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I love Halloween and all things scary. Like, I’m obsessed. I even listen to Halloween music year-round. I decided that I need to start reading more scary books and wanted to share them with you as well. These are some awesome spooky, creepy, and downright scary books to read this October to get you ready for Halloween. This is the first book list that I’ve actually read quite a few of and I’ll be working my way through the others, or as many of them as I can, over the next few weeks.
You’ll find a mix of scary books for adults, creepy YA books, and no Stephen King, but his son Joe Hill does make two appearances. I would love to know the scariest book you’ve ever read or if you have other suggestions to add! I would also advise reading all of these at night with spooky background music and minimal lighting.
This Dean Koontz novel was the first book I think that really scared me, like up all night freaked out. Alex and Colin are driving from Philadelphia to San Fransisco, their new home, where Courtney would be waiting for them. Soon they notice a van following them. He knows their route, their stops, and even their destination.
Judas Coyne is an aging, self-absorbed rockstar with an interest in the macabre, including a collection of serial killer memorabilia. Soon, his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an auction site where he immediately buts in a bid. He receives the suit and vengeance of the dead mand in a black heart-shaped box. It turns out he just bought the ghost of the stepfather of a former groupie that killed herself after he used her and threw her away. The ghost is out to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him as he begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.
While I wasn’t kept up all night by NOS4A2, I did think it was sufficiently creepy. Victoria McQueen hops on her Raleigh Tuff Turner bike, making her way to a rickety covered bridge that will take her wherever she needs to go to find lost things, whether it’s across town or across the country. Charles Talent Manx drives a 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith that can take him out of the everyday world and onto the hidden roads leading to the terrifying place he calls Christmasland. One day Vic is out looking for trouble when she finds Manx, but that was a long time ago. Vic was the only child to escape Manx’s evil and she is desperate to forget, even though Manx remembers her and now he has a new passenger: her son.
Felix Allsey is a travel writer with a unique and not so lucrative niche of haunted places. After a lot of hard work, he convinced the owner of the Rotterdam Mansion to let him stay for a haunting 13 nights after he convinced himself that this would be his big break. Soon, his oldest best friend Thomas joins him and the two avoid talking about a recent rough patch in their friendship before falling into their old dark humor rhythms. Soon things start going wrong when they hear screams and see figures around the house. Felix realizes his book, and his mind is tilting from nonfiction to true horror.
Ruth Carver is tough, ambitious, and some people even say ruthless. One day Ruth wakes up with a concussion in a pickup truck on her way to a remote cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her captor is out to punish bad girls like Ruth and he’s done it six times already. While they may have never been heard from again, Ruth won’t go down that easy. Soon she escapes and the chase is on. Ruth has to decide how far she will go to survive.
Paige is forced to move into a new house with her mom and brother in small-town Idaho after leaving LA. They’re renting an old mansion and weird things start happening: one can of ravioli becomes 12, unreadable words are appearing on walls, and Paige’s brother is roaming the house at night. Not to mention the downstairs neighbor who knows more than he’s letting on. Paige starts investigating and finds out a cult used to conduct ritual experiments in the house. This is a collection of letters, photographs, and journal entries all left behind in the harrowing aftermath.
Part psychological thriller, part supernatural horror, A Head Full of Ghosts is the story of the Barrett family. This normal New England family is torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie starts showing signs of acute schizophrenia. Her doctors can’t stop her descent into madness and soon their stable home is a house of horrors. Soon they turn to Father Wandeerly, the local priest, who suggests an exorcism. He also contacts a production company that is eager to film the family’s plight. The family agrees with a pile of medical bills after Marjorie’s father has been out of work for over a year. The Possession becomes a hit reality show that ends in tragedy and becomes the stuff of urban legends. 15 years later, Marjorie’s sister Merry is being interviewed about the events by a bestselling author when wee find out what really happened.
It’s been two decades since tragedy struck Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers, causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect is Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.” Kaitlyn’s diary is found in the ruins of the school and soon they reveal the dark thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister story of what happened that night and Kaitlyn is at the center of it, but Kaitly is Carly Johnson’s alter ego. Carly gets the day, Kaitlyn gets the night, and it’s at night when the mystery surrounding Dead House unravels.
Dan Crawford is a sixteen-year-old going to the New Hampshire College Prep program, the chance of a lifetime. Once he arrives for the summer program, he finds out the usual housing is closed so they’ll be living in Brookline Dorm, a former psychiatric hospital. Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, start exploring the dorm and uncovering the secrets of what really went on here in the asylum’s dark past.
