Halloween Horror Reads

20 Scary Books To Read This Halloween

Carved Pumpkins

It’s finally October! Do you know what that means? It’s time for Halloween! And Halloween means scary stories!

I absolutely love October. Mostly because I love fall weather and Halloween, both of which happen in October. Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday. What’s not to love about Halloween? There’s costumes, candy, haunted houses and all things spooky.

I have always been a fan of scary movies. Some people get their adrenaline rush from roller-coasters, but I get mine from horror movies. Usually, I like to watch them at home alone in the dark. I do the same thing with horror books. I like to read them in the dark with a flashlight.

I’ve compiled a list of scary books to read this Halloween. I had a huge list but I managed to get it down to twenty books. I’ve separated it into four categories: YA, classics, psychological thrillers, and horror.

*If you want something to read this fall that isn’t scary, check out my post for 20 non-scary fall reads.

Young Adult

Mary: The Summoning | Hillary Monahan – Bloody Mary…Bloody Mary…Bloody Mary… There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her, and four teenage girls are about to learn that the hard way.

Living Dead Girl | Elizabeth Scott – When Alice was ten, she was taken. Now she’s fifteen, and here time is about to end. But first, she must help her captor find her replacement. *Not recommended for young readers*

Rules for Vanishing | Kate Alice Marshall – Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her, and who won’t make it out of the woods? Written in the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark | Alvin Schwartz – Skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney. There’s a story for everyone.

Not Even Bones | Rebecca SchaefferDexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market, until she’s betrayed. *Not recommended for young readers*


Frankenstein | Mary Shelley – Victor Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator.

The Exorcist | William Peter Blatty – Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s

The Amityville Horror | Jay Anderson – 28 days of terror in a house possessed by evil spirits.

The Silence of the Lambs | Thomas Harris – A plunge into the darkest chambers of a psychopath’s mind, in the deadly search for a serial killer.

The Complete Stories and Poems | Edgar Allan Poe – You can’t go wrong with any of Poe’s stories at Halloween time.

Psychological Thrillers

The Chestnut Man | Alex North – A psychopath is terrorizing Copenhagen. His calling card is a “chestnut man”, a handmade doll made of matchsticks and two chestnuts, which he leaves at each bloody crime scene.

The Silent Patient | Alex Michaelides – Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. One evening her husband returns home late, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Then She Was Gone | Lisa Jewell – Ellie was fifteen when she was taken. It’s been ten years and her mother Laurel has never given up hope of finding her. Then one day she’s swept off her feet by a charismatic stranger. But why does his daughter look so much like her own?

The Kind Worth Killing | Peter Swanson – Two strangers meet at an airport bar when their flight is delayed. One wants to kill his cheating wife, and the other wants to help.


It | Stephen King – Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real. They were young when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are adults who have gone out into the world. But none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.

The Shining | Stephen King – Jack Torrance is the new caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. As the harsh winter weather sets in, the hotel starts to feel remote…and sinister. And the only one to notice the terrible forces gathering around is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

Bird Box | Josh Malerman – Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Brother | Ania Ahlborn – A terrifying novel that follows a teenager determined to break from his family’s unconventional, and deeply disturbing, traditions.

NOS4A2 | Joe Hill – Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. He can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

The Troop | Nick Cutter – Once a year, scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip. But when an unexpected intruder stumbles upon their campsite, the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror.

I hope there are some books on this list you want to add to your Halloween reading list. Let me know if there are any scary books you would recommend in the comments.

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