I think I did a post similar to this last year, but I love Halloween and I generally read scary books all year round. So, I have more books to talk about than I did back then.
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
The Dead House is perfect for this time of year, especially if you are looking for something to unsettle yourself.
The Dead House is told in different formats, such as diary entries, police transcripts, and video files. The story focuses on a mysterious fire at a high school, where three students died and another, Carly, vanished. In the remains of the attic, a diary belonging to a girl named Kaitlyn is found, but there isn’t a student at the school with that name. What people don’t know is that Kaitlyn is the alter ego of Carly.
The diary entries are written entirely by Kaitlyn, who only comes out at night. Surprisingly, Carly is aware of her alter ego and they act like sisters. Kaitlyn is determined to protect Carly, whom she feels is slipping away and being targeted by an evil force. The diary shows Kaitlyn’s descent into madness, though her mission to protect Carly never wavers. But as the plot goes forward, the lines between fantasy and reality are blurred. You wonder if everyone is losing it, or there really is something supernatural going on.
The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics
The Women in the Walls is another thoroughly unsettling book. Lucy’s beloved aunt Penelope goes missing in the woods surrounding their family’s estate and then her cousin Margaret, Penelope’s daughter, claims to hear her mother’s voice inside the walls. With her own sanity on the line, Lucy has to get to the bottom of the mystery before she’s next.
I would define The Women in the Walls as more of a psychological horror than straight-up horror. For most of the book, there is an underlying tension running through, like you are expecting something to jump out at you any moment. It doesn’t get truly gory until the last 50 pages or so, which I like.
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
If you read any of the books I recommend to on this list, let it be Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. It is a graphic novel collection of short stories, all various levels of creepiness. The artwork is stunning and the individual color schemes add something to the story. Some are scarier than others, depending on how much of a scaredy-cat you are. I’m also not going to give you too much detail on the synopsis of each story, because this is the kind of story collection you should go into knowing nothing.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Some of my favorite books to read in the fall/Halloween are mysteries and thrillers. I like to read historical fiction in the colder months too, which is why Stalking Jack the Ripper is my next recommendation.
I wouldn’t necessarily define this book as “spooky,” but if you like books a little more on the gory side, you might like this book. Audrey Rose Wadsworth, a lady of Victorian London high society, is defying the social rules of girls of her status by learning forensic science under her uncle, medical examiner Dr. John Wadsworth. When Jack the Ripper terrorizes the city, Audrey teams up with her uncle and his arrogant but handsome protégée Thomas Cresswell to catch the murderer.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Set in a terrifying dystopian world where monsters are born from the violent acts of humans, This Savage Song is great to read around Halloween. August and Kate are flawed characters that have to make tough choices. The setting is dark and frightening. Victoria Schwab’s writing is simply haunting. Victoria Schwab is just a great author in general to read around Halloween, or so I’ve been told. Unfortunately, I’ve only read This Savage Song by her at this point.