Merricat is 18 and lives with her sister Constance and their invalid Uncle Julian on the Blackwood Estate, the only survivors of a massacre of poisoned sugar berries. The estate is isolated and Merricat only goes into town twice a week to get groceries and library books. Soon cousin Charles shows up and becomes Merricat’s nemesis. He tries to convince Constance, the recluse, to leave the estate and show him the combination to Merricat’s safe to steal her silver coins and get rid of her. Merricat decides she needs to get rid of cousin Charles, an evil demon, and soon the estate is burning to the ground.
Willow Jane doesn’t think anything is wrong when a bolt of lightning causes a Boston-wide blackout–until she begins stopping time and she comes face-to-face with her familiar and her sister disappears. These aren’t the only strange happenings, though. The Shadowless, an ancient witch, has been awakened and escaped from her crypt and now she’s seeking revenge on Willow Jane’s family.
This is a collection of spooky fairytale retellings in graphic novel form. There are five short stories in this that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you want to switch things up, this may be a great option for you.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters, father, and stepmother. There used to be twelve, but four of the girl’s lives were cut short, each death more tragic than the last, and the surrounding villagers think the family has been cursed by the gods. Annaleigh is disturbed by a series of ghostly visions making her suspicious that her sister’s deaths weren’t really accidents. Soon Annaleigh becomes involved with a mysterious stranger with secrets of his own. It’s a race to uncover the darkness that has fallen over her family before it claims her next.
Louisa Ditton escapes a harsh school where punishment is the lesson of the day and the seventeen-year-old is thrilled to get work as a maid at a boarding house. Not too long after she starts work at Coldthistle House, she finds out that Mr. Morningside, the mysterious owner, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff execute their own justice on those who are past being saved. Louisa becomes worried for Lee, a young man unlike the other guests, and it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment.
Marion is the newbie, Zoey, the pariah, and Val, the queen bee. Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock where horses graze in pastures, waves crash against cliffs, and kids whisper legends of an insidious monster. Girls have been disappearing for decades and these girls are ready to fight this evil.
The day after they moved in, Coraline started exploring their new home. It has twenty-one windows and fourteen doors, thirteen of which open. The fourteenth is locked with a brick wall on the other side until the day Coraline unlocked it and found a hallway to another flat in another house that looks just like theirs. Things seem great at first with better food, more toys, books with moving pictures, and chattering dinosaur skulls. Other Mother and Other Father want to keep her there. They want to change her and never let her go. Soon she finds other trapped children and she is their only hope of rescue.
Hendricks Becker-O’Malley’s parents said it was a clean slate when they moved to the small town of Drearfield, New York. She just wants to lay low and forget her traumatic past, but things don’t go quite as planned. She learns from new friends that Steele House, the new home her parents are so excited about, is notorious in town for being haunted. Is she being haunted by the ghosts of her past or of the present?
Sorrow Lovegood’s family takes pride in the odd history of the apple orchard in Vermont that was her whole world for the first eight years of her life, even though the Abrams family next door ridicule their habits. After a tragedy one winter night, Sorrow is forced to live with her father in Miami, away from the only home she’s ever known. Now sixteen, her memories of Vermont are hazy. She is determined to return and learn more about the troubled childhood she left eight years before. It turns out some of her questions have difficult and dangerous answers and there may be a price for asking.
Jack and Stephanie Singleton are on the verge of a divorce and find themselves lost on a deserted road in Alabama on their way to a counseling session. They follow a long dirt road from the advice of a highway patrolman when their tires are flattened by spikes in the road. Conveniently, they aren’t far from an old Victorian house in the backwoods being run as an inn by a strange family of three. They check-in and meet another couple, Randy and Leslie, that ended up there under the same strange circumstances. Things go downhill quickly when White, a serial killer, locks them in the house after the lights go out and tosses a can down the chimney with a message one it: unless they kill one of their own by dawn, he will kill them all.
Cas Lowood kills the dead. So did his father before he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he was out to kill. Now Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and spirit-sniffing cat, following legends and lore to destroy the murderous dead. The next hunt is a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood and he expects the usual: track, hunt, kill, but instead, he finds a girl entangled in curses and rage. She is wearing the dress she was murdered in and kills any and every person that steps foot in the Victorian she used to call home, except Cas.
Okiku is a lonely soul, freeing the spirits of the murdered dead, though it doesn’t bring her peace. Once a victim herself, she now takes the lives of killers with the vengeance they’re due. Soon she meets Tark, living with evil writing under his skin. His neighbors fear him, but she knows he isn’t evil. The malevolence that clings to him needs to be freed, but if the demon dies, so does the host.
