Last Updated on November 27, 2023 by David Michael
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As the weather starts to cool down and the leaves begin to change color, many people start to shift their focus towards Halloween and all things spooky. For book lovers, this means diving into the world of scary books and horror novels.
There’s something about the colder, darker nights that makes reading scary books even more thrilling. Perhaps it’s the feeling of being snug and cozy inside while the wind howls outside, or maybe it’s the anticipation of the spooky season that makes these books even more captivating.
Reading scary books during the fall season has become a beloved tradition for many people, including myself. It’s a way to fully embrace the Halloween spirit and indulge in the thrill of the unknown. Whether you prefer classic horror novels like Frankenstein and Dracula, or newer releases like Stephen King’s latest works, there’s no shortage of options to choose from.
In fact, the popularity of scary books during the fall season has grown so much that many bookstores and online retailers offer special Halloween-themed displays and promotions to help readers find their perfect scary read. Some book clubs even organize special spooky book discussions and events during this time of year.
But why do we love scary books so much? Perhaps it’s the thrill of being scared in a safe way, knowing that we can always close the book if things get too intense. Or maybe it’s the sense of adventure that comes with exploring the unknown and confronting our fears.
Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that scary books are a staple of the fall season. So if you’re looking to get into the Halloween spirit, why not pick up a scary book and let yourself be transported to a world of ghosts, monsters, and things that go bump in the night?
Every Halloween I read a classic horror book and a contemporary one. These are some of my favorites.
Dracula remains one of the best of the classic horror stories. I reread this every few years. The Seasons Edition is physically beautiful with laser cut jackets and produced in a limited, numbered edition. Of course you can get instant gratification and start your Halloween reading by getting the Kindle edition.
A contemporary prequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracul is written by Stoker’s great grandnephew Dacre Stoker with J. D. Barker. It follows young Bram Stoker’s life from childhood and the events that led him to write Dracula. This fictionalized history is full of mysterious characters and is wonderfully terrifying. I really enjoyed this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.
Written for the younger reader, Scary Stories to Read in the Dark provides chills down the spine for readers of all ages. This box set includes all three titles: Scary Stories to Read in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Read in the Dark, and Scary Stories 3. This updated set includes the original artwork by Stephen Gammell.
This book begins about one week before Halloween when Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show rolls into town. This classic Bradbury novel is full of wicked fun, nearly every page has a plot twist that brings you deeper into the story. I stopped in my tracks when I came across a van installing lightning rods – you may too. Available as a Kindle edition.
Another classic novel of slow building terror. The house is the center of circumstance here; but is it actually sentient and malicious? Send shivers down your spine with this incredible work that stands the test of time. Available as a Kindle edition so you can get a headstart on your Halloween reading.
The thrills and chills move at an abrupt pace in Stephen King’s modern horror classic, The Shining. Come along for the ride, but be warned it’s a descent into madness. Book your stay into the Overlook Hotel today. Available as a Kindle edition.
Frankenstein is Mary Shelley’s gothic horror masterpiece. Even though there’s a monster, this is a psychological thriller in the best way. Also available as a Kindle edition.
Anne Rice gives a fun, romantic take on the classic vampire tale in this modern collection. This collects the first 3 of her many vampire books; Interview with the Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned. That’s plenty for Halloween Books.
Do you like your Halloween reading to remind you of current events? The Passage may just be the perfect Halloween book for you. It all starts with a virus that decimates the world – stop me if you’ve heard this one before. This was a ‘can’t put it down book’. I stayed up nights just to read this book- it’s that good. Oh, I should mention the vampires so you know a little more. This is the first of a spine tingling trilogy and they are all an amazing read. One of my favorite books of the modern horror genre. Stay up late tonight by getting the Kindle edition.
A compendium of Edgar Allan Poe, this volume has all of his short stories, poems, and novels. You’ll find the chilling ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ along with ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ and of course ‘The Raven’. This makes a great Halloween book for those that want their horror in smaller doses. Poe’s short stories are literary classics with a permeating creep that will give you chills. Available as a Kindle edition.
The first time I read ‘Ghost Story’ I was never so happy to see the sunrise. This book slowly unwinds and quietly digs into your psyche. The story creeps on and gets scarier with every chapter. It holds up even today.
A new favorite from T. Kingfisher, author of ‘The Hollow Places‘. A wonderfully creepy retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Fall of the House of Usher‘. Kingfisher unspools Poe’s masterpiece and rewinds it with layer upon layer of new horror. Highly recommended!
We hope these books help set the Halloween mood for the season, or just having a quiet spooky night in. Be sure to check out our other Halloween posts for more ideas:
Halloween Cocktails that aren’t overly sweet.
Halloween Food for some Halloween food that combines creepy with delicious.
Halloween Decor to help set the tone without being too cliche.
Halloween Music for the perfect background music for a party, to sound effects for a haunted house.
Halloween Candy for our favorite Halloween treats to hand out (and nibble on).
Halloween Party Ideas – a great Halloween party is easy to throw with our Halloween party picks.
Be sure to check out All Things Halloween for all of our Halloween and related links.
Visit the Amazon Halloween Shop for costumes, lawn decorations, and more.