Spooky Season Reads for All Ages

Glowing jack-o-lantern with a menacing face in front of a white picket fence.
By Bailey Keimig-Gehrke, Youth Services

Ah, fall. The time of year when the air turns crisp, the pumpkin spice flows, and we all feel the urge to hunker down and read a good, spine-chilling story. Whether you are selecting books for yourself or for someone else, take a look at these spooky season reads for all ages that might just get your heart racing.

My Monster and Me by Nadiya Hussain & Ella Bailey.
Children:
“My Monster & Me” by Nadiya Hussain & Ella Bailey

This picture book introduces readers to a little boy and his monster. The monster is big, furry, and yellow, but the little boy is the only person who can see it. His monster follows him around all day, every day. Sometimes it is easy to ignore, but sometimes it prevents him from playing with his toys, talking to his friends, or paying attention in school. Eventually, the boy’s monster gets so big and disruptive that he breaks down and tells his Gran all about the monster and how it makes him feel. After a while, the boy starts to feel a bit better. It turns out that telling someone about the monster helped make it get smaller! Now that the little boy knows he can control his monster, he is less scared when it shows up.

This story is filled with adorable illustrations that help young readers personify tricky emotions in a way that can help nurture discussion on how to deal with them with the grownups in their lives.

?For more picture books that use imaginary creatures as vessels to make big emotions less intimidating, try “Ruby Finds a Worry” by Tom Percival or “The Whatifs” by Emily Kilgore.

Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang & Kati Bartkowski. A spooky season read.
Middle Grade:
“Whispering Pines” by Heidi Lang & Kati Bartkowski

This delightfully creepy chapter book series has been described as a mix between the series “Stranger Things” and “The X-Files.” The story takes place in Whispering Pines, a small town that has always been full of weird, impossible-to-explain things. The strangeness of the town makes it perfect for Caden’s mother to run her ghost hunting business. But their connection to the paranormal still makes Caden a bit of an outcast. When things take a turn for the creepy and local kids start disappearing, and then showing up with missing eyes and acting like zombies, Caden has a feeling he might be able to help. Teaming up with the new girl in town, Rae, who has her own mysterious past, might be enough to help them get to the bottom of what’s going on in Whispering Pines. 

?For more supernatural spooky season chapter books, try “Hide & Seeker” by Daka Hermon or “Camp Murderface” by Josh Berk. 

The Fell by Caleb Roehrig. A spooky season read.
Young Adult:
“The Fell of Dark” by Caleb Roehrig

Sink your teeth into this fresh vampire story with a spin on the classic paranormal romance. This story follows Auggie, who lives in a suburb of Chicago that is crawling with vampires and other supernatural activity. He is desperate to move somewhere that is both less terrifying and more interestingand where there are more cute guys that he has a chance to datebut his parents refuse to entertain the idea. But life gets a little more interesting when a new vampire shows up with a cryptic warning, apparently meant just for Auggie. Darkness is coming, and Auggie might be the only person who can save the world from succumbing to it. But how is Auggie, a teenager who can’t even pass algebra class, supposed to save the world? And how in the world does he find himself wrapped up in an undead love triangle?

?For more vampire-filled young adult novels, try “In Every Generation” by Kendare Blake or “The Beautiful” by Renee Ahdieh.

All Hallows by Christopher Gold. A spooky season read.
Adult:
“All Hallows” by Christopher Golden

It’s Halloween night, 1984, in Coventry, Massachusetts, and two families are unraveling. Up and down the street, secrets are being revealed, and all the while, mixed in with the trick-or-treaters of all ages, four children who do not belong are walking door to door, merging with the kids of Parmenter Road. Children in vintage costumes with faded, eerie makeup. They seem terrified, and beg the neighborhood kids to hide them away, to keep them safe from The Cunning Man. These odd children claim that The Cunning Man is coming for them and they want the local kids to protect them. But with families falling apart and the neighborhood splintered by bitterness, who will save the children of Parmenter Road?

? For more suspenseful horror stories with mysterious twists and eerie elements, try “Bad Man” by Dathan Auerbach or “Saturnalia” by Stephanie Feldman.


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