13 books for Halloween that you should read

Daniel PrindiiAvatar for Daniel Prindii

By Daniel Prindii

4 min read

During this eerie season, embrace the cozy embrace of a good book, savor a slice of pumpkin pie, or sip a latte, while you allow Halloween tales to send a spine-tingling shiver down your back.

Some believe that Halloween draws its inspiration from Samhain, the ancient Gaelic harvest festival, while others attribute its beginnings to the Christian holiday devoted to venerating saints, martyrs, and departed souls.

No matter the origin and customs, our book suggestions encompass a wide array of captivating themes, including witches, vampires, zombies, haunted houses, historical analysis, and engrossing Young Adult stories.

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

In this book, Stacy Schiff juxtaposes fantasy and reality, so she can create the confusion and hysteria that engulfed the Salem witch trials.

 “Children were accused of witchcraft and ended up confessing to events that were no less convincing than a bedtime story.” Lara Feigel The Guardian book review

Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas

1840 Mexico, vampires, historical fiction, and a bit of romance; in short the second horror novel of Isabel Cañas- writer of “The Hacienda”.

Poems Bewitched and Haunted by John Hollander

Penguin Random House describes the book as follows:

“A delightfully ghoulish array of specters and sorceresses, witches and ghosts, hags and apparitions haunt these pages — a literary parade of phantoms and shades to add to the revelry of All Hallow’s Eve.”

The Halloween Tree By Ray Bradbury

From the author “Fahrenheit 451”, we have a trip through time and space to discover the origin of Halloween.

“If you want to know what Halloween is, or if you simply want an eerie adventure, take this mystery history trip. You couldn’t ask for better than master fantasizer Ray Bradbury.” — The Boston Globe

The Haunting Season by Bridget Collins

If winter is your jam, this book — which features eight bestselling, award-winning authors, will bring you a collection of ghostly and gothic tales.

The Winter of the Witch by # Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch” is a historical fantasy novel, part of the “Winternight” trilogy. It’s a story set in medieval Russia, where firebirds, demons, and witchcraft coexist and battle for all the living souls.

The Witch A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present by Ronald Hutton

If you want a well-researched history book about witches, then this book is the best choice. Ronald Hutton is a British historian and writer of the book “The Triumph of the Moon”— an important title for all those who are interested in Pagan Studies.

The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale by Jon Klassen

Jon Klassen‘s illustrated stories are a good choice for curious kids. In this retelling of a Tyrolean folktale, a touching friendship between Otilla and a skull begins to form. But what will she do when she meets with the headless skeleton?

Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H. P. Lovecraft

You cannot miss the horror and the spooky with a classic, H.P. Lovecraft. In the commemorative edition published by Gollancz and edited by Stephen Jones, you will have over 800 pages of horror, haunted houses, ruins, witches and their familiars, and, of course, his infamous Cthulhu mythos.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

A dark fantasy horror children’s book written by the British writer Neil Gaiman. It was awarded the 2003 Hugo Award for Best Novella, the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers.

The book has an adaptation for the film with the same name ( director Henry Selick), a graphic novel (adapted by P. Craig Russell, colored by Lovern Kindzierski), and a video game. A musical and an opera were also created. A great Halloween combination for the full evening.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Published in 1897 as an epistolary novel, the novel is the iconic book of vampires, vampire hunters, and gothic stories. And, yes there is a Substack, called Dracula Daily, which will send you a newsletter every day when something happens to the characters.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

In 1816, Mary, Percy, John Polidori, and Lord Byron had a competition to see who wrote the best horror story. The result is, probably, one of the most influential novels and an archetype for the monster’s stories.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Another classic is the horror thriller “Rebecca” published in 1938. The novel follows an unnamed woman who marries a wealthy widower and then discovers that he and his house are haunted by his late wife’s spirit. The book was adapted for a play by du Maurier herself in 1939, a film by Alfred Hitchcock, in 1940, and Netflix in 2020.

You can find all the books in this list, and you can add them to your to-read lists.

Halloween can a a great way to meet with friends, neighbors, and family. Carve that pumpkin, go trick or treat and why not, have a read.

If you’ll have a bookish Halloween, tell us your choices in the comments.

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