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Is there a better way to spend autumn than curled up with some comfy blankets, a nice cup of warm tea and a good book? Personally, I don’t think so. This list is perfect for those in search of scary books that will get you right into the fall and Halloween mood!

I’d also like to recommend a few methods of obtaining these novels in order to read them. They, of course, can be purchased at a bookstore, but here are a few other options:

  • Check with your local library.
  • Download the Libby app, connect it to your library card, and check out the e-books or digital audiobooks just like you would a normal library book.
  • Try a few used book websites. Thriftbooks or Better World Books are just a couple options.

“A Banquet For Hungry Ghosts” by Ying Chang Compestine

Average GoodReads Rating: 3.5 stars

Anyone whose interests include horror novels, cooking or Chinese history and culture, this one’s for you. “A Banquet of Hungry Ghosts” references the Chinese idea that if someone dies hungry or unjustly, they will return to haunt the living. Not only is each chapter titled after a dish, but a recipe is included for those who would like to make it for themselves. Ying Chang Compestine tells the stories of eight ghosts throughout varying time periods, including historical details related to each tale. Reviewers describe it as “thrilling, intriguing, and perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit.”

“Alice Isn’t Dead” by Joseph Fink

Average GoodReads Rating: 3.5 stars

My Rating: 4 stars

A novel by the creator of the popular horror podcast Welcome to Nightvale, “Alice Isn’t Dead” is a disturbing book that will keep you wondering. With charming characters and captivating horror elements that will leave you unsettled, Alice Isn’t Dead is a binge-worthy read!

“Coraline” by Neil Gaiman

Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

My Rating: 5 stars

That’s right — the unnerving stop-motion movie you may have seen years ago is also a book! “Coraline” is one of my personal favorites, managing to be simultaneously charming and spine-chilling. Telling the story of a girl investigating her “other family” found on the other side of a strange door, “Coraline” is a truly unique story in the horror genre. Other readers describe it as “intimately eerie, delightfully dark, and ravishingly wonderful.”

“Mongrels” by Stephen Graham Jones

Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

An incredibly realistic take on werewolves that will leave you questioning the possibility of their existence, “Mongrels” is a coming of age story about a family of outcast werewolves and their travels across the American South. Readers describe it as “unique, brutal, and endearing.” Recommended for those who want a more relaxed take on the horror genre!

“The Girl From The Well” by Rin Chupeco

Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

Telling the story of a centuries-old vengeful ghost who hunts child killers, “The Girl from the Well” is a unique take on the old Japanese legend of the Bancho Sarayashiki. Recommended to those who enjoyed “The Grudge,” “The Ring” and “Dexter.” Readers describe “The Girl From the Well” as “poetic, unsettling, and atmospheric.” One reader suggests pairing this novel with a cup of hot and sweet blood orange tea — apparently they’re a good match.

“The House on Abigail Lane” by Kealan Patrick Burke

Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

A horror thriller novella, “The House on Abigail Lane” is a unique take on the “haunted house” sub-genre. Readers describe it as “cinematic, twisted, and creepy,” and praise the unique writing style. This is perfect for those who enjoy shorter stories, as this novella is less than one hundred pages.

Stories you might like

“The Last House on Needless Street” by Catriona Ward

Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

Readers describe “The Last House on Needless Street” as “disturbing and hauntingly atmospheric.” A thriller, mystery and gothic horror novel, it tells the story of a reclusive man, his daughter, their cat, a murder and a stolen child. A book best read with no prior knowledge of the plot, “The Last House on Needless Street” will keep you on the edge of your seat, hanging onto Catriona Ward’s every word.

“The Monstrumologist” by Rick Yancey

Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

Following the Monstrumologist and his apprentice, who spend their time studying and hunting monsters, “The Monstrumologist” is a stomach-turning novel with wonderfully-executed creatures. Readers describe it as “gut-wrenching, pure literary creativity.” One reader even hails it as a mix of Sherlock and Supernatural — if you’re a fan of either, you’re sure to enjoy this book.

“The Night Wanderer” by Drew Hayden Taylor

AverageGoodReads Rating: 3.5 stars

A horror novel set on a Native Canadian reservation, “The Night Wanderer” is a coming of age gothic thriller with vampires, family conflict and Anishinabe (Ojibwa) culture. There’s also a graphic novel adaptation by the same title, if that’s more your style.

Classics “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley

Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

Readers describe Frankenstein as “heartbreaking, tragically wonderful, and revolutionary.” Modern adaptations just don’t do justice to Shelley’s original writing! Many readers describe this book as less of a terrifying horror story and more so a thought-provoking commentary on living things with a focus on emotions such as anguish and melancholy rather than fear. This novel is recommended to those who enjoy pondering the true meaning of what they read!

“Ring“ by Koji Suzuki

Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

A recommended read for fans of “The Ring” or “Ringu” (the American and Japanese adaptations of this novel), Japanese horror or disturbing mysteries/thrillers. Readers describe “Ring” as “intriguing, unsettling, and fantastic.” After completing “Ring,” enjoy the rest of the trilogy, “Spiral” and “Loop,” then watch the films

“Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin


Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

A collection of creepy short stories with nightmarish illustrations, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” will most definitely leave you unsettled. Readers describe it as “chilling, delightfully disturbing, and occasionally humorous.” “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” could be a great introduction to the horror genre for late elementary to middle school kids — I remember reading it in perhaps fifth grade — or just for those who prefer to be a bit creeped out than completely terrified. After you’ve completed the book, and perhaps the others in the series, you can enjoy the recently-released movie by the same name.

“We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson

Average GoodReads Rating: 4 stars

Described as a “haunting, atmospheric literary masterpiece,” “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” is another beloved novel by “The Haunting of Hill House” author Shirley Jackson. A horror novel that doesn’t feature gore or monsters but instead tackles the ghastliness of the human mind, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” stands out among other books of the genre.

Disclaimer: I’ve not read all of the books listed. I cannot vouch for the contents of these novels, and my descriptions are based on the synopsis and online reviews. Please check content warnings if necessary!

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