The key here, of course, is that not all great October literature involves stories that take place in October.
When October rolls around, there are three obvious choices at the top of my list.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Stoker’s Dracula was certainly not the first literary vampire, but is undeniably the one that has had the greatest influence on modern vampire lore. Prior to Stoker’s telling of the tale, the vampire was a monstrous thing, but Stoker made the vampire a creature of (albeit bloodthirsty) romance. Without him, we don’t get Anne Rice’s vampires or, regrettably, Twilight. Bram, will brilliant, owes us a bit of an apology, doesn’t he?
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Shelley’s Frankenstein predates Dracula by almost 80 years. I hadn’t realized this until just now and I’m awed by it. Written during a rainy holiday near Lake Geneva in Switzerland, it is arguably one of the first instances of what we now term “science fiction.” If you haven’t read it, I would suggest trying to find a copy of the 1818 version rather than the more common, heavily-edited 1831 publication.
Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow
For all of you ‘Merricuns, Irving’s book of short stories offers a glimpse into early-American life and are some of few pieces of literature from that period still in print. And how can you not be scared of the Headless Horseman.
Speaking of the Headless Horeseman, I’ll just leave this here: