13 books to give you chills this Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, and though we’re heading into the dead hot days of summer rather than the cold, dark nights of winter like our friends in the northern hemisphere, there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy the chills and atmosphere of this old seasonal celebration. Try some of these spooky, eerie, witchy, ghosty stories (all available from your local Cockburn library – just click the links), and think twice before you turn off the lights…halloween collage 1

  1. The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill
    This chilling horror novel is bite-sized, but packs a creepy punch far beyond its page count. The death of a reclusive old woman in Victorian England brings a London solicitor to her crumbling house that is slowly sinking into a marsh. Expecting a quiet week of sorting papers, the solicitor begins to suspect that all is not right when he starts hearing noises inside the house, and children crying in the fog that descends outside. A classic gothic horror with a devastating ending.
  2. Slade House, by David Mitchell
    The newest offering from the author of Cloud Atlas sounds spooky, ghostly, and fascinating. Every nine years, on the last Saturday in October, twins Norah and Jonah Grayer invite one person into their home. Once you enter Slade House, you’ll find that you don’t quite want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t…
  3. The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
    Jackson was the master of the atmosphere of claustrophobic dread, and things are certainly not what they seem in this slim volume of horror and madness. A young woman escapes the confines of her controlling family to spend a month in a haunted house, because no one really believes in ghosts, do they? What follows is a tense descent into madness, a psychological horror that leaves the reader wondering just who, if anyone, is sane in the world.
  4. The Terror, by Dan Simmons
    All the best horror stories are historical – after all, what’s more terrifying than knowing that nothing can be done? Based on the true story of the ill-fated 1845 Franklin Expedition, 126 men are trapped on their ships in ice that hasn’t thawed for two years, suffering from extreme cold, poisoned food, and something else that lurks out on the ice…
  5. The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
    A classic of bloodless terror, the sense of unease and creeping dread pervades this turn-of-the-century ghost story. A young, inexperienced governess is charged with the care of Miles and Flora, two small children abandoned by their uncles at his grand country house. She sees the figure of an unknown man on the tower and his face at the window. It is Peter Quint, the master’s dissolute valet, and he has come for little Miles. But Peter Quint is dead.
  6. The Daylight Gate, by Jeanette Winterson
    Another small book that drips with the visceral imagery of horror, as much for the danger of being an independently wealthy, godless woman in 17th-century England as for the actual supernatural elements that appear. Alice Nutter, landowner, atheist, and defender of the poor, has struck a bargain with the Dark Gentleman. She stays young while folks around her age, and she does not see the harm in the fact that thirteen poor and starving women meet on nearby Pendle Hill and call themselves a coven. A cold and sparsely-told true story about the English witch trials.
  7. The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman
    Don’t be confused by the word ‘comics’ – the Sandman graphic novels are anything but funny. Over ten dark, intense volumes Gaiman and a series of artists explores the myths and legends that drive modern fantasy and horror fiction: gods from every pantheon, mass-murderers old and new, normal people who refuse to die, quite a lot of Shakespeare, and watching over it all, halloween collage 2the brooding, omniscient figures of Dream and Death. Start with Volume One: Preludes & Noctures.
  8. Hallowe’en Party, by Agatha Christie
    The queen of murder mysteries was no stranger to the lands of terror and despair – after all, spending that much time inside the minds of cold-blooded killers must have some effect. At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce – a hostile thirteen-year-old – boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub.
  9. The Worst Witch, by Jill Murphy
    You won’t find much horror in this much-adored precursor to Harry Potter, but you will find a delightfully well-realised world of witches, cauldrons, familiars and hob-nailed boots. Mildred Hubble is a trainee witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy, and she’s making an awful mess of it. She’s always getting her spells wrong and she can’t even ride a broomstick without crashing it. Will she ever make a real witch?
  10. Jamaica Inn, by Daphne du Maurier
    Du Maurier was a master of the atmosphere of dread; her stories ooze despair and gothic horror. Mary Yellon, sent by her dying mother to live with family in the isolated Jamaica Inn on the Cornwall coast, discovers that her domineering uncle is terrorising more than just her aunt. A gothic tale of smuggling set in the early 19th century.
  11. The Shining, by Stephen King
    I’m sure you don’t need a recommendation to read Stephen King, but even if you’re a horror wimp (like me) you can still appreciate the truly unsettling vibe of the empty, isolated hotel story. Danny Torrance’s father moves the family to the Overlook Hotel to take care of it over winter. But if the hotel was meant to be empty, who was the lady in Room 217, and who were the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why did the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
  12. The Ghost Stories of M.R. James
    A frequent addition to collections of ghost stories, Montague Rhodes James was one of the best, switching effortlessly between horrifying creature stories to bone-chilling hauntings and adventure tales with truly terrifying endings. James edges out the more popular classic horror choices (Poe, Lovecraft) for me because his writing is easily readable, he gets straight to the13 through the woods carroll point, and he has a horrible, glorious way of getting under your skin with imagery – a man puts his hand beneath his pillow and feels a hairy face and teeth there, the sole browser of a dusty library shelf turns to reveal eye sockets covered with cobwebs, and you could have sworn the man in that picture was further away yesterday…
  13. Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll
    If Sandman didn’t convince you that graphic novels can leave you looking over your shoulder, Emily Carroll will do the trick. This collection of five dark fairy-tales and nightmare reminiscences are illustrated with eerie innocence by the author, and they’ll leave you with the lingering suspicion that there really might be something under your bed…

For me, Halloween scares are all about the looming dread, the threat of something otherworldly, rather than straight up horror and gore – but that could just be my own unfortunate childhood experiences with horror movies! What are some of your favourite Halloween reads?


