Review: Night of the Living Queers is all you’ll need this Halloween

Night of the Living Queers, edited by Shelly Page and Alex Brown. Image Courtesy of Wednesday Books
Night of the Living Queers, edited by Shelly Page and Alex Brown. Image Courtesy of Wednesday Books /

Even though I read Night of the Living Queers in the middle of August, I was surprised — even a bit disappointed — when I finished the last page, looked up, and realized it wasn’t October 31 yet.

The short story anthology — written by and about queer people of color — takes place entirely on Halloween. Regardless of your feelings about the holiday, it’s a night of living freely, of doing what makes you feel something, of being anything and everything you want to be. That’s the premise behind the book — that on Halloween, during a blue moon, anything is possible.

Each of these stories follows a central character searching for meaning and belonging, discovering not only who they want to be, but also unlocking who they’ve always been on the inside. What matters to them most? What they truly believe in.

There is nothing more relatable than a collection of stories about teenagers trying to figure out what they stand for. For QPOC readers, however, Night of the Living Queers yields the opportunity to feel seen and heard and understood. It’s emotional — and at points, genuinely terrifying (I forgot I’m terrified of clowns until I read this). It speaks to the real lived experiences of both its characters and the authors bringing them to life.

You’ll feel afraid, perhaps worn down at points when things get heavy. But you’ll also smile and laugh. The warmth of a budding romance or strengthening familial or friendly bond will fill the hardened crevices in your soul. The greatest achievement of this book is that it tugs at your heart exactly when and how it’s supposed to. These stories exist because queer people of color exist. If you take nothing else away from this experience, be mindful that one of the overarching morals of these stories is: Joy is attainable. Everyone deserves to experience life to its fullest. And no one should ever be prevented from seeking joy even in times of uncertainty and sorrow.

Also: Don’t mess with Ouija boards. Just don’t do it. Why does everyone keep doing it? Stop it!

It’s now Halloween yet. But it will be soon. And what better way to celebrate than a handful of stories you’ll want to dive into again and again all year long?

Night of the Living Queers is available now wherever you get your books.

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