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19 Incredibly Scary Halloween Books That Are Not for the Faint of Heart

Sara Dobie Bauer is a writer, model and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Her short story "Don't Ball the Boss" (inspired by her shameless crush on Benedict Cumberbatch) was nominated for the Pus...

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Scary books for creepy Halloween nights

Graphics by Becci Burkhart/Sheknows; photos provided by Amazon
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Scary books for creepy Halloween nights

Have you read the slightly spooky Tale of the Canterville Ghost or the YA book Shadows in the Mirror? Yeah, our list of books to read for Halloween kinda blows those not-so-scary stories right out of the water.

It's totally true that it's important to keep a list of Halloween books perfect for kids on hand. We want to keep things festive, but we also don't want the whole family sleeping in the same bed every night in October, so stories with just the right amount of fright are key.

But when the kids go to bed, it's time to light a candle, lock the doors and crank things up a notch. Yup, mama likes to get the crap scared out of her all in the name of Halloween. Ghosts, gore and Hannibal Lecter, oh my!

Check these books out, but be warned. They are not for the meek or helpless.

Originally published September 2015. Updated September 2017.

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'The Silence of the Lambs' by Thomas Harris

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'The Silence of the Lambs' by Thomas Harris

Hannibal Lecter is scarier on the page than on the screen. You don't want to get stuck in this guy's head or kitchen.

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'The Autumn People' by Ray Bradbury

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'The Autumn People' by Ray Bradbury

Autumn is a very scary place to be, what with all the witches, corpses and ghosts howling at your windowpane.

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'The Haunting Season' by Michelle Muto

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'The Haunting Season' by Michelle Muto

What happens when paranormal research at the Siler House turns to an all-out supernatural attack?

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'Pet Sematary' by Stephen King

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'Pet Sematary' by Stephen King

Super gory and filled with bizarre burial rituals plus animals (and people) returning from the dead.

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'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier

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'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier

This ghost story leaves murderous things unsaid — and those "things" go bump in the night.

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'Coraline' by Neil Gaiman

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'Coraline' by Neil Gaiman

A little girl wanders into another world that looks a lot like her own, except her mom has buttons for eyes.

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'The Curse of Crow Hollow' by Billy Coffey

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'The Curse of Crow Hollow' by Billy Coffey

There's a witch on the hill; she's cursed the whole town. And demons wander the nearby wood.

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'Dracula' by Bram Stoker

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'Dracula' by Bram Stoker

There are no glittery vampires here; only monsters who want to murder all that is innocent and good.

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Edgar Allan Poe

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Edgar Allan Poe

The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe is all madness.

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'Ghost Story' by Peter Straub

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'Ghost Story' by Peter Straub

Four old friends made a big mistake, and that mistake is coming to get them, one by one.

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'Hell House' by Richard Matheson

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'Hell House' by Richard Matheson

A house that corrupts all who enter. Do you dare set foot within or will you join the ranks of the damned?

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'Knock, Knock' by S.P. Miskowski

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'Knock, Knock' by S.P. Miskowski

Warned to stay out of the woods, three girls wander in too far and discover something evil won't let them go.

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'Mayhem' by Sarah Pinborough

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'Mayhem' by Sarah Pinborough

Riding the coattails of Jack the Ripper is the grotesque Torso Killer, and an opium addict is on his trail.

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'The Woman In Black' by Susan Hill

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'The Woman In Black' by Susan Hill

In this claustrophobic story of one man's search for truth, he unearths an evil spirit, and she's coming for you.

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'Heart-Shaped Box' by Joe Hill

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'Heart-Shaped Box' by Joe Hill

Using a pen name, you just must read this horror fiction by Stephen King's son. You just must.

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'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown' by Holly Black

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'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown' by Holly Black

Waking up at a party surrounded by dead people is only the beginning.

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'The Amityville Horror' by Jay Anson

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'The Amityville Horror' by Jay Anson

If the movies haven't scared the daylights out of you yet, the 2005 book certainly will.

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'Sharp Objects' by Gillian Flynn

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'Sharp Objects' by Gillian Flynn

For fans of Gone Girl, Flynn takes on a serial killer, and it's truly disturbing.

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Becci Collins/SheKnows; photos provided by Amazon
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