Author: Sherry Helms
“When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, ‘tis near Halloween.”
High autumn is the season of chilly long nights, spooky costumes, and frightening stories! Zombies, witches, ghouls and goblins all appear in good time for All Hallow’s Eve, and remain in the ascendant until Christmas Eve. It is the time of the year to sink your teeth in a book guaranteed to give you the shivers- or at least make you check under the bed before you go to sleep at night.
Here, for your terrifying pleasure, our editorial team picked 10 spine-chilling titles both contemporary and classic, adult and teens to get you in the spooky spirit. These delightfully gruesome books are divided according to age groups so people of all ages can enjoy this scary festival.
Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry: If you are looking for a really gory story this Halloween then this second book in the Benny Imura adventure series by New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Macberry should be on your list. This non-stop action sequel of Rot & Ruin picks up six months after the end of terrifying battle of Benny Imura with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested world. Now, after months of meticulous training Benny was back at home with Nix. They also brought back Benny’s best friend Lou Chong and Lilah the Lost Girl. But there was a dreadful zombie attack in the town before they go out. They encounter with lots of wild animals, living dead, insane killers once they enter into the Rot & Ruin.
Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist: This spine tingling novel by the master philosopher of horror genre will make you jump a little bit in your seat. A series of freak occurrences in the capital of Sweden, Stockholm, -power grid has gone crazy, electric appliances won’t stay switched off and mass headaches – omens the “awakening”. In the city morgue and in cemeteries, the newly deceased are waking up and they want to come home. The scary and vivid graphic description of the effects of decay on the human body will sear into your mind.
The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan: A riveting conclusion to the New York Times best-selling vampire trilogy, The Night Eternal is a perfect book to indulge in around Halloween. This stunning and frightening vampire saga will appeal to even the most reluctant of readers. The novel starts two years after the vampiric virus smashed the world and a massive nuclear attack leaves the earth into constant darkness, poisoned and under heel. An exterminator, a scientist and a former gangbanger decides to disrupt and destroy the vampire new world order. You can’t put it down once you start reading this final installment of The Strain Trilogy.
In Thunder Bay, Anna, who was murdered 60 years ago and a curse was placed upon her that kept her forever locked inside the house where she died, rips apart anyone who enters her house- except Cas Lowood, a 17-year old who kills the evil spirits with his late father’s athame knife. This thrilling and chilling ghost story will keep you up all night turning the pages. A super fun and scary ride that you won’t regret.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar by Ransom Riggs: If you are looking for a good creepy book to read, this spine-tingling fantasy novel is definitely for you. Chock-full of mystery and suspense, this spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography will delight the adults as well as teens alike. As the unforgettable story opens, a shocking family tragedy sets a 16-year-old kid; Jacob sets out on a journey to the remote Welsh island, where he finds the kids from the photographs alive despite the islanders’ assertion that all were killed decades ago.
For Teens, Pre-Teens & YA fans
Summer of Night by Dan Simmons: Feel the chill of the Halloween night with this outstandingly scary story about a group of young boys who experience a summer of terror. This masterfully crafted horror classic by Hugo Award-winning novelist Simmons will bring you to the edge of your seat and raise the hair on the back of your neck. Set in 1960s small-town America, this is the horrific tale of five pre-teen boys, in uneasy partnership with an outcast girl, stalked by a monster. The group of kids understands that they must kill that ghoulish, timeless monstrosity before it devours them, their friends, and probably the world.
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury: This breathtaking book is to Halloween what Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol is to Christmas. A fast-paced, creepy story set on the backdrop of Halloween night, tells the tale of mysterious, sinister skeletal Mr. Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud who guides eight boys into a journey to the past. The adventure to distant lands from ancient Egypt to celtic druids, to Paris, this book will bring you shivers of fear on the dark Halloween night. You just can’t miss this uniquely gothic, heart pounding and uplifting story by the horror author Ray Bradbury on the occasion of Halloween that will take you to the wildly imaginative journey.
Ronald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories by Ronald Dahl: Roald Dahl (1916-1990) is basically known for his amazing, though often dark, children’s novels. Yet he wrote several maliciously funny short ghost stories for youngsters and adults. When Dahl compiled this anthology, he read more than 749 horror tales from a group of ghost storytellers at the British Museum Library, and from those he chose 14 of the spookiest. This 1983 compilation of short ghost stories not only includes acknowledged classics by the celebrated ghost story writers such as Edith Warton, E.F. Benson, and Sheridan Le Fanu but also tales by lesser-known authors like A. M. Burrage, Jonas Lie, and L.P. Hartley. This anthology of short ghoulish stories will give you the creeps and disturb your thoughts.
For the Middle Grades & Little Ones
The 13 Nights of Halloween by Guy Vasilovich: This clever, creative and creepy picture book by debut author-illustrator is sure to encourage the children to start the creepy countdown to Halloween. On the first night of Halloween, a little witch-girl receives a bright, shiny Skelton key from her mother. And for each of the 13 nights leading up to the big night, her mother gives amusingly creepy gifts. The gifts include everything from demons dancing to icky eyeballs to singing skulls. There is everything from ghoulish giggles to the little risk of getting up again in the mid of the night lasting trauma for kids.
Half-Minute Horrors by Susan Rich: How scared can you get in just thirty seconds? Find out in Half-Minute Horrors. Featuring a who’s who of authors and artists (James Patterson, Avi, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem, Lauren Myracle, Michael Connelley, Francine Prose and many more, this amazing book is the compilation of more than seventy instant thrills that range from darkly humorous to monstrous to morbid. This is an ideal book for every child who disdains fiction starring happy puppies or home-run heroes.
Hope this list will help you to pick a creepy Halloween book. You can add your scary favorites in the comments.