Leah

Author: Leah

I work as the Reader Services Librarian at Spearwood Public Library. I order the books, and I take requests for anything you can't find in the library! I also research and write local history articles for the Cockburn Soundings, and for anyone who has a local history question.

Share This Post On
468 ad

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »

13 books to give you chills this Halloween

by Leah time to read: 6 min
0

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Google Plus

Follow Me on Pinterest
  • STEM Activities: Learning about Constellations - Crafts, Sculptures, & iPad App

    Pinned: 8 Aug 2016
  • For guest room! They did this every night on our cruise and I loved it!

    Pinned: 5 Aug 2016
  • Rainbow cow

    Pinned: 2 Aug 2016
  • 30 Inspirational Quotes from Fictional Teachers and Mentors - Playgroundequipme... - Infographic

    Pinned: 2 Aug 2016
  • Your preschool and/or kindergarten students will have fun creating our C Is for Cat letter craft and letter-sound association activities for the hard "Cc" sound as in "cat."  C Is for Cat Letter Craft What you need:

    Pinned: 2 Aug 2016
  • More 2D Shape Animal Crafts A Fox Freebie!

    Pinned: 2 Aug 2016
  • My rule of life: #1 "If you want something you never had, you have to do something you've never done."

    Pinned: 27 Jul 2016
  • Do what is right, not what is easy. -- read: http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/09/16/12-laws-of-happiness-that-will-change-your-life/

    Pinned: 27 Jul 2016
  • Paper Bag Ninja Craft for Kids ...Hi-Yah! | I Heart Crafty Things

    Pinned: 22 Jul 2016
  • These are some beautiful quotes to read when you are depressed, sad or just need a little bit of motivation! Love yourself, read them, raise and shine!

    Pinned: 22 Jul 2016

Instagram

Follow Me on Instagram
  • #infographic #annualreport #libraries #cockburnlibraries #librariesofinstagram #cityofcockburn

    cockburnlibraries: "#infographic #annualreport #libraries #cockburnlibraries #librariesofinstagram #cityofcockburn"
    18
    2
  • Cupcake detectives! School holiday fun. Still spots available for next week's activities.

    cockburnlibraries: "Cupcake detectives! School holiday fun. Still spots available for next week's activities."
    13
    1
  • Comedy workshop for 12-17 y/o. #sidesplitterfest #cityofcockburn #hamiltonhill

    cockburnlibraries: "Comedy workshop for 12-17 y/o.
#sidesplitterfest 
#cityofcockburn #hamiltonhill"
    10
    0
  • Testing day for our #schoolholidays which is all about #science you can eat or #food there are still some places available at Spearwood and Coolbellup. Visit our website for more information and to book. #librarylife #library #librariesrock #librariesofinstagram #cooking

    cockburnlibraries: "Testing day for our #schoolholidays which is all about #science you can eat or #food there are still some places available at Spearwood and Coolbellup. Visit our website for more information and to book. #librarylife #library #librariesrock #librariesofinstagram #cooking"
    20
    0
  • Win tickets to the new #captainunderpantsmovie. Competition details on our website

    cockburnlibraries: "Win tickets to the new #captainunderpantsmovie. Competition details on our website"
    13
    0
  • "Share a cuppa. Save a life" #ruok? #ruokday

    cockburnlibraries: ""Share a cuppa. Save a life" #ruok? 
#ruokday"
    13
    0
  • Sonia and Ella getting cosy with ☕️, 🍰 and a 📖 Celebrating #AustralianReadingHour. #brbreading. . #reading #readabook #libraries #coffee #perthcoffee #perthcafes #cockburnlibraries #cockburnlife #cityofcockburn #library #successlibrary #success #cockburncentral #librariesofinstagram #love2read

    cockburnlibraries: "Sonia and Ella getting cosy with ☕️, 🍰 and a 📖 
Celebrating #AustralianReadingHour.
#brbreading.
.
#reading #readabook #libraries #coffee #perthcoffee #perthcafes #cockburnlibraries #cockburnlife #cityofcockburn #library #successlibrary #success #cockburncentral #librariesofinstagram #love2read"
    30
    2
  • Reading material sorted, plus free coffee & cake, for #australianreadinghour

    cockburnlibraries: "Reading material sorted, plus free coffee & cake, for #australianreadinghour"
    19
    1
  • #esmartweek

    cockburnlibraries: "#esmartweek"
    16
    1
  • New laptops for #coderdojo. Coding for kids.

    cockburnlibraries: "New laptops for #coderdojo. Coding for kids."
    34
    1