The long nights are slowly closing in, the trees are shedding their leaves, and the temperature is certainly dropping, so there's no better time to get yourself wrapped up in a good read. This October, why not explore the world of the eerie, the unsettling or the flat-out scary to really get you in the mood for Halloween?
In this article, we take a look at some of the best Halloween reads in the UK. From jaw-dropping slasher novels to educational books for kids, we've ranked the top 10 best paperbacks, eBooks and audiobooks on Amazon and eBay. With creepy works of classic fiction and even freakier true-life tales, we hope you’ve packed your silver cross and string of garlic!
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Table of Contents
With Halloween on the horizon, you may just be after a spooktacular read to send shivers down your spine! In this buying guide, we go over the most important things to consider when searching online for a terrifyingly good book.
Try to identify exactly what you want from your read. Are you looking for a frightening fantasy world with monstrous creatures? Or do tales of the unexplained give you shivers? Deciding between real and make-believe is only the starting point when it comes to finding the perfect Halloween book.
When we think of Halloween themed books, it's usually going to be fiction that first comes to mind. These could be ghost stories, atmospheric tales, monsters and more! Fiction is generally the better option if you’re looking for a bit of escapism, as it allows for thrilling set pieces, intriguing characters and an exciting plot.
Halloween novels and short stories are also easier to digest as our brains are hard-wired to respond to story-telling due to how we have evolved. This makes them a good choice for both avid bookworms and more casual readers.
For some, there is nothing truly scarier than the real-life horrors of this mortal coil. Non-fiction books with frightening themes are another great pick for Halloween. These could be real-life accounts of hauntings or even the truth behind urban legends.
Not all Halloween books need to be scary, and there are plenty of factual and informative books that delve into terrifying traditions and horrible histories. You might want to learn more about the Salem witch trials or gain an in-depth knowledge of strange and unusual deaths, for example.
Some folk scare easier than others, so it's important that the book you choose hits the right tone. Halloween books encompass a broad range of topics and themes, so you'll want to makes sure to find one that interests you, but won't keep you awake all night. Unless that's exactly what you're after!
Are you someone who likes a good fright? You might want to look for books that delve deep into all the gory and grisly details. On the other hand, if you’re known to be a little squeamish, why not look for compelling reads about the history of Halloween or a more wholesome All Hallows' Eve tale?
Finally, if you’re buying a title for a younger audience, then you might want to pick a book that depicts themes of the season, without the fear factor. Kids will love storybooks about pumpkins, funny skeletons and friendly ghosts, especially ones will colourful illustrations!
It’s vital that you consider the audience the book is aimed at, especially when buying books for youngsters. Halloween books may contain themes that aren't suitable for all ages, and can be far too scary for kids.
Luckily, many children's and YA (young adult) works come with a recommended reading age. We would advise following these guidelines to not only make sure that the book you select is at the right level to keep them entertained, but to guarantee that everybody gets a good night's sleep.
Nowadays, there are many different ways to consume books. The format you pick will depend on your reading habits and what's available to buy.
A lightweight paperback is ideal for throwing in your bag to read on the train. However, if you have an eReader or tablet device, an eBook could be the better choice. Hardback books make for fantastic gifts, and coffee table reads. The right ones may even find their way into your yearly Halloween decorations!
Some books are even available as an audiobook or audio CD. These are great for listening to in the car, at the gym or while doing the dishes. These can also be a great option for those with visual impairments, or who prefer to listen rather than read.
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The Year of the Witching
A Dark and Dazzling Journey That Questions Real World Ideas
There's No School Like the Old School
A Christie-Inspired Thriller You Won't Want to Put Down
The Penguin Book of Witches
A Dark History That Will Disgust and Delight in Equal Measure
The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt
Wholesome and Heartfelt Fun for Halloween
Jennifer Finney Boylan
I'm Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted - A Memoir
A Journey to the Heart of a Haunted House
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Scaring the Bejesus Out of Kids Since the 1980s
White is for Witching
A Neo-Gothic Story About Witches and So Much More
Vegetables in Halloween Costumes
A Fun and Silly Book to Engage and Entertain Youngsters
The Book of Extraordinary Deaths – The True Accounts of Ill-Fated Lives
A Book With a Style, Aesthetic and Content Like No Other
This novel follows Immanuelle Moore, who by no fault of her own is considered blasphemous from birth. After all, in the lands of Bethel, the Prophet's word is the law. Like the other women, she tries to dedicate herself to a life of submission, devotion, and total conformity. However, a mishap leads her to into a forbidden wood, where she meets the spirits of four powerful witches.
