Watch this video on spooky books to read in October plus other bookish videos on my booktube channel.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Oh, how I love Halloween and all things spooky!
Here are some of my favorite spooky books. They aren’t new. In fact, some of them are pretty darn old. But boy are they good and spooky.
I’m singling out Nos4a2, but really any Joe Hill book is a solid bet. But this one features a man with pointy teeth, a messed-up supermom, a very fat and loving dad, children who lose their teeth, a magical car, and a Christmasland of evil.
Nope, I’ll never be able to do it justice. Just read it. Every word. I mean it, but I won’t tell you why. Read. Every. Word.
This is a gold standard, so I’m not letting you in on any dark secrets with this one. Everyone and their cats have seen the Stanley Kubrick movie version of this book, and with good reason. It’s brilliant.
But the book offers different shades you’ll miss by watching the movie alone. Read the book, too, and meet an almost new set of characters.
This novella was written a long time ago; a different era and a different writing style. Don’t come here looking or jump scares or explicit violence. Do come here for a steadily growing sense of foreboding that turns into terror.
Much of the suspense here is in wondering whether the people themselves are going crazy, or there actually is something going on in those willows. Read it free here courtesy of Project Gutenberg.
OK, I’m getting into sentimental territory here – the rest of these books have personal significance to me. But trust me when I say that they are indeed terrifying, too!
This was the first Dean Koontz book I read, way back in 8th grade. I overheard my English teacher recommending it to another student, checked it out, and was hooked. Dean Koontz books often have a hero who is pure of heart, a nemesis who is pure evil, supernatural elements, and the triumph of the human spirit.
Joan Lowery Nixon and Lois Duncan were favorite authors of my childhood. Their books kept me RIVETED and made a lifelong reader out of me.
The House on Hackman’s Hill in particular was deliciously scary. I read it as a kid, late at night when visiting my Grandma. The fluorescent bedside lamp buzzed with dim blue light. Grandma’s house was utterly quiet. My little kid terror was palpable.
This is another older book and another goodie. A young, naive wife marries Max de Winter, a man some 20 years her senior. Manderley, his manor, is splendiferous. Sprawling, fully-staffed, and possibly haunted by the ghost of Max’s dead first wife, Rebecca.
It’s hard enough living under the disapproving gaze of the maid, but trying to live up to the lady of the manor’s indomitable legend? It’s perhaps an ask too big.
These spooky stories will get you started, but it’s not at all a definitive list. There are lots of excellent scary books. The Troop by Nick Cutter, Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, The Girl with All the Gifts by MR Carey…sooooo many and I’ve barely scratched the surface.
Got any additions? Drop them here!