If you’re more into treating than tricking then this Halloween why not light some candles, pour yourself a stiff drink and curl up with one of these creepy books? You can even get dressed up – and I promise I won’t tell anyone.
#1 Black Juice by Margo Lanagan
A short story anthology including the disturbing tale, Singing My Sister Down which is as dark as the tar pit where it’s set.
“Mumma stepped straight out, as if she’d just herself that moment happened to decide to. We went after her—only us, Ik’s family, which was like us being punished too, everyone watching us walk out to that girl who was our shame.”
#2 Pet Sematary by Stephen King
I read this when I was thirteen and it disