10 Haunting Halloween Reads
T minus 13 days to Halloween! Grab a mug of hot chocolate and curl up with a book that’s equal parts spook, spunk and spectacular.
Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery
The Monroe family was catching Dracula at the Cineplex when a baby bunny showed up in the car. What could they do but bring the rabbit home and name him Bunnicula? Somethin’s up, though, decides the family dog and story narrator, Harold. Pointy fangs and veggies drained of color? There’s a vampire in the family! This decades-old tale from Deborah and James Howe is the first in a series of funny and fast-paced mysteries.
The Best Halloween Ever
Remember The Best Christmas Pageant Ever? Well, this Halloween classic comes from the pen of the same well-loved author, Barbara Robinson. The Herdmans are back with their usual antics, but they aren’t just causing problems for the kids of Woodrow Wilson Elementary School. No siree, they’ve got the mayor involved on this one! Trick-or-treating cancelled? What’s a kid to do?
A few years ago, this 1998 David Almond novel was named one of the most important children’s novels of the past 70 years. It’s the story of a boy named Michael who finds a wasted-away, winged man in his garage. Spiritual references abound in this book that’ll keep readers on their toes.
If you’re looking for more spook, less sparkle, then try Bram Stoker’s original vampire on for size. Appropriate for brave middle schoolers and up, Dracula begins in the fabled land of Transylvania. The horrific deeds of the blood-sucking fiend are recounted through letters, ship logs, newspaper articles and the like.
Alvin Schwartz just might be the king of ghost stories. You can find the Scary Stories trio—Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stores 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones—as a boxed set or solo in your library, if you’re lucky. In the dozens of tales between their covers, you’re sure to find something that’ll keep you awake at night.
This 1983 Roald Dahl classic has been made into both a play and a feature film, but its novel form is still a great read. It’s the story of an orphan boy, who has been schooled in the trickery of real-life witches by his ailing grandmother. When the duo travels to the English seaside, they find themselves holed up with a group of witches. Will he be caught or save the day?
A lonely young girl discovers a door to an alternate universe where her parents adore her and her new neighbors are truly out of this world. She has a chance to stay in the tempting Other World forever, but at what cost? Neil Gaiman’s 2007 novella walks the line between innocent fantasy and horror.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
You’ll be feeling pretty optimistic about your own life once you delve into the world of Lemony Snicket. The series traces three orphaned children, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, on their increasingly harrowing hunt for a good guardian and the answers to their parents’ mysterious death. Start at The Bad Beginning.
A Break with Charity: A Story About the Salem Witch Trials
Delve into history with this novel about the witch trials by Ann Rinaldi. Outsider Susanna English is caught in a web of lies: Should she keep quiet about the conniving girls’ circle of destruction or tell the truth and risk endangering her family in a witch-crazed town?
High school students will love the chilling tale of a monster and the doctor who created him—a story that came to author Mary Shelley in a dream. One of the earliest examples of science fiction, you can now find Frankenstein in a variety of forms, including graphic novels.