We asked Librarians to recommend some scary Halloween stories. You loved their recommendations. Here are some more. You are warned!
Last year as the pandemic took hold, Alive! reached out to Librarians at our favorite library, Los Angeles Public Library, for their recommendations for awesomely scare Halloween reads and watches. We decided to ask again, and here are fresh recommendations for you and your family this Halloween, traditionally the first event of the holiday season. Thanks to the Librarians for their suggestions. Enjoy these spooky stories, everyone! (Some are available via digital download; some are physical books available for curbside pickup. Search at lapl.org)
Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond, David J. Skal
David J. Skal, a scholar who has written numerous books about the macabre, presents a list of 31 essential Halloween-time films. Grab the popcorn, hold on to your liquid refreshment and get ready to be scared out of your mind.
Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder, T.A. Willberg
A modern version of the classic locked-room murder mystery. In his review for LAPL Reads, Librarian Daryl Maxwell said, “A chilling murder, a secret detective agency with offices located in a myriad of tunnels located beneath London, and a young apprentice are determined to find the killer to clear one of her closest friends of the murder.”
Ring, Koji Suzuki
The mysterious and simultaneous death of four teenagers sends reporter Kazuyuki Asakawa on a doomed investigation to find the cause. When he discovers an unmarked videotape that warns of the impending death of any who watch it, Asakawa must find a way to break the curse. Suzuki’s horrifying tale has spawned more than a dozen film adaptations. You can check out the original Japanese film adaptation Ringu or the 2002 American adaptation with your library card today!
HORNS, Joe Hill
Though officially free and clear of the crime, Ig Perrish will always be considered the main suspect in the murder of his high school sweetheart. Ever since, he has spent his days in an alcoholic daze, futilely attempting to drown out the memory of Merrin and the terrible things that happened to her. But one morning, Ig wakes up to find horns sprouting from his temples, and life gets a whole lot more interesting. This book just might give you a little sympathy for the devil. The 2013 film Horns starring Daniel Radcliffe is a direct adaptation of Hill’s darkly comic novel.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Jack Finney
Jack Finney’s eerie science fiction novel has inspired five cinematic adaptations. After strange seeds fall to Earth from space, odd plantlike pods begin to grow, harboring a dangerous and terrifying life force. As friends and neighbors begin to act strangely, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers a horrifying scheme. You can stream the 1978 film adaptation on Hoopla or get the DVD of the 1998 film The Faculty, which was inspired by Finney’s tale.
The Ghosts of Sherwood, Carrie Vaughn
A chilling spinoff on the legend of Robin Hood, known as Robin of Locksley, and his wife Marion and their two children. The Locksley children are kidnapped and Robin needs all the help he can get to find out who did the heinous crime, which might include the ghosts deeply hidden in Sherwood Forest.
The Devil and the Dark Water, Stuart Turton
There is nothing like a locked-room crime. This one is set in the 17th century and will be very difficult for readers to solve. The characters are complex and encompass almost every type of passenger aboard the Saardam sailing ship, and include nobles, passengers, crew, and the Musketeers assigned to protect the investment represented by the East India Trading Company on the voyage.
For Youngest Readers:
(Baby to Pre-K)
Eenie Meenie Halloweenie, Susan Eaddy. Illustrated by Lucy Fleming
A wide-eyed girl ponders her costume possibilities for the upcoming holiday in this delightful rhyming story. Inspired by her stuffed animals, she considers various ways she could use items she has at home to become a penguin, an elephant or even a fuzzy, pink polar bear. Check out the book to find out what costume she wears on Halloween!
Herbert’s First Halloween, Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Steven Henry
Herbert and his dad share some quality time preparing for Herbert’s first time trick or treating in their neighborhood. Dad shares memories of his boyhood adventures, carves a pumpkin, and creates Herbert’s costume. Though Herbert isn’t quite sure about the whole thing at first, it turns out to be a night of fun!
Pick a Pumpkin, Patricia Toht. Illustrated by Jarvis
A multiracial family visits the pumpkin patch in this rhyming picture book, which goes step by step through the process as they each make their own special jack-o-lantern.
Mother Ghost: Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters, iRachel Kolar. Illustrated by Roland Garrigue
Classic nursery rhymes are given a spooky twist for Halloween in this fun poetry collection.
For Young Readers:
(Third to Fifth Grade-Plus)
The Halloween Hoax, Carolyn Keene
Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew are in the audience for a special Halloween taping of their favorite TV show. It starts out as fun, but then creepy things begin to happen. Is the TV studio haunted?
The Okay Witch, Emma Steinkellner
On Halloween, Moth Hush finds out a shocking family secret — she’s descended from witches, who have a long history in her hometown of Founder’s Bluff, Mass.
Ghost Squad, Claribel A. Ortega
Lucely Luna lives in St. Augustine, Fla. with her dad, who runs a ghost tour. She has the ability to see the spirits of her deceased family members, who take the form of fireflies. When their spirits start to dim, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, have to figure out how to protect them, and their town, from a magical menace!
The House in Poplar Wood, K.E. Ormsbee
An agreement keeps a pair of twins separated, with Lee working with his mother and Felix serving his father. This is the story of a group of tweens who, joined by an unlikely ally, try to solve a murder while on a mission to outwit Death and Memory.
The Haunted House Next Door, Andres Miedoso
Desmond Cole lives in a spooky town filled with ghosts and spirits. When kids are being haunted, they call Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol!