So I’m not great with scary things. They aren’t my favourite and I don’t enjoy scaring myself, so instead my recommendations for Halloween reads are more mystery, thriller and dark, rather than pure scary. I’ll start off with children’s books and move on through to adult literature, but definitely try out all you feel comfortable with! I also have this post in video format on my YouTube channel from last year, so click here if you prefer to listen to/watch the recommendations!
Sheets by Brenna Thummler
This cute little graphic novel is linked into Halloween with an adorable ghost who appears and wants to assist our protagonist. A nice and unspooky way to join in with the season. Find my full review here!
Kiss of Death by Malcolm Rose
Something a little more creepy, two children pick up a coin on a school trip to a town which was previously ravaged by the plague. Taking this coin places a curse on the two and we see them struggle to come to this realisation and figure out a solution.
Blood Water by Dean Vincent Carter
There’s a “thing” in the water in this slightly scary teen read. It’s escaped from where it was being kept for research and is resulting in the gory deaths of those living nearby. Something a bit more creepy for those who want to test themselves. This isn’t a book I enjoyed personally but if the synopsis looks intriguing to you then check it out.
The Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins
Back to something not as scary again, this book (and the whole series) are very fun, creepy reads aimed at 11+ readers. This book focuses on a man who pays money to write peoples secrets in his black book, our protagonist doesn’t understand why he would pay for this. So he tries to find out.
Who Could That Be at This Hour by Lemony Snicket
What creepy but not too scary book recs list would be complete without Lemony Snicket?! Obviously there is the whole Series of Unfortunate Events, however, another one of his series’ is called All The Wrong Questions and is more of a YA book. More of the Snicket we love with a more mature audience in mind.
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
One of my absolute favourite series’, that I’ve been following since the beginning and continue to pick up. These books are 11+ and follow a Skeleton detective and the niece of his best friend as they get into a lot of scrapes. So much fun, great Irish humour and perfect for Halloween! (Also not spooky at all, the only fear is when the characters get themselves into stupid situations haha)
The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
This series goes by many names, in the UK (where I’m from!) it’s called Spooks, but in the US it is The Last Apprentice, and the first book has the same name. A little more of a creepy YA, we follow a young boy as he becomes the apprentice of the spook. A man who rounds up witches and keeps society safe from them. There are a few issues with this series, as it seems to be incredibly patriarchal with a mistrust of any female, however, I thought I would still mention it on this list as when I first read it at 15 I didn’t notice this and still really enjoyed the books. It’s up to you.
Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
Another one of my favourite books, I read this for the first time recently and couldn’t put both it and the sequel down. I’m waiting on tenderhooks for book #3!! This follows a girl who has been apprenticed to the Messenger of Fear. It’s a nasty job, but she chose to take it on, and doesn’t remember why as her memory was wiped. Lots of graphic violence and a little bit of creepiness. A lot of fun!!
Cold Bath Street by A. J. Hartley
Not the most well heard of book, which is such a pity as this is yet another 5* read on this list! We follow a young boy names Preston when he has died, and how he copes in the world beyond. But there’s trouble, things aren’t following the route that they’re supposed to and he somehow gets himself entwined within this issue and aims to discover what is going on. Creepy (on a small scale, but more than some of the others on this list) and so engrossing! Find my full review here!
Alice by Christina Henry
An Alice In Wonderland retelling with a twist. This book had me absolutely ensnared for well over a week after I finished reading it! It’s dark, gritty and you should probably forget about other retellings you’ve read as this doesn’t follow that tried and tested format. I loved the skewed, humanoid versions of our well-known characters within Wonderland and how this was dragged into more of a dystopian world than a mythical land. 100% recommend and love! This isn’t a YA read though, so don’t go in with that expectation. Find my full review here!
Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
A straight thriller, a common choice for this time of year. This one messed with my mind, and it’s why I gave it 5 stars! I’ll say straight off that not everyone will enjoy this book, for example, BooksandLala really didn’t like it due to the ending which she considered to be over the top (and I can see why), so keep that in mind. But personally, I loved it and was absolutely enraptured and unable to put it down. Find my full review here!
The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas
This book is a lot less well known than it should be, in my opinion, and I only know about it as I spotted it in a charity shop. With a creepy mystery surrounding a long-lost book, death, fantasy and weird shit are all present in this great book!
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
This isn’t your traditional Halloween read, the only real gory section is that there is a murder. Our MC is being tried for a murder he committed, and we follow the events before, during and after the murder, as well as the trial itself. This is 100% not creepy, but it will make you think. Find my full review here!
The Girl in 6E by A. R. Torre
This thriller has it all, murderous tendencies, a creep that goes rogue and so much more. This will keep you on the edge of your seat and I personally came to really love our protagonist despite her obvious and glaring flaws.
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
I had to include a traditional style mystery in here! I love reading Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle so whenever people add to their works and build upon their characters – I’m in! This book was brilliant and had me hooked, 100% recommend if you want to delve back into the world of Sherlock.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Now for an original classic, this book has murder and witches and is thoroughly enjoyable! If you find play scripts difficult to read then there are many great film adaptations of the work, sometimes watching a performance before reading it can be helpful for those who don’t flow naturally into this different writing layout.
The Damned vol 1 by Cullen Bunn, and illustrated by Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree
A dark, noir, gangster comic which definitely fits within the horror genre with its graphic panels, there are also fantasy elements within the story which allows it to break the walls of reality in an interesting manner. Check out my full review here!
Ghosts of the Past by Serge LeTendre and David S. Khara, and illustrated by Frédéric Peynet
This is a mystery/crime comic which follows our protagonist as he deals with Nazi’s, both in the present day and also with what they did during WWII. Pretty dark, due to the topic that it deals with, however, there isn’t really a scare factor. Click for my review for more of my thoughts.
And that’s your lot! It’s a bit of a long list, and my video is almost 25 minutes long so I apologise for that, but hopefully, I’ve been able to provide some ideas for books to delve into this spoopy season!! If you want to see how I get along with my October reads (which have a bit of a spooky theme) then keep an eye on my channel for my October Reading Wrap Up!
Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?