October is the perfect month for reading creepy stories. Here are ten books with varying levels of creepiness to get you in the Halloween spirit, pun intended.
1. Ghost Story by Peter Straub
“For four aging men in the terror-stricken town of Milburn, New York, an act inadvertently carried out in their youth has come back to haunt them. Now they are about to learn what happens to those who believe they can bury the past — and get away with murder.”
2. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
“A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope’s shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show’s smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes – and the stuff of nightmare.”
3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
“Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.”
4. The Shining by Stephen King
“Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.”
5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
“After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…”
6. Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
“Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Welcome to Christine’s life. S. J. Watson makes his debut with this fast-paced psychological thriller, reminiscent of Shutter Island and Memento. A terrible accident has robbed Christine of her memories. She cannot remember the past – or even yesterday. Determined to discover who she is, she has begun keeping a journal before she goes to sleep. Before she can forget again. But the truth may be more terrifying – and deadlier – than she bargained for…”
7. Bird Box by Josh Malerman.
“Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster? Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.”
8. Dracula by Bram Stoker
“Few readers will ever forget the nightmare atmosphere of Count Dracula’s sinister castle in Transylvania, the prowlings of the Un-dead, the blood-curdling tension as Bram Stoker’s tale races towards a thrilling climax. Dracula recounts the struggle of a group of men and a woman – Dr Seward, Dr Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker and his wife Mina – to destroy the vampire, whose sinister earth-filled coffins are discovered by Harker in a ruined chapel adjoining Dr Seward’s asylum. Cruel and noble, evilly and fatally desirable to women, Dracula possesses a terrifying lust for power and, like Dr Jekyll or Conan Doyle’s Moriarty, is one of the immortal fictional monsters.”
9. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe
“Dive into this classic from the singular mind of Edgar Allan Poe, who is widely regarded as the master of short horror fiction. “The Fall of the House of Usher” recounts the terrible events that befall the last remaining members of the once-illustrious Usher clan before it is — quite literally — rent asunder. With amazing economy, Poe plunges the reader into a state of deliciously agonizing suspense. It’s a must-read for fans of the golden era of horror writing.”
10. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
“First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.”
Enjoy these spooky reads!