Spooky Reads

Spooky Reads for Halloween

Recommended Scary Books for Halloween

Each year I receive quite a few emails from site visitors asking me to recommend a scary book for them, or their reading club, for the Halloween season. Quite often such requests will include suggestions for books that aren’t too heavy on, or avoid completely, certain areas of horror. For example, whilst a more subtle ghostly or paranormal tale is preferred, more slasher-style, violent and blood-heavy prose, or overtly religious themes and associated content are ideally avoidable, to allow a wider audience to partake in, and ideally enjoy, such a novel.

Thus I’ve put together a list of several scary – but not overtly horrific – spooky reads for Halloween. So please, check out the list below if you’re looking for for ‘tomes to chill the bones’!

Susan Hill The Small Hand1) The Small Hand – Susan Hill
Whilst Hill’s chilling novel, The Woman In Black, has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, her novella The Small Hand is a lesser known but equally strong offering. Haunting remorse, tragedy and misplaced memory linger through the pages of The Small Hand.
Dark-Matter-book-cover2) Dark Matter – Michelle Paver
An isolated Artic exploration in the 1930s sets the temperature appropriately for this beautifully written, cautionary, supernatural chiller. This one lingered in my mind long after having finished it, and I await Paver’s return to the genre once more.
haunting-of-hill-house3) The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
Possibly one the most famous haunted house novels of all time, Jackson’s book focuses upon a gathering for a psychic experiment at Hill House.


mayhem pinborough4) Mayhem – Sarah Pinborough
Though it does lean a little more toward macabre, Pinborough’s Ripperesque tale of possession, precognition and a supernatural being tearing things up in gaslight Victorian London is compelling stuff.
Haunted Dolls' House book cover5) The Haunted Dolls’ House & Other Tales – M R James
Perfect, bite-sized horror tales, aiming to induce fear in all. Scholar M R James used to tell these tales at Christmas to students in his study.
stokers dracula6) Dracula by Bram Stoker
Whilst Stoker’s novel, excellently told using epistolary methods, didn’t mark the first appearance of the vampire in literature, it certainly cemented the concept firmly in the heart and mind of public consciousness. Many are familiar with the name, but haven’t actually read the novel – now’s the perfect time to do so however! Remember: no Dracula, no Interview with a Vampire; no Twilight, no Vampire Diaries!