Brilliant coloured leaves are piling up on the ground, there are pumpkins in the store and a chill in the ar. Fall is definitely here, and the cooler weather makes it the perfect time for curling up inside with a hot chocolate and a great book. As Halloween in fast approaching, I’d like to recommend that your next read be a scary one. A scary book gets your adrenaline flowing, and there’s nothing like feeling completely terrified in the safety of your own home. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite spooky books and I think there will be something here for everyone.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz is one of the scariest books that I remember from my childhood, and if you’ve read it before you’ll know that ‘Harold’ is a story that will keep you up all night. It’s been brilliantly re-issued with illustrations by Brett Helquist, but if you can find the original edition with illustrations by Stephen Gammell it’ll add another level of scary to the stories. The original illustrations are some of the most chilling I’ve ever seen.
If you want to keep your scary stories local, the Haunted Canada series is full of terrifying true stories of hauntings across Canada. The sixth edition just came out this year, and there’s a story set in Winnipeg that inspired me to keep my hall light on all night.
My last short story recommendation is a collection of short stories set in a terrifying woods, written and illustrated by Emily Carroll. Through the Woods is a sinister page turner that will be impossible for you to put down.
Moving away from short stories, there are two authors that every teen horror fan knows. R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. This is a great place to start if you want a scary novel to read late at night. In Christopher Pike’s Until the End a high school party becomes the setting for the horrific death of a student. The death is declared a suicide, but a group of students know that isn’t true. They have to find the murderer, or become victims themselves. R.L. Stine wrote the classic horror series, Fear Street and I’d suggest Party Games the tale of a birthday party that turns into a game of murder, on the well named Fear Island.
My last recommendation is that you check out some of the classics that have been sending chills down spines for more than a hundred years. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has inspired hundreds of adaptations and re-interpretations, but the original novel holds up as a horrifying story that examines the nature of humanity itself.
Dracula wasn’t the first vampire story, the creatures have existed in myth and legend for hundreds of years, but it is one of the best know. Like Frankenstein, Dracula has been turned into movies, plays and other pop culture adaptations, but the original remains incredibly frightening. If you want to understand the vampires that permeate our pop culture (hello Twilight) Dracula is a great place to start, and a fantastic book all on its own.