Out of nowhere last weekend I got onto on a Thomas Ligotti kick. Ligotti is one of those obscure but highly-praised writers of horror, frequently compared with Poe and Lovecraft but possessed of his own distinctive voice.
In keeping with the theme of the thread, I'll mention Ligotti's two stories that are set at Halloween. "Alice's Last Adventure" is the narrative of an elderly children's fiction writer. The past year of her life has been odd. Strange things have been happening. Nothing big enough to be truly alarming, but there are these strange... inversions, moments that seem to be building to something but don't. Ligotti manages to make these trivial occurrences quite unsettling, and the story builds to a grim crescendo.
The other Halloween story, "Conversations in a Dead Language," deals with several successive Halloweens in the life of a solitary young man with an unpleasant past. It's difficult to say more about the plot without giving the story away, but it combines unpleasant real-world horrors and the supernatural in a way that is both satisfying and disturbing.
"Alice's Last Adventure" is available in The Shadow at the Bottom of the World
, a nice sampler of Ligotti's work. "Conversations in a Dead Language" is probably most easily found in October Dreams
, a Halloween-themed collection originally published by Cemetery Dance.