Bestowing Immanuelle the gift of her dead mother's diary, she begins to learn terrible truths of Bethel. With strong feminist overtones, this is a captivating novel with themes that are all too prevalent in today's world.
Not only did Bram Stoker conceive of one of the most famous characters of all time, but he also popularised an entire genre of literature. The fact that this book is still regarded as one of the greatest literary horrors over 120 years after its first publication should go some way to demonstrating its enduring appeal.
The masterful plot probes into deeper topics of rationality, identity and desire which are as frightening now as they were when the book was first released. For new fans of the horror genre, there's no better place to start than here!
In a nod to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, this novel centres around best friends Meg and Minnie. They're supposed to be away for the weekend of a lifetime, looking forward to days of fun-filled luxury, boys and booze. But, little do they know, there's something sinister lurking.
The literary equivalent of a teen slasher movie, Ten is a fun yet frightening novel that plays on classic character tropes, yet with ample new twists and turns to bring the genre into the 21st century.
If you've often caught yourself pondering the history of witches and witchcraft, The Penguin Book of Witches is a treasure trove of spooky satisfaction.
From court documents at Salem in 1692 to a witch-hunting manual produced by King James himself, this book is an accumulation of historical accounts and legend. This horrifying tour through Europe and North America's dark history will no doubt disgust and delight readers in equal measures.
This is a wholesome and heartfelt story about a little ghost who believes he's just a bit too different to fit in. After all, everyone knows that if you're a ghost, you're supposed to be a sheet. Sheets are light and can soar and twirl, but that's not so easy if you're a quilt. Flying is difficult, it's hard to whirl around, and it's known to get a little hot.
One Halloween, everything changes for the little ghost. Through a turn of events, he finally comes to terms with being the quilt he was born to be.
We've all watched movies or read fiction about haunted houses. But what if you grew up in one? For the author, whispers of human voices, creaking stairs and momentary images in the mirror were common occurrences in the aptly named Coffin House during the 1970s.
It wasn't just the house that was haunted, as Jennifer Finney Boylan was growing into a body she didn't belong in, too. Along with her team of Ghostbusters, Boylan earnestly investigates what it is to be haunted. With her wit, humour and elegance, she helps us find peace with our ghosts, both real and imagined.
Terrifying hoards of children since the early 80s, this creepy collection of stories from Alvin Schwartzis a certified cult classic. This book is filled with eerie stories of dark revenge and skeletons with torn flesh, all brought to life by the equally unnerving illustrations of Stephen Gammell.
If this doesn't get the reader in the mood for Halloween, frankly we don't know what will. If your little monster becomes a fan, then there are a few more books in the series they can read too!
This novel from Helen Oyeyemi has all the classic elements of Gothic literature, but with modern sensibilities. Told from four different perspectives, this is the story of a family that is reeling from misfortune in a mysterious house on the cliffs of Dover.
It's an electrifying and wonderfully lyrical tale that inspires in its expressions of loss, love, myth, magic and mystery. As thought provoking as it is surreal, Oyeyemi's mastery of the written word is certainly bewitching!
This adorable storybook teaches your young one about the ritual of dressing up at Halloween. Carrot is hosting a Halloween party, and all the vegetables are excited to dress up – except Carrot can't make up his mind about what to wear!
A brilliant bedtime read, Chapman delivers lots of laughs as Carrot works his way through a range of spooky, scary and silly costumes. This book truly embraces the goofiness of the holiday and is certain to make both you and your little one smile.
If you're looking for a book with a distinguished style and aesthetic, this offering from Cecilia Ruiz offers has it in abundance. The book is filled with gorgeous illustrations, all of which are narrated via Ruiz's playful and charming dark humour.
The book introduces the reader to some of the most grotesque and freakish deaths of writers, thinkers, monarchs and nobodies from throughout history. From large piles of cloaks causing suffocations to hot-air balloon duels, these stories are both bizarre and fascinating.
With the 31st fast approaching, you'll likely be wanting to get your Halloween preparations well underway. Whether that's trick or treating with the kids, a murder mystery night, or transforming your home into a witches lair, check out these articles for some more spooky inspiration!
There really is something for everyone when it comes to choosing a suitably spooky read. Whether you're after a terrifying tale or a grim adventure, we hope this article has helped you find the perfect book to see you through this Halloween!
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1：Alexis Henderson｜The Year of the Witching
No. 2：Bram Stoker｜Dracula
No. 3：Gretchen McNeil｜Ten
No. 4：Katherine Howe｜The Penguin Book of Witches
No. 5：Riel Nason｜The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt
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