I’ve shared some of my favourite Halloween films recently (both scary movies and those that aren’t so scary), but I couldn’t let the season go by without sharing some of my favourite scary stories (what kind of writer would I be?)! Here are my picks for some of the best scary stories and books to read this Halloween:
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
I first read this story in high school, but I recently took a short break from my recent absurd work schedule to give it a re-read. It’s stayed with me through the years and I wasn’t disappointed in reading it again!
Blood Drops by W.B. Welch
Earlier this week, I posted a review of this short story collection on my book blog, Pencils & Pages. W.B. is a lovely human and her work is wonderfully haunting!
The Fall of the House of Usher
Really, any of Poe’s work could go in this slot! I give him full credit for my love of Gothic lit and couldn’t be happier about that.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
This one is actually on my TBR list at present! But I’m a big fan of Jackson’s writing (“The Lottery” is another that’s stayed with me through the years) and I did enjoy the series, so I have no doubt I’ll enjoy it once I finally find the time to sit down and do so.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
I read this one years ago (probably at a younger age than I should have, but I was a strange kid like that). I remember my middle school librarian reading “The Big Toe” to us each Halloween, complete with voices (if you’re out there, thank you!)!
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula is another one that needs a reread, but it’s a monster classic for good reason!
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
You might remember this one from my latest movie post, too! I re-read Coraline countless times as a kid and it’s the book that made me a Neil Gaiman fan. Can’t recommend enough!
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Another classic, for good reason. If you haven’t read this one yet, you should—if only so you have an intelligent response when somebody starts down the “Frankenstein was the doctor…” rabbit hole.
nevermore, Nightingale & Sparrow issue no. IV
Some shameless self-promotion along the way, but my literary magazine has just released our fourth issue, nevermore, today! It features more than 50 writers & artists’ works and all things spooky.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
If you can’t tell, I enjoy a good classic! The Headless Horseman is truly a Halloween image all its own—you can’t go wrong with Sleepy Hollow.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Fun fact: I actually learnt the musical adaptation of Jekyll & Hyde before ever reading the book (and held onto the dream of someday playing Lucy ever since).
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
“By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.…” I recommend giving Samantha Grosser’s Shakespeare’s Witch a read afterwards, if you enjoy historical fiction!
The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs
This is another one that calls back to high school—and another that probably deserves a reread!
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
This was the very first Sherlock Holmes story I ever read—and that was likely because there was a spooky dog on the cover.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
I read this one in high school and in college, plus I hope to give it a reread soon—season 2 of The Haunting of Hill House is titled The Haunting of Bly Manor is based on James’ work (and stars the wonderful Victoria Pedretti [Nell from season one] as the governess).
The Demonologist by Gerald Brittle
This is another one on my TBR, but if you know my fascination with the late Ed and Lorraine Warren, it should come as no surprise.
Watchers by Dean Koontz
Years ago, my grandmother told me about a Dean Koontz book she’d read about a dog. Now, one of my favourite things about Dean Koontz is his love of dogs (the same goes for King and Mollie, “thing of evil”), so it was a bit hard to pinpoint which she meant. Eventually, we discovered it to be Watchers!
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
The monsters in Flowers in the Attic are the real-life kind, but this book and the others in the series are cult classics—and definitely scary enough to warrant a spot on this list.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
This is another category that could be alternatively titled “Insert Stephen King novel here,” but The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a personal favourite.
Ghosts of Gettysburg by Mark Nesbitt
How about some real-life ghost stories? You might not know this, but I actually worked as a paranormal investigator for quite some time while living in Gettysburg (though not as a part of Mark’s company). I experienced some spooky stuff myself, and also got to meet Mark Nesbitt a few times—I’d read each and every book in this series growing up, so it was a particularly exciting networking opportunity!
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
I can’t have lived in Bath and not include this one, can I? Northanger Abbey included all the trappings of a Gothic novel, tied up in the beauty that is all things Austen.
Happy Halloween! What scary stories are you reading to celebrate?