Best Books To Read For Halloween!
October 28, 2015 5:46 AM   Subscribe

"These are books that should get the essence of Halloween going and give people a sure scare!" Goodreads' list of 536 books to get your fright on.
posted by valkane (16 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Related: All Hallow's Read: Give Someone a Scary Book for Halloween!
So what is All Hallow’s Read?
All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book. Scholars have traced its origins as far back as this blog post.

Is this instead of Trick or Treat? Because I don’t want to get egged, and the kids around here are mean.
Not at all. Trick or Treat is Trick or Treat. This is All Hallow’s Read, a great excuse to give someone a book. You can give out scary books or comics to trick or treaters on Hallowe’en if you want to, obviously. (We recommend looking the child in the eye and saying, “Take it. Read it. Trust me… around here… a book can be… safer than candy.” Then chuckling to yourself, as if remembering something unfortunate that happened to some of the local children only last year.)
posted by Fizz at 5:53 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Nothing scarier than a list 500 items long!

Also, I suspect the majority of these can be replaced with subversive readings of the old testament, with a smattering of new testament (you know, for pig exorcisms).
posted by clvrmnky at 5:56 AM on October 28, 2015

Nothing scarier than a list 500 items long!

I don't know....the list could be broken up into split pages. The horror!
posted by Fizz at 6:06 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

500 is definitely a ridiculous number, but it looks like anyone can add any book to the list (and multiple books at that). 121 people voted for Dracula at #1; By the time you get to the bottom of the first page, it's a long list of books less than 5 people have voted for.

As of now my personal vote is at #116; A Night in the Lonesome October by Roger Zelazny is the perfect Halloween read. Each chapter is one day in October, it's a light fun read full of references to literary and film monsters (both human and otherwise), narrated by Jack the Ripper's dog. I used to have an annual tradition of rereading this book every October, until I lent it out a few years ago and never got it back. It's probably time to buy another copy.
posted by Roommate at 6:17 AM on October 28, 2015 [5 favorites]

Unsurprisingly, I have read almost all the books on this list. (I was really really into horror for my teen years and the entirety of my 20s.) The newer stuff I will put on my saved list on my library profile.
posted by Kitteh at 6:23 AM on October 28, 2015

I picked up Salem's Lot last week when I wanted to read a vampire book. I forgot how good King was when editors didn't just rubber-stamp him.

Also my vote for scary-but-not-Halloween-scary is Deliverance. And Dracula really does deserve to be up at the top; I have very little tolerance for old-timey novels, but Dracula is a goddamn pleasure to read.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:36 AM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love The Halloween Tree. I love it. Love it. Love.
posted by oflinkey at 6:47 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

A few of my own Halloween related reading recommendations/favourites:

- Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
- Blackwater: The Complete Caskey Family Saga by Michael McDowell
- Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
- Under the Skin by Michel Faber
- The Rats by James Herbert
- Books of Blood by Clive Barker
posted by Fizz at 6:47 AM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Darn it, I did not need more things on my to read list. Also I was surprised to not see Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatches on the list, it's the best Lizze Borden fights Lovecraftian Horrors book you'll find. I just grabbed the sequel, am looking forward to it.

To get into the proper Halloween Spirit I'm going to reread The Last Halloween on Saturday. It has a good mix of frightening and funny and weird that I've been enjoying.

Also I started listening to TANIS yesterday, I'm a big Black Tapes fan and I some how like this one even better.
posted by lepus at 6:51 AM on October 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Speaking of Halloween-related podcasts:

lepus, have you been listening to Lore by Aaron Mahnke? If not, you should. I linked to it in a previous comment here.
posted by Fizz at 7:01 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

SO GLAD that We Have Always Lived in the Castle is doing so well but I might be biased as I have been accused of being Merricat. Also pleased to see Turn of the Screw making a good showing.

It does look like A Rose for Emily isn't on there at all which is a shame. When I was in eighth grade Mrs. Watson turned out all the lights during English class on Halloween and read it out loud and it was SUPER CREEPY and absolutely fantastic.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:02 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Devil in the White City. One case where truth is creepier than fiction.
posted by unreason at 7:13 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Wait, no M. R. James? [looks stern]
posted by thomas j wise at 11:01 AM on October 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

thomas j wise, I just take it on faith that of course they have read M.R. James! (And that better be true. *shakes fist*)
posted by Kitteh at 11:28 AM on October 28, 2015

I picked up Salem's Lot last week when I wanted to read a vampire book. I forgot how good King was when editors didn't just rubber-stamp him.

Agreed, uncleozzy. I was just talking to a colleague of mine yesterday about what a tight, eerie little book Salem's Lot is. And it doesn't lose in the Stephen-King-atmosphericness from being reasonably-sized, either! It still has those little side mini-stories about different people's different experiences with the ongoing disaster, the way he does so well. It just wasn't allowed to bloat up and lose its strong propulsive throughline. Thank goodness.
posted by theatro at 9:42 AM on October 29, 2015

Halloween story: The Door.
posted by verstegan at 11:15 AM on October 31, 2015

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