It’s Spooktober, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to read scary books! But with such a plethora of phenomenally spooky and scary literature out there, where do you start? Here are a few suggestions to get you in the perfect spookalicious mood this Halloween!
If you want to read something a bit scary while avoiding nightmares, try “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman. Bod is an orphan who lives in a graveyard and is raised by the ghosts of those buried there, but Gaiman manages to infuse the spooky atmosphere with enough charm and wit that you won’t be afraid to turn the lights off at night. “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie features the clever Hercule Poirot solving the murder of a man on a train. There are only twelve other passengers, and everyone has a motive…
Are you interested in something a bit more frightening? Here are some books that up the terror level, but not so much that you need a nightlight. The terrifying true crime novel “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote delves deep into the murderer’s mind. You could also try “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski, about a constantly changing house that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and the one man willing to explore it. “The Last Days of Jack Sparks” by Jason Arnopp is a fantastic tale of demonic possession, told from the point of view of a man trying to debunk the supernatural. “Horrorstör” by Grady Hendrix is a phenomenal novel about a haunted furniture store written in the format of an Ikea-like catalog. Although the horror elements are real, the story retains a sense of humor that really brings this story to life.
Or maybe you’re braver than most and want to read the scariest book you can find. Likely you’ve heard of Stephen King, but have you read his short story collections? They tend to be overlooked, but King is a master of the horror short story. If you want to have trouble sleeping at night try “Night Shift,” “Nightmares and Dreamscapes,” or “Skeleton Crew.” If his short stories whet your appetite for a longer read, try King’s classic novel “The Shining.” Branching away from Stephen King, “Bird Box” by Josh Malerman is an excellent post-apocalypse thriller about unseen monsters. Those who do see them are driven to murderous insanity, so our protagonists must wander the world blindfolded. Imagine a monster you can never, ever see – creepy!
My last recommendation is the childhood classic which is responsible for children everywhere growing up with a love of all things scary. Spread the spooky Halloween holiday cheer and have the entire family enjoy “More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz. This collection of short horror stories is perfect for reading to each other in a darkened room. Just keep lookout for the monster in your closet, and the boogeyman hiding under your bed!