What’s better than a spooky story to get the whole family in the Halloween spirit? But not all witch tales and ghost stories are created equal.
Author and book enthusiast Teri Harman has a list of the best Halloween reads for every age.
KIDS (AGES 0-8)
Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex
We all know and love the classic bedtime book, Goodnight Moon, but what if the story was full of scary monsters and creepy creatures? That’s exactly what this book is. One of the best Halloween picture books out there. Also available as a board book.
Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by S.D. Schindler
Poor Skeleton – he’s got the hiccups. How will he get rid of the “bone-rattling,” “teeth-chattering” annoyance? Find out in this quirky, funny, favorite Halloween read.
Marsipity by Barbie McConnell and illustrated by Rusty Gregory
It’s Halloween night and with one bite of magical pumpkin pie, Marspity and Marlin embark on a magical adventure. With vibrant illustrations and a fun story, this is a great choice to read before trick-or-treating.
YOUNG READERS (AGES 9-14)
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Nobody Owens is a typical boy – except for living in a graveyard and being raised by ghosts. But can his spectral family keep him safe from the man who murdered his real family and is still looking for the boy who got away? Creepy, witty and enchanting. Includes cool, graphic-novel-esque illustrations.
The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Young Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and the last apprentice to the town Spook. He’s always known he’s different, but now he must face the darkness and all that lurks within it. This book is a delicious serving of the undead and a creepy page turner. It’s loaded with scary encounters with the supernatural and completed with terrifying illustrations.
Content note: There are some intense, scary scenes in this book and it may not be suitable for all young readers.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea from Siobhan
Since his mother started her treatments, Conor has had the same terrible nightmare nearly every night. When a monster comes, after midnight, of course, all it wants is the truth – the hardest and most terrifying thing to give. Extraordinary, moving and atmospheric.
TEENS (AGES 14-18)
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Everyone who loves Halloween should read this classic from the master of fantasy, Ray Bradbury. Friends, James Nightshade and Will Halloway, are the first to come to the strange circus that rolls into town a week before Halloween. But Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show is nothing that they except.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs
This unique novel is a thrilling reading experience. The collection of strange vintage photography (all real, lent to the author by collectors), cleverly inserted into the narrative, elevate the creep-factor. Well-written and a great combination of fantasy and time travel, with a touch of the supernatural. Soon to be a movie by Tim Burton.
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Since the day she was born, Kami Glass has had a best friend, someone she can talk to about everything. The only problem is that Jared is a voice in her head. Then one day the legendary Lynburn family moves back to town, including two cousins, Ash and…Jared. This is a fabulous book, with humor, mystery, supernatural twists and stellar characters. A new favorite.
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
This book is part historical fiction, part supernatural thriller, and all wonderful. Connie Goodwin is a dedicated scholar. She knows the history of the Salem Witch Trials backwards and forwards. But when she stumbles across a hidden piece of paper while cleaning up her deceased grandmother’s house, she discovers a whole new kind of witch history. Howe’s writing is vividly descriptive and immediately immerses the reader in the story. The romance is sigh-worthy and the mystery intriguing.
Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories by Various Authors
Roald Dahl, known for his children’s books, did in-depth research into ghost stories for a television series he was helping to write. After reading the first 50 stories on his list, he was shocked to find most were too bad to finish. Eventually, he found several great ones and they became this collection of 14 superbly spooky ghost stories by authors like E. F. Benson, Edith Wharton and more.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Erin Morgenstern’s magical, mystical world of the circus that “arrives without warning” and only opens its gates at night is a magic lover’s dream come true. Not only is the fantasy divine, but the forbidden love story and mystery completely engaging. Pure magical perfection.
JOLLY FISH PRESS CREATIVE FRIGHTING
If you love scary stories head over to creativefrighting.jollyfishpress.com
Here you will find scary, spooky, horrific, even funny short stories written by all the Jolly Fish Press authors, myself included. Teri’s story is called The Wheel of Wasted Souls – be sure to check it out.
VOTE for your favorite story. One lucky voter will win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Be sure to spread the word to all your friends and invite them to vote too. Voting open from October 1 – 30.
Jolly Fish Press is a new, up-and-coming publisher, based in Provo. They are publishing Teri Harman’s young adult trilogy, The Moonlight Trilogy, first book, Blood Moon, out June 22, 2013 and Teri’s first literary fiction novel, A Painted Life, fall 2014. For more on these books, visit book-matters.com.