holiday ever, Halloween! So right there, is a big thumbs upl. Second, I was pretty happy with almost all the stories in this book.

For me, almost all the stories were highly rated, 4 or 5 stars. Only a few of them were rated lower then that, and even then they weren’t terrible stories. Still entertaining in their own ways. Usually they were only rated lower because they weren’t my style or they were a little bit confusing about what exactly was going on. There were two I DNF (did not finish). One was just very boring and the other one was just not grabbing me at all.

Now, if you are looking for a uber scary horror anthology, this isn’t exactly it. There were a lot of tense moments, or even a few nice creepy moments. But not a ton of dark evil scares. Still a very enjoyable set of Halloween stories.

One of the best things about Haunted Nights, is that it had a nice diverse set of stories. There are lots of great folklore Halloween stories from all over the world and all over time. That was pretty cool.

Over all, I was pretty entertained. Not as scary as I had hoped, but still fun. Just some good old Halloween mischief. Only 2 stories out of the 16 that I didn’t really love, so that was pretty good.


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