With Halloween just around the corner, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite spooky reads to appease the whole family.
Ah, October, where the air is slowly cooling and the ghouls and ghosts are coming out to play – there’s nothing better than cosying up with a good book during this season! We’ve listed a few of our favourite spooky reads for the whole family, from tales of the paranormal to psychological thrillers, we’ve got you covered this Halloween!
Editor’s note: It’s important to note that each child reads at their own pace and differ in maturity level, so the age ranges we have included are more like a guidance rather than set age restrictions. Some may find these suggestions too advanced or not challenging enough, so we’ll leave it to you (and your kids!) to decide what you think is the most appropriate page-turner for your little bookworm.
4-7 Year Olds
Creepy Carrots! By Aaron Reynolds
Perfectly balancing the scare and laugh factors, Reynolds’ illustrated book tells the tale of Jasper Rabbit and the hijinks that ensue when he suspects he’s being stalked by carrots. There’s a reason we recommend this one for a slightly younger audience! It’s perfect for reading out loud while admiring the beautiful artwork. Like with any illustrated book, we recommend you try and get your hands on a hard copy of this one. Find it on Book Depository.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Already beloved and a classic, The Gruffalo has all the makings for a gently spooky read around Halloween time! This one is great to buddy read with an illustrated copy at bedtime. While the tale may be familiar to your little one, it will always be an enjoyable experience for them. Find it on Book Depository.
What Was I Scared Of by Dr. Seuss
What Was I Scared Of is a short story by the much-loved Dr. Seuss – plucked from his anthology The Sneetches and Other Stories – and though it may not be the scariest book on the market, it certainly delivers a great message about fear and tolerance. The experience is only heightened when read aloud under the covers, preferably with a flashlight, perfect for spooky Halloween nights! Find it on Book Depository.
8 – 11 Year Olds
Goosebumps by R.L. Stine
These books have been around since 1992 and with good reason! They are a cult classic, and despite some of the sillier storylines, we’re sure your kids will love the web that R.L. Stine weaves. Each book features different child characters and settings, and often contain twist endings that will be sure to delight your little bookworms. Buy them on Kindle, or find them on Book Depository.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
We love Neil Gaiman’s novels, no matter what age we read them at, and Caroline is the perfect one for the kids this Halloween – it’s worth reading even if your child may have seen the movie already! Simultaneously a spooky fairy tale and ghost story, the story revolves around the strange experiences Coraline and her parents have when they move into an old (and haunted – obviously) house. Buy it on Kindle here, or find it on Book Depository.
12 – 14 Year Olds
The Witches by Roald Dahl
Another classic, The Witches is the perfect read for your preteen this Halloween. Roald Dahl never fails to ignite a vivid imagination with his words, and The Witches is one of our absolute favourites. It is on the darker spectrum of spooky, so we recommend this for slightly older preteens or mature readers. The illustrations add to the reading experience, so we would suggest going for an illustrated hard copy if possible! Buy it on Kindle here, or find it on Book Depository.
Jackaby by William Ritter
Advertised as Sherlock meets Doctor Who, Jackaby is sure to keep your preteen on their toes. Ritter does a masterful job telling the story of Abigail Rook and her escapades in an alternate 19th century New England, with descriptions and world building that are sure to rev up your child’s imagination and get the creative juices flowing. Buy it on Kindle here, or find it on Book Depository.
14 and Older
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Both incredibly eerie and wonderfully gothic, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a YA classic for a reason. Your teen will not be able to put this one down as Ransom Riggs builds a thrilling world full of time loops, monsters and inexplicable, potentially paranormal adventures. The vintage photos scattered through the novel add a new layer to the story, so be sure to pick up an illustrated version. Buy it on Kindle here, or find it on Book Depository.
Carrie by Stephen King
Definitely one for your older children, Carrie is one of Stephen King’s most famous tales, and it is near impossible to not have heard of this story. Revolving around bullied high school student Carrie and her terrifying powers, this one is a little more macabre than our other recommendations, so we do advise caution when passing this to your teenager. Buy it on Kindle here, or find it on Book Depository.
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry
They say fact is often stranger, or in this case, scarier than fiction, and this book will definitely confirm that. If you’re a true crime fan like us, you’ll already have heard of the Manson murders, a series of crimes so unspeakable that even we shudder to think about them despite our tolerance for gory details. Bugliosi was the prosecutor in the 1970 trial of Charles Manson and his first-hand account of the investigation, arrest and prosecution of Manson and his followers may leave you questioning your faith in humanity… perfect for Halloween.
Buy it for Kindle here, or find it on Book Depository.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
You may know Margaret Atwood from her classic The Handmaid’s Tale, but we’re also huge fans of Alias Grace (also a Netflix special worth watching once the kids have gone to bed!). Is Grace Marks a murderess? Atwood will leave that to you to decide. Based on the true story of one of the most infamous women in the 1840s, Alias Grace is at once both sinister and seductive. Under Atwood’s spell, you’ll keep questioning the truth and turning the pages –we got through this one in just a few sittings. Buy it for Kindle here, or find it on Book Depository.
Tangerine by Christine Mangan
There’s just something about a good psychological thriller to send some chills down your spine… and this is no exception. Following two equally untrustworthy narrators as they unravel the mysteries from their past and present, including an accident that led to their initial estrangement, Tangerine has all the makings of the perfect Halloween thriller. It’ll keep you on your toes, and you’ll be in danger of finishing it all in one sitting. There are so many twists and turns that we don’t want to spoil it for you, so be sure to grab this when you’re scouring the shelves for your next read. Don’t want to take our word for it? Mangan did such a good job with this debut novel that it’s already been optioned for a film starring Scarlett Johansson, despite only being published in March this year! Buy it for Kindle here, or find it on Book Depository