The most wonderful time of year is upon us! What? Christmas? Heck no! I’m talking about All Hallows’ Eve. I’m talking about Fright Fest. I’m talking about Halloween!
I can think of no other way to celebrate on this, the 31st of October, than by summoning up my favorite scary books from throughout the years.
What books get you in the spooky spirit of Halloween?
- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Often imitated, frequently misread, but never duplicated, Frankenstein was legendarily developed on a spooky night when Lord Byron challenges Mary Shelley and friends to write ghosts stories. Plagued by nightmares (and the horror of childbirth and infant mortality), Shelley created the iconic scary story we know and love (even when we get it wrong).
2. Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
I don’t know how many times I can say this, but THIS BOOK IS UNDERRATED. Bradbury is a fiction genius, and Something Wicked is the perfect scary story. The story of two boys stumbling upon a truly creepy carnival is the perfect mix of childish, whimsical, and perfectly terrifying.
3. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Speaking frankly, Dorian Gray is a dramatic, flamboyant, over-the-top queen who scares the crap out of himself when he trades immortality and watches his portrait start to depict him withering away.
4. Edgar Allen Poe’s Complete Collection
I needn’t say much more than this: any one of Poe’s tales is more than enough to tide you over on a dark Halloween night.
5. The Grip of It – Jac Jemc
If you’re looking for a modern read, Jac Jemc’s acclaimed The Grip of It is an outstanding take on the classic ghost story. The spooky-oily ambience of this book is the ideal accessory to the Halloween spirit.
6. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
Speaking from personal experience, Halloween is a great time to dive into any one of the Harry Potter books. Can we talk about how badly I wish I could sit in the Great Hall during Halloween?
7. The Hellbound Heart – Clive Barker
For a scary serving of horror, look no further than the novella that inspired the Hellraiser movies. If you want an evening of literary gore, this smallish book is right up your dark alley.
8. Misery – Stephen King
Any one of Stephen King’s long list of novels would probably do the job for a scary read, but for this list, I’ve picked my personal favorite. Misery is a perfect example of how a movie adaption should be done, and Kathy Bate’s portrayal of the insanely fanatic (a.k.a. one of the best villains in recent literary history) Annie Wilkes is i-c-o-n-i-c.
9. Practical Magic – Alice Hoffman
Get those magical vibes flowing with any of Alice Hoffman’s books. For a less spooky, more Salem-y read, let the Owens family of witches welcome you into their mysterious coven.
10. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
Alright, alright. Admittedly, I have not read this one, but the Netflix series is everywhere, and every bookworm I know is recommending the 1959 book, so if I’m adding it to my to-read list, you should, too!