It's that time of year when cobweb decorations come out from the basement, horror movies play on repeat and kids dress up as not-so-scary zombies and ghosts. Get into the holiday spirit by grabbing one of these spooky and chilling reads.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Nothing is scarier than an abandoned orphanage. "Miss Peregrine's" is a traditionally 'young adult' novel, but Riggs' story of a forgotten orphanage off the coast of Wales will give even the most skeptical adults a chill. The story begins when 16-year-old Jacob sets off to Wales to find out the truth about his murdered grandfather's past. Jacob arrives at Miss Peregrine's home and meets Emma, a beautiful girl who takes him back in time to the 1940s. Told as a combination of narrative and photographs, "Miss Peregrine's" is the perfect Halloween novel for young and old.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Before "Gone Girl,"Gillian Flynn wrote "Dark Places", a book that's arguably even more gripping than her recent novel. Flynn creates the story of Libby Day, a woman in her 30s who was only seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in an infamous killing. She survived and testified that her then-15-year-old brother was the culprit. Now it's 25 years later and Day finds herself entangled with the Kill Club -- a society obsessed with gruesome crimes. As Day reconnects with the incidents of that night, she finds herself on the run from a killer once again. "Dark Places" doesn't dream up ghosts and goblins, but the thrilling chase Flynn leads you on will have you on the edge of your seat.
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Who doesn't like a good ghost story? The year is 1940 and Dr. Faraday is sent to a mansion in Warwickshire, England to treat a 14-year-old parlormaid named Betty. Once a sprawling and beautiful estate, the Georgian house he enters is dilapidated and crumbling. Its owners, the Ayresses, are struggling to keep the appearances up, but they are haunted by more than just an old house. Dr. Faraday finds Betty in good health but terrified of a "bad thing." Soon, Faraday finds himself intertwined in the lives of the Ayresses and in love with a house that holds its own secrets.
The Modern Library
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
If you didn't read this Henry James classic in high school, now is the time. Told through an unknown narrator, the story follows a young governess who takes a job at a hidden home to care for two children. Soon, the governess begins to see a dead woman and a dead servant in the home, and becomes convinced that the two children are being possessed by them. Everything in this book is ambiguous, which makes for a truly eerie read.
The Shining by Stephen King
A list of Halloween books wouldn't be complete without Stephen King. Sure, "The Shining" is a classic movie, but the book version is even better. The premise of the book is the same: A father heads to an off-season resort with his family to take care of it over the winter. The father is an alcoholic, and the son is a psychic who can see spirits in the creepy hotel. Eventually the father succumbs to his demons, and the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred as his sanity deteriorates. The movie does it well, but the book allows your imagination to fill in the creepy details.
What do you think? What are you reading to get into the Halloween spirit?