Claire and Marshall of Halloweens Past
Happy Halloween, friends! In honor of the spookiest holiday, I thought I’d give you a list of some of my favorite chill-inducing books, at varying levels of scariness.
- The Exorcist by William Blatty
If you’re looking for a truly horrific read, this is a great place to start. The beginning of this novel is so deeply unsettling and anxiety-inducing that I couldn’t read it at night. For me at least, once I got further into the novel and the horror became more explicit it was easier to read than in the beginning when vaguely creepy events were taking place. However, that didn’t diminish the horror.
In addition to being a creepy read, this book raises really interesting questions about religion and demon possession that I found fascinating, and I ended up finding it more thought-provoking than scary.
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Let’s be honest–a novel marketed to children has no business whatsoever being as scary as Coraline is, but the fact that it is is what truly makes it great. It’s creepiness has no age, and it has relatable messages for everyone about family, fantasy, and real life.
- Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
If you’re more of a non-fiction reader, look no further. Like many people, I read this book when I was too young and no one was looking, and it left a very lasting impression on my young true-crime-loving self. It. Was. Terrifying. It’s the rare non-fiction that reads like fiction, and the narrative is compelling and all the more horrible because it’s all true. Don’t read it when you’re home alone.
- It by Stephen King
If you have more time to spare and want to be scared for 1,000 pages, obviously It is the book for you. I’ve read a fair amount of Stephen King, and It is my favorite (excepting The Stand, which I don’t really consider horror). There are some seriously shiver-inducing images and events, but it also grapples with very real themes and fears: the helplessness of children, and the complicity of communities in perpetuating terror against the helpless.
If your preferred Halloween activity is cozying up with a spooky book (I hear you), I hope this list gives you a place to start! Everyone be safe tonight and may your Halloween be exactly as scary as you’d like it to be.