We’ve selected twenty of our favorite spooky tales, from classic horror novels to child-friendly scary stories. Read on if you dare…
- Slappy, beware! – R.L. Stine
From the twisted genius that created the Goosebumps series comes a creepy tale about the ventriloquist dummy, Slappy. This spooky creature must continually perform acts of evil or be cursed to sleep forever however, he may have met his match when he goes up against the Carlton family. Perfect for little ones looking for a big scare.
- Old Country – Matt Query, Harrison Query
When former marine Harry and his wife Susan moved to rural Idaho they thought they’d found the house of their dreams, but had they really? They soon discover a malevolent spirit haunts the valley and with each passing season it grows stronger, and each encounter becomes more dangerous.
- Such Sharp Teeth – Rachel Harrison
Rory Morris isn’t thrilled about returning to her hometown, but her family needs her. Following an accident involving a mysterious beast Rory begins to transform, she finds the full moon takes her by control and she has a mysterious aversion to silver. Is she cursed or is she simply embracing her wild side?
- Small Angels – Lauren Owen
This gothic mystery follows Chloe as she tries to figure out why her fiancé is acting distant and the local villagers are behaving strangely. Something in the woods is beginning to stir, and creep closer to the village.
- Ghostlight – Kenneth Oppel
One teen’s summer job telling ghost stories to tourists suddenly gets real when he accidentally summons the spirit of a dead girl – and she demands his help. Gabe and his friends must help the ghost of Rebecca defeat the wicked spirit Viker who is becoming even more powerful. A spooky story for middle schoolers.
- The Clackity – Lora Senf
Another spooky tale for middle schoolers, The Clackity follows Evie as she searches for her missing aunt in Blight Harbor. During her journey, she comes across the Clackity, a spirit that lives in the abandoned slaughterhouse and wants her help to find the ghost of the long-dead serial killer who stalked the town.
- The Most Haunted House in America – Jarret Dapier
A raucous and musical trip through the most haunted house in America, the White House! Join the skeleton drummers as they bang, clang and boom their way through America’s biggest Halloween Party, full of spooky surprises and famous faces.
- If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja – Ana Siqueira
This bouncy, bilingual picture book is an enchanting, rollicking read-aloud for small ones with big imaginations. On the night before Halloween, a new babysitter might be more than she appears. If she wears a black sombrero and cackles like a crow, she might just be a bruja!
- The Black Slide – J.W. Ocker
Griffin isn’t known for being brave, but something about the new black slide in the playground is drawing him to it. Following his best friend Laila down the slide, he quickly finds himself in a dark and twisted world – and it’s up to Griffin to save himself, his best friend, and the very future of the earth itself.
- IT – Stephen King
The godfather of modern horror created one of the genre’s most iconic and terrifying antagonists for this novel, the clown Pennywise. Follow a group of friends dealing with their childhood trauma as they return home to fight this ancient evil.
- Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Join Jacob as he explores the abandoned orphanage and learns more about his grandfather, who may have been a bit more than ‘peculiar’.
- Five Little Pumpkins – James Dean
Join Pete the Cat as he rocks out to this cool adaptation of the classic Halloween song Five Little Pumpkins.
Five little pumpkins
Sitting on a gate.
The first one said,
“Oh my, it’s getting late.”
- Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson
Another children’s Halloween classic – The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom. But is there room on the broom for so many friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?
- Scary Stories – Tony Johnston
One dark night three little things—an imp, a goblin, and a scalawag—get together to tell the scariest stories they can think of. They are brash and brave as they argue over who should go next, and each one tries to make his story the scariest. When they finish, they realize someone was listening…and that may be the scariest thing of all. Perfect for little monsters.
- A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
Diana Bishop, a young scholar at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, accidentally stumbles across an ancient manuscript that soon stirs a magical underworld – and scores of witches, vampires, and daemons are soon seeking her out. It’s up to Diana and the vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont to help save the world.
- The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
This historical non-fiction horror is presented as a novel, focusing on Chicago and Philadelphia around the turn of the century. It introduces America’s first serial killer, H. H. Holmes, and his infamous ‘murder castle’.
- The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings – Dan Jones
A modern retelling of an early 15th century ghost story by the historian Dan Jones. This creepy tale follows a tailor traveling in the dark days of King Richard II, he stops at an inn and is greeted by a shape-shifting beast that instructs him on the journey he must venture on.
- In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
- Great Tales and Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
Gathered in one volume are some of Poe’s greatest stories and poems, including: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Pit and the Pendulum, and some of his finest lyric and narrative poetry—The Raven and Annabel Lee.
- The Turn of the Screw and Other Tales – Henry James
This collection brings together eight of James’s tales exploring the uncanny, including his infamous ghost story, ‘The Turn of the Screw’, a work saturated with evil, in which a fraught governess becomes convinced that malicious spirits are menacing the children in her care.
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