I love a good laugh, especially if it’s satire or a spoof. So I enjoy riffs on scary stories. Fun Phantoms is a short story collection of funny ghost stories. They aren’t scary, but they do turn a lot of the conventions of the horror story on their heads.
My favorites are:
“The Night the Ghost Got In” by James Thurber. The ghost is only the beginning of the family’s problems that night.
“The Water Ghost” by John Kendrick Bangs. The heir of Harrowby Hall decides to end his family’s Christmas Eve curse.
“The Open Window” by Saki. Like many of Saki’s stories, this has a hysterical twist at the end. I have been thinking up ways to rewrite this story in a contemporary setting.
“To Starch a Spook” by Andrew Benedict. Teen ghostbusters go into action to help the girl’s father, who is supposed to work on a house crawling with ghosts.
And for kids
The Best Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson. I don’t think this book is nearly as good as her first, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. But my kids enjoyed it when we read it out loud. And while the plot has huge gaps, the narration by Beth is entertaining as usual.