Hanna is a sweet but silent seven-year-old, only understood by her father. Her mother, Suzette, stands in the way and she’ll try any trick she can to get rid of her, ideally for good. Suzette loves her daughter, but her sanity and health are declining day by day after years of explusion and strained homeschooling. She’s also becoming frightened by Hanna’s little games, while her husband Alex remains oblivious failing family dynamics. Suzette starts to fear there is a truly sinister agenda behind Hanna’s actions.
Tom Kennedy gives his son Jake a new start in Featherbank after the sudden death of his wife. Their new home has a dark past though, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents twenty years ago. Before Frank Carter was caught, he was called “The Whisper Man” because he lured victims out by whispering at their windows at night. Just as they get settled in, a young boy vanished under similar circumstances as Frank Carter’s crimes, bringing back old rumors that he worked with an accomplice. Detectives have to find the boy before it’s too late, but soon Jake starts acting weird, hearing a whispering at his window.
Four seekers arrive at a notoriously unfriendly house, Hill House. Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for evidence of a haunting; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman familiar with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay just seems to be spooky, but Hill House is gathering it’s powers to make one of them it’s own.
It’s 1926 and Evangeline O’Neill has been sent to New York City to live with her Uncle Will, who has an unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie is worried that he will find out about her secret supernatural power that has only brought trouble so far. Evie realizes her gift could help catch a killer when a girl is found murdered and branded with a cryptic symbol and he uncle is called in. She jumps into a dance with the murderer and unknown to all, something dark and evil has been awakened.
This YA horror anthology comes from some of the best YA authors. Each story draws from a classic tale or two (not always horror) to inspire something new and terrifying. You’ll be on the edge of your seat with these stories that make you think. You’ll find bloody horror, supernatural creatures, and a little bit of all-too-possible realism.
It’s the fall of 1981 in Bleckeberg, Sweeden when the body of a teenage boy is found drained of blood, reported being part of a ritual killing. Twelve-year-old Oskar hopes this is revenge for the bullying he has endured at school day after day. Soon, the murder isn’t the most important thing on his mind, but instead, it’s a girl that just moved in next door. She has never seen a Rubik’s Cube, but can solve one right away. There is something wrong with her and she only comes out at night.
I first read this on Reddit NoSleep and I literally couldn’t sleep. My mom came into my room at like, 4 AM after I had read every part and all the comments and asked why I was up and I actually couldn’t sleep because I was so freaked out. I re-read this probably once a year. In this novel, a man starts investigating a series of unrelated bizarre, tragic, and horrific events throughout his childhood. Soon he finds out that these early fragments are really all part of one terrifying story that shaped his entire life, as well as those around him.
Stacy is a 16-year-old witch at boarding school. She has nightmares that come true, but now she is having them about her roommate Drea, her best friend. She sees Drea as the target of a psycho stalker and is using her candles, cards, incantations, and spells to protect her.
Black Spring is a Hudson Valley Town that happens to be haunted by the Black Rock Witch who happens to have her eyes and mouth sewn shut. She enters homes, watches children sleep, and roams the streets. Everyone knows her eyes can never be opened or the consequences will be dire. The town has been quarantined by the town elders thanks to high-tech surveillance equipment, but the teens of the town are sick of being kept in lock-down and take the towns haunting viral, but with this, they bring the town back to it’s dark, evil practices.
Every year, Timm Riggs takes his scout troop out into the Canadian wilderness for a good old fashioned weekend camping trip. But this weekend is anything but when an unexpected intruder shows up. He is thin, pale, and hungry, a human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. This is the tale of a struggle for survival against the elements, the infected, and each other.
The Finch House is nearly forgotten at the end of a dark road in the middle of the Kansas countryside. Sam McGarver, a best-selling horror author, is invited to spend Halloween night in the house after it has been empty and overgrown for years. He is joined by three others that helped shape modern horror for a publicity stunt that soon turns to a fight for their lives. The awakened entity will follow and torment them, trying to make it part of the Kill Creek Legacy.
This teen horror novel was inspired by Agatha Christies And Then There Were None. Ten teens are having an exclusive party on Henry Island, having the weekend of their lives when they find a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine. They are cut off from the outside world thanks to a raging storm. A killer is soon picking them off one by one, getting more violent as he does and now it’s up to Meg to find out who it is before more people die.
Have you read any of these? What is the scariest book you’ve ever read? What is your favorite thing about Halloween?