Telling scary stories is something people have done for thousands of years, for most of us like being scared in that way. Since there isn’t any danger, we think it is fun.”
― Alvin Schwartz, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Reading on your own in the warmth of your bed or cuddled next to your favorite protector and read-alouder*, books allow us to imagine scary on our own terms and to shut the page when we need to. There is no safer way to experience scary stories than in the pages of a book.

All four of my children love a good scary story. What is scary varies individually, some like dark magic but creepy eyeball soup not so much. Sharing a good scary read-aloud is a great way to celebrate Halloween as a family, even for those older kids that read on their own.

Below are books we have enjoyed recently, you can find picture books I shared here and here.

On the level of most spooky, I am going to have to list Nighbooks and The Girl and the Ghost.

Nightbooks is an incredible retelling that I just can’t spoil for you because the ending is that good. So good that it was picked up by Netflix and will become a book to movie series. Trust me, you want to read the book first.

The Girl and the Ghost is a Malaysian folk tale full of richness that intertwines lush diversity into all the creepy you can handle. Family, jealousy, and mouth-watering snacks shared between two new friends learning about each other – this dark delight is the book you didn’t know you were missing.

The City of Ghosts is a favorite series in our home. We cannot get enough of Cassidy Blake’s ghostly adventures with her otherworldly sidekick. The stories are all set around the most haunted cities in the world.

Book three Bridge of Souls will be released in March 2021, we wait in great anticipation.

What an unexpectedly sweet book, not the Baba Yaga story I was expecting. Special little twists, full of tradition and the importance of family – this one is sure to warm your heart. 

These beautiful graphic novels are a great addition to middle-grade Halloween reads.

The Okay Witch is the newest addition to our shelf, featuring a young girl navigating middle grade while finding out she’s a half-witch.

 

For those looking for a more light-hearted take on Halloween tales, That One Spooky Night is a graphic novel collection of short stories. While most of us won’t be trick or treating this year, we can fall into these vibrant illustrations to discover little witches and live vicariously through two rambunctious boys who fight sea monsters while trick-or-treating as aqua-heroes. A good book is always a treat.