Happy Halloween! Are there cobwebs in the doorways and pumpkins on the porch and heaps of candy by the door? Got your costume ready? Well, don’t forget about one more important Halloween tradition—scary stories! Here are thirteen books to read with the lights dimmed, if you dare…
- IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware
A bachelorette party Leonora wakes up in the hospital and can’t remember how she got there. She was just at a bachelorette party for a friend she hadn’t seen in ten years, a bachelorette party that goes deadly wrong… With the police guarding her door, she rewinds the past two days in her mind, desperately hunting for the missing hours that contain the truth—of her innocence, or her guilt?
- SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury
Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show comes to Green Town, Illinois a week before Halloween, and best friends Jim and Will can’t wait to check it out. But this carnival has brought more than rides and games. When the boys witness something unexplainable, they find themselves hunted by the carnival members while they try to save their town from the carnival’s sinister design. A lyrically written tale of innocence and temptation, Something Wicked This Way Comes will enchant you as it warns you to be careful what you wish for.
- YOU by Caroline Kepnes
In this day and age when strangers can be traced with a simple Google search, Joe Goldberg systematically tracks down the beautiful woman who walks into the bookstore at which he works. Her name is Guinevere Beck, but he learns her friends call her Beck. He learns her personal information, history, habits, all through her public Facebook and Twitter. He learns where to show up to meet her, again and again, with all the right answers, and eventually becomes her boyfriend. But the obsession is endless, and he won’t stop until Beck is his entirely, no matter what he has to do.
- PERFUME: THE STORY OF A MURDERER by Patrick Suskind
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was born without any scent, but has an extraordinarily keen sense of smell. Growing up in the slums of eighteenth-century Paris is a feast of scents for him, and he lives following his nose. To learn of every scent that exists, he apprentices himself to a perfumer. One day he smells the most intoxicating scent of all—the scent of a young virgin—which he is determined to capture in essence as a perfume.
- SEIZE THE NIGHT by Christopher Golden
Christopher Golden has put together a collection of short stories perfect for vampire fans—think Dracula, not Edward Cullen. The contributing authors, including Charlaine Harris, whose novels were adapted into HBO’s hit show True Blood, bring back the menacing figures of the night.
- LET THE RIGHT ONE IN by John Ajvide Lindqvist
In a small Swedish suburb called Blackeberg, a body is found drained of blood. Twelve year old Oskar hopes this is retribution for the bullying he suffers at school. At the same time, he befriends the new next-door neighbor, Elli, a girl who only comes out at night. Not the typical bloodthirsty vampire story, Let the Right One In reached such popularity that it was also made into films in Sweden and the US.
- THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS by John Connolly
When young David’s mind turns to dark places, that darkness comes to claim him and transports him to a twisted fairytale land. The only one who can return him home is the old king who possesses a book of secrets, the Book of Lost Things. A story of loss, family, and growing up, The Book of Lost Things will make you shiver and warm your heart.
- BROTHER by Ania Ahlborn
The Morrow family lives deep in Appalachia, and their remote location combined with their reclusive nature means they’re left alone, even when girls are disappearing in the vicinity. Nineteen year old Michael Morrow knows what the police don’t—after all, he has to bury what’s left. When he falls for Alice, who lives in the town nearby, he thinks maybe he can still be normal, but his brother Rebel is not about to let him forget his family obligations.
- CRAZY LOVE YOU by Lisa Unger
Priss was Ian’s hero when they were kids, but Ian is grown up now, a successful graphic novelist in New York City. He’s met Megan, and wants to be better for her. He’s outgrown Priss and is ready to let her go. But Priss is holding on with a grip tight enough to hurt.
- GOOD OMENS: THE NICE AND ACCURATE PROPHECIES OF AGNES NUTTER, WITCH by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
The end of the world is right on schedule, until an angel and a demon, who have become quite fond of Earth, muck up the plans a little and the Antichrist is given to the wrong couple. A hilarious apocalyptic parody full of Biblical references, you won’t want to miss this journey to Armageddon.
- HORNS by Joe Hill
Ignatius Perrish has horns growing on his head. His girlfriend was murdered, the whole town thinks he killed her, and now these horns make people confess to him the kind of embarrassing, cringe-worthy secrets you should never have to hear from your best friend, let alone strangers. With this ability, Ig goes after the real killer. Horns was made into a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, which would also be good for a Halloween movie night!
- THE SHINING by Stephen King
The film of the same name by Stanley Kubrick is classic horror, and the novel only expands the frightening atmosphere. Jack Torrance takes over the caretaker’s job at the Overlook Hotel for the winter, bringing his wife and son along. It should be relaxing, almost like a vacation, and he’ll be able to get some writing done. But the Overlook Hotel has its own grisly history that won’t stay in the past, and only Danny, Jack’s five year old son, senses what is coming.
- THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS by Thomas Harris
Clarice Starling, a student at the FBI academy, is excited when the head of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit Jack Crawford gives her an assignment. A serial killer dubbed “Buffalo Bill” is killing and skinning girls, and Crawford wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who is imprisoned in Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Dr. Lecter, a psychiatrist and a serial killer himself, could have insight into the case. Thus Clarice is drawn into the hunt for Buffalo Bill, running against the clock when the latest victim he kidnaps is the daughter of a senator. The movie version is also a classic that would really ramp up the atmosphere of a Halloween night.