Halloween may as well be the seasonal celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community. As the season when all things different, monstrous, and—yes—queer, are embraced, it’s often one of the few times a year when those who are seen as monsters feel free to take on that mantle proudly as a way to stand up against the weight of cisheteronormativity and bigotry.
In fact, it’s all but impossible to separate the queer context of Halloween media from the content itself, as it was those seeking to represent their desires and identity who created many of the seasonal favorites that we’ve come to love and fear.
With that in mind, it’s the perfect time to dive in to some of the monstrous, magical, and mythological queerness as depicted by incredible LGBTQIA+ visual novel developers telling their stories, some of which are currently available Queer Halloween Stories 2022 bundle on itch.io. And while these stories themselves for the most part may not be Halloween-themed, you can be sure it’s not only the skeletons who will be coming out of the closet.
So light that rainbow pumpkin lantern and grab your candy bucket, it’s time to go trick or treating the gay way. And be sure to check those content warnings, it can be scary out there.
Bundle Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android (itch.io)
Price: US $20
My copy of the Queer Halloween Stories Bundle was received for free
Lotus: The Self-Made Witch by tofurocks
Like picking through a bag of jellybeans in the dark, you never quite know what flavor Lotus: The Self-Made Witch is going to give you when you play. It’s your final day at the magic academy and it’s time to make one last potion before you can graduate, and of course, you’re working alongside a fellow student who might need your help if they are to pass. Whether they want your help or not.
Lotus is a great bite-sized mix of potion crafting and subtle conversation that will either lead to you both graduating, or any possible friendship going up in smoke.
The Life We’ve Chosen by Cryoslight
Like the bitterest of dark chocolate, there is something to The Life We’ve Chosen that makes it perfect. A short, emotional journey about dealing with demons, those without and within. Maybe those demons aren’t something to be scared of, but to be welcomed and embraced as part of yourself.
Heavily atmospheric, an experience both of metaphor and reality, every bite is one you aren’t likely to forget.
The Morning Star by Star☆Cadets
A liminal space, between realities, is the setting for this story of discovery. The taste of a memory on your lips and an unknown face guiding you back to the real world. The protagonist awakens at the side of an empty road, with no memory of where they are or how they got there. An intentional situation, or perhaps one outside of their making.
The Morning Star is pensive, gentle, but entirely otherworldly: every element familiar but somehow different, like you’re walking through unknown streets at night, uncertain of which doors to knock at.
Were|House by Sad Ghost Studios
Recruited by a trio of mischievous monsters to manage a haunted house, Were|House has you choosing to work alongside a playful werewolf, backstage with a gorgeous gorgon, or helping a classy kelpie with the horrors of human resources, in an effort to set up the most popular Halloween experience around.
Funny and as sweet as can be, Were|House is a truly charming story for all the monster lovers out there. The work may be hard, but you might end up getting close to one of these supernatural sweethearts, and that will be worth it to get this WereHouse up and running on time.
Distortion Nation by TangledVirus
Beautiful and sad, Distortion Nation, like much of TangledVirus’ work, covers trauma in a confronting way that’s impossible to ignore. Hearkening back to the true connection between queerness and horror, as a means of survival, this is one supernatural story I highly recommend you read the content warnings for first , but if you choose to experience this powerful short piece, it may be just the catharsis you need this season.
ZAGS: The Role We Play by bobcgames
For anyone familiar with the the YAGS universe by bobcgames, the characters in ZAGS: The Role We Play will be easily recognizable, but this stand-alone game is a candy of a very different flavor. Being both a visual novel and turn-based RPG is something previously unseen to me from this engine, proving once again that Ren’Py has plenty of Halloween tricks of its own, and that we should never underestimate those who use it to tell stories.
While only a demo at the moment, introducing the characters and mechanics, The Role We Play looks to be like all of the bobcgames’ games, a true delight and utterly gay in the best way.