13 Chilling Halloween Reads

Halloween is upon us, and readers everywhere are scrambling for the spookiest reading list they can find. Most lists will probably feature Stephen King’s entire bibliography and generic ghost stories, but if you want a lot of diverse recommendations to choose from I believe you’ve come to the right place. Without a doubt, you’ll find something here that will chill you to the bone.

Remember to click on the Goodreads link found in every title if you find something that sparks your interest!

Now, let’s get started.

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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Yes, that’s right—Neil Gaiman writes books for kids, too! Do not be too quick to look down on this one for being middle-grade, because it’s freaking amazing.

Get it here!

2. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft

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A collection of stories by the master of 20th-century horror. You do not want to miss out on Lovecraft’s haunting tales this Halloween.

Get it here!

3. Pet Sematary by Stephen King

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I could cheat and tell you to read all of Stephen King’s works (notice I didn’t include IT on this list, you’re welcome), but that wouldn’t be much fun. In this book, King showcases his unsettling ability to capture basic human fears—in this case, the loss of loved ones.

Fun fact: King had to be talked into publishing this novel because he was so horrified by the story he created.
Have fun!

Get it here!

4. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

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This complex, terrifying tale will crawl beneath your skin—if you’re brave enough to open it. Granted, this book is not for everyone given its unique layout, but it’s worth a try if you’re craving a chill. Make sure you read this one with the lights on.

Get it here!

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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If you’re a romantic who loves a good Gothic tale, Jane Eyre is for you. This novel is chock full of creepy mansions, ghosts in the attic, frightening dreams, and a brooding Byronic hero to top it all off.

Get it here!

6. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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This list would not be complete without a good murder mystery, preferably the best-selling novel of the Queen of Mystery herself. You’ll never figure this one out.

Get it here!

7. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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Halloween skews our views of good and evil sometimes. It correlates ugliness with evil, but, in reality, evil comes wrapped as a beautiful angel. This is the case of Oscar Wilde’s controversial novel. Another unsettling Gothic tale, Dorian Gray dissects the greatest darkness of all—human nature.

Get it here!

8. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

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The perfect example of classic horror, this beautifully written story will send more than a shiver down your spine.

Get it here!

9. The Complete Stories of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe

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While it may seem cheap to tell you to go read all of Poe’s works, there really isn’t a short story or poem he hasn’t written that isn’t perfect for this time of year. Each is just as unsettling as the next. If you have not navigated into Poe territory yet, now is the perfect opportunity.

Get it here!

10. Ticktock by Dean Koontz

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Who said that horror cannot be silly? Certainly not Dean Koontz, because this book is as wacky as it is scary.

Get it here!

11. Dracula by Bram Stoker

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You may know the name, but do you know the story? Dracula is much more than the high-collared, pale-faced Transylvanian menace popular culture makes him out to be. There’s more to this vampire than what meets the eye.

Get it here!

12. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

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Evil carnival. Enough said.

Get it here!

13. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

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The terrifying story of one of, if not the, greatest fictional villain of all time. Even if you’ve already seen the film, you might want to give this one a go.

Get it here!


Happy haunting!

What unsettling stories are missing from this list? Share your favorite Halloween reads below.

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