…and I am definitely an autumn person, through and through. I’m also a very well read person, especially when it comes to horror. This time of year is when I really shine, my personality more or less doesn’t full come to maturation until September, and that is also when people start to ask me about my fall/October/Halloween book recommendations. I also get asked about movies, but for the sake of my sanity and yours, let us stick with books.
I’ve compiled here some of my favorite Halloween/horror/spooky books for anyone who is looking for some recommendations and doesn’t know where to start. Keep in mind these are personal favorites, so any and all opinions are my own and you are not obligated to believe me in at all. I’m just out here trying to help, like a spooky avenger. I’ll break the list down a little for those who have particular tastes, in hopes of making life easier for all. Let’s get this started!
Haunted House Novels
Haunted House stories are by and large some of the most popular of the genre. There is just something creepy about being trapped inside a home, or any sort of secluded home-type place, with something unknown and/or supernatural. It feels like a fitting place to being. My recommendations are:
- The Shining by Stephen King: A classic, and a book that should not be missed! It’s the best of the best of King for me, and it’s a good jumping off point for horror lovers and those who may want to start reading King.
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: This is not my favorite Jackson book, but it’s still good! It’s a classic, a staple of the genre, and you’re hurting nobody but yourself by skipping it!
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James: A short story that will have you questioning yourself as much as governess in the story. Is the house haunted? Is she crazy? The only way to reach your own conclusion is by reading it (and don’t just wait for the movie).
- Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill: Sometimes in a story, the person who lives in the place is responsible for what’s happening inside of it. Thus is the case with this novel, which gave me a few good chills the first time I read it.
Other Paranormal Novels
You can’t really lump all paranormal type novels around the haunted house trope. Some are bigger than that, too different, and rooted out in the wilds of the world. Is there anything creepier than being alone in the woods? Yes. Being alone in the woods at night. I’m just sayin’….
- The Ritual by Adam Nevill: When I read this book, it gave me the ever loving creeps. I mean I was having some serious chills, it was fantastic! This book won’t be for everybody, but I promise that at least the first half is bound to get you in the mood for all things spook.
- IT by Stephen King: I couldn’t make a list without this book landing somewhere. It’s another classic by the master, and it takes some serious dedication to get through. It’s over a thousand pages, but it’s worth it, I swear!
- Pet Sematary by Stephen King: I’m a King fangirl, could you tell? This is another oldie but goodie that is guarantee to make you squirm. It isn’t just the premise of the book either, but the way King weaves the story here. Loss, love, family bonds, childhood fears, this book really has all of it and then some.
- The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty: I’m going to assume that this one doesn’t need an explanation.
Real People Doing Bad Things
Serial killers, unsuspecting victims, real world situations. Is there anything worse than the stuff we see on the news? Some of these books are based on real events, some are entirely fictional. All are creepy because of what they represent (the worst of humanity).
- The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum: Don’t read this if you’re easily disturbed, and I mean that. This book is based on a real crime, and a lot of the details are true to what happened in reality. It’s incredibly graphic and horrific, and if it doesn’t upset you then something is very wrong.
- A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay: This book blew me away the first time I read it! You can’t really figure out what is going on, if she’s telling the truth or not, but it’s pretty messed up no matter what side of the coin you land on.
Creature features don’t scare me, but I do love these novels anyway! They’re fun, kitschy, and sometimes just weird enough to win me over big time.
- Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice: If you’re going to read a vampire novel, make it this one. It’s the best of the best, the top tier, nothing will ever be better. Forget sparkly teens and just go right for Louis and Lestat and spare yourself.
- Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry: This book is the first in a series, but I’m a person who doesn’t normally get into zombie novels (I do like graphic novels though) so if I put it on here you know it’s pretty good. Also if you love it, there are more and the series as a whole isA+!
- Dog Days by Joe McKinney: Is a werewolf? Is he just crazy? I never quite decided by the end, but I do know I loved reading about it!
- Suffer the Children by Craig DiLouie: This one was really great, and I put it here because I don’t know how else to describe it. Kind of like zombies, but not so it was better. Just trust me!
No Spooks Here
If you want to get into the spirit of things, but don’t really like to be scared, these are books that fit the genre but that aren’t scare at all. They’re just good, fun reads with a bit of tension and all the other best stuff.
- Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon: This man is a brilliant writer, and this book is one of his best. It will fill you up with nostalgia and surprise, and if you’re like me you won’t be able to put it down.
- Bird Box by Josh Malerman: I think everyone saw this movie on Netflix, but that film does NOT do justice to the book. Not even close.
- Anything at all by Edgar Allan Poe: The man can do no wrong, and provides the best spooks that aren’t spooky!
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving: You can’t go wrong with this story, ever. If you haven’t read it, shame on you so get to it!
For The Kids (or the adults who like those books as much as I do)
We don’t discriminate here based on age (or anything else). These are books I love as an adult human, that I also loved as a kid. So read them with your kids, or by yourself! It works no matter what!
- The Halloween Tree & Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury: His books are timeless classics, and I love them just as much now as I did when I was a kid. Trust me, you can’t go wrong.
- Scary Stories To Tell in The Dark by Alvin Schwartz illustrated by Stephen Gammell volumes 1-3: These. Are. The. Best. These compilations of short stories, poems, and truly horrifying pictures still enthrall me as a grown up human being. Share them with your kids, pronto!
- In A Dark, Dark Room by Alvin Schwartz: If the Scary Stories books are too much for your littles, start here! They’re for younger kids, and are more tame.
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: A really, really great story written for middle school aged kids. I read it as an adult (it…you know…came OUT when I was an adult) and still loved it!
I’m going to stop there, at the risk of overloading you. Let me know if you read any of them, or share your favorite horror novels with me too!
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