Halloween is almost here, and that means it's the perfect time of year to curl up with a spooky story or a good mystery. Whether you're looking for something truly frightening or just a little bit creepy, we've got something at the library for everyone.
Need help picking out a good read? Check out the displays near the circulation desk and children's room for some ideas.
Personally, I'm a big scaredy cat, so it doesn't take much to creep me out or give me nightmares. I even had to close my eyes during parts of Zootopia, a Disney movie my 4-year-old nephew can watch with no problems what-so-ever. Horror stories will never be my thing, so during October I like to read books that are a little bit spooky but not outright terrifying.
Here are my top five picks for books to read during October:
And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie
Easily Agatha Christie's best story, And Then There Were None is about a group of people who have each been invited to an isolated island home for various reasons (vacation, employment, etc.) by a mysterious host known only as U.N. Owen. When they arrive on the island, they are surprised to be greeted not by their unknown host, but by a recording that accuses each of them individually of having committed murder and escaped justice. Trapped on an island with no way to contact the mainland for help, the guests start being murdered one by one. Is there someone else on the island hunting them down and dispensing justice for the crimes they may or may not have committed? Or could it be one of the guests? Will anyone make it off the island alive? And Then There Were None is an incredibly suspenseful story that will leave you chilled long after you turn the last page.
Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane
My first experience with Shutter Island was listening to it as an audiobook. The ending surprised me so much I nearly drove off the road. Then I promptly demanded every member of my family read the book, too. Shutter Island is about a US Marshal named Teddy who, along with his new partner Chuck, is sent to Shutter Island to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a patient from the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. There's no way off the island except for a special ferry and the hospital patients are kept under close surveillance, so how could a patient possible escape? Teddy's investigation leads to more questions rather than answers as he deals with secretive staff members, insane patients, and his own memories. The less you know about this book going in, the more it will mess with your head as you try to solve all the mysteries of the island alongside Teddy. Shutter Island is full of twists and turns and will leave you speechless in the end. Be prepared to want to start the book from the beginning again as soon as you've finished to see if you can pick up on any clues you missed the first time around!
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series - Alvin Schwartz
If you grew up in the 90s, these collections of stories probably still haunt you. Complete with terrifying illustrations by Stephen Gammell, the Scary Stories series is based on American folklore. Some of the stories are familiar, like Bloody Mary, while others are more obscure. While the books are geared towards a younger audience, the pictures are truly frightening, even for adults. They're so creepy, in fact, that they have cause the Scary Stories series to land on the banned book list year after year. I distinctly remember reading these books as a kid with one hand covering the drawings. Beware - your kids may want to sleep with the lights on after finishing these books!
Goosebumps series - R.L. Stine
The Goosebumps series is perfect for elementary age children looking for a good scare. Each book in the series is independent, so there’s no need to read them in order. No matter what your interests may be – bugs, mummies, ghosts, monsters, medieval knights – there’s a Goosebumps book perfect for you! The books are designed to be scary to a young audience but also mix in some humor. Some highlights of the series include The Haunted Mask, A Night in Terror Tower, Phantom of the Auditorium (a fun take on The Phantom of the Opera), and The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight.
Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe - Edgar Allan Poe
Halloween would not be complete without reading at least one short story or poem by Poe. While The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-tale Heart, and The Raven may be some of his most famous works, my favorite story - and the one I re-read every October - is The Cask of Amontillado. An incredibly short story (just a few pages long), The Cask of Amontillado is narrated by a man named Montressor and takes places during a Carnival celebration. Montressor has been offended by his friend Fortunato in some way and he vows to get revenge during the Carnival. The story follows Montressor as he lures a drunk Fortunato into his trap and carries out his plan. Truthfully, you can't go wrong with any Poe story, but The Cask of Amontillado is creepy because of its simplicity and its insane narrator who is able to rationalize his evil plan. If you're looking for a quick read that's also spooky, go for a story by Poe!
What are your favorite books to read in October? Do you lean more towards scary books like The Shining or classics like Dracula? Or do you prefer lighter stories, like The Witches?