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

by Sara Dobie Bauer
Sep 20, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. ET

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.

1 /20: 'The Exorcist' by William Peter Blatty

1/20 :'The Exorcist' by William Peter Blatty


2 /20: 'The Silence of the Lambs' by Thomas Harris

2/20 :'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.

3 /20: 'The Autumn People' by Ray Bradbury

3/20 :'The Autumn People' by Ray Bradbury


4 /20: 'The Haunting Season' by Michelle Muto

4/20 :'The Haunting Season' by Michelle Muto


5 /20: 'Pet Sematary' by Stephen King

5/20 :'Pet Sematary' by Stephen King


6 /20: 'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier

6/20 :'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier


7 /20: 'Coraline' by Neil Gaiman

7/20 :'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.

8 /20: 'The Curse of Crow Hollow' by Billy Coffey

8/20 :'The Curse of Crow Hollow' by Billy Coffey


9 /20: 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker

9/20 :'Dracula' by Bram Stoker


10 /20: Edgar Allan Poe

10/20 :Edgar Allan Poe


11 /20: 'Ghost Story' by Peter Straub

11/20 :'Ghost Story' by Peter Straub


12 /20: 'Hell House' by Richard Matheson

12/20 :'Hell House' by Richard Matheson


13 /20: 'Knock, Knock' by S.P. Miskowski

13/20 :'Knock, Knock' by S.P. Miskowski


14 /20: 'Mayhem' by Sarah Pinborough

14/20 :'Mayhem' by Sarah Pinborough


15 /20: 'The Woman In Black' by Susan Hill

15/20 :'The Woman In Black' by Susan Hill


16 /20: 'Heart-Shaped Box' by Joe Hill

16/20 :'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.

17 /20: 'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown' by Holly Black

17/20 :'The Coldest Girl in Coldtown' by Holly Black

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

18 /20: 'The Amityville Horror' by Jay Anson

18/20 :'The Amityville Horror' by Jay Anson

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

19 /20: 'Sharp Objects' by Gillian Flynn

19/20 :'Sharp Objects' by Gillian Flynn

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

20/20 :Pin it!

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