13 Scary Books To Read This Halloween Season, From The Classics To Modern Tales

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Summer reading gets a lot of attention, but I think fall is really the best season for books. There's nothing like enjoying those chilly autumn temperatures while diving into a spooky read. Here's some scary books to read this Halloween season that will get you in the haunted holiday mood. As someone who enjoys scary books more than just about anything, I am thrilled to present this collection of freaky reads.

And really, there's something here to suit every taste. The classic masters of all things creepy are represented, including of course Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. But there are also more modern stories on the list, many of which feature persons of color and queer people as characters (alongside the usual zombies and witches and such). For stories about ancient and dead things, sometimes the horror genre can be pretty attuned to current social issues. Really, horror fiction is such a great way to examine anything that causes fear, including mental illness issues or a fear of aging.

Whether you purchase a hardcover copy, library loaner, ebook, or audiobook, invite these reads into your life this autumn season. They just might help you face some fears of your own.

1'Something Wicked This Way Comes' by Ray Bradbury

'Something Wicked This Way Comes' by Ray Bradbury

$13

Barnes & Noble

In this 1962 novel by Ray Bradbury, 13-year-old friends Jim Nightshade and William Halloway encounter a dark, mysterious traveling carnival one October. Mirror mazes and carousels here are much more sinister than their usual incarnations.

2'Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone' by Stefan Kiesbye

'Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone' by Stefan Kiesbye

$15

Barnes & Noble

In a village on the Devil's Moor, four characters recount their experiences growing up as children in the ominous town. There's something wrong about their town, but whether it's a natural or supernatural issue will keep you guessing. Also, the cover image alone is enough to give you nightmares. What is up with that kid's eyes?

3'Night Shift' by Stephen King

'Night Shift' by Stephen King

$16

Barnes & Noble

With the recent popularity of the 'Castle Rock' TV show and the 'IT' movie reboot, King's influence is as strong as ever. If you want to dive deeper into his work, the short story collections are phenomenal. Even if you haven't read 'Night Shift' yet, you might recognize its stories such as "Children of the Corn," "Sometimes They Come Back," and "Jerusalem's Lot." It's a fantastic, fast, and frightening read.

4'Her Body and Other Parties' by Carmen Maria Machado

'Her Body and Other Parties' by Carmen Maria Machado

$12

Barnes & Noble

Boldly feminist and fantastical, the short stories in this collection are wild and unsettling and somehow deeply real. Machado's works blend old folklore tropes with modern, often queer, characters, resulting in an unforgettable collection. I read it a few months ago and it still haunts me, especially those girls with bells for eyes.

5'Let’s Play White' by Chesya Burke

'Let’s Play White' by Chesya Burke

$16

Barnes & Noble

Stories that confront race and privilege are collected alongside zombie apocalypse tales in 'Let’s Play White.' This collection is raw, humorous, and unsettling, and it looks at what really happens when you try to become someone else.

6'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' by Neil Gaiman

'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' by Neil Gaiman

$12

Barnes & Noble

When a man returns to his hometown for a funeral, he recalls the seemingly supernatural background of a neighborhood family. It's the sort of modern fairy tale only Gaiman can create.

7'The Raven and Other Tales: A Graphic Horror Novel' by Edgar Allen Poe

The Raven and Other Tales: A Graphic Horror Novel

$8

Barnes & Noble

No list of scary books would be complete without a mention of Poe. Plus, this collection of the author's classic works features illustrations by Pete Katz, which adds another frightening dimension to the stories.

8'Rosemary’s Baby' by Ira Levin

'Rosemary’s Baby' by Ira Levin

$14

Barnes & Noble

Sure, the movie is an absolute classic. But the original novel by Levin is super haunting in its own right. It's perfect for anyone who found pregnancy more than a little scary.

9'Parable Of The Sower' by Octavia Butler

'Parable Of The Sower' by Octavia Butler

$12

Barnes & Noble

Butler's work is more in line with the science fiction genre, but this dystopian tale is spooky as well. Follow teenager Lauren Olamina as she struggles to survive in a post-apocalyptic future.

10H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction

H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction

$25

Barnes & Noble

With his blend of sci-fi and horror elements, Lovecraft created some spooky and super-weird stories. Dig into his complete works here, including the famous Cthulhu tales.

11'Interview with the Vampire' by Anne Rice

'Interview with the Vampire' by Anne Rice

$8

Barnes & Noble

It's the firsthand account of a vampire's supernatural, gorgeous, and chilling life. Be careful, though, because this novel will make you fall in love with New Orleans and Rice's stories forever.

12'Broken Monsters' by Lauren Beukes

'Broken Monsters' by Lauren Beukes

$14

Barnes & Noble

When Detective Gabriella Versado finds a body that's half boy and half deer, her job in Detroit gets even more difficult. Is there something supernatural at work in the the Motor City?

13'A Head Full Of Ghosts' by Paul Tremblay

'A Head Full Of Ghosts' by Paul Tremblay

$12

Barnes & Noble

If psychological thrillers are more your style, then this is the read for you. 'A Head Full Of Ghosts' by Paul Tremblay involves a fourteen-year-old girl who shows signs of schizophrenia, exorcism, and even reality shows (the scariest thing of all). It's a modern look at old and frightening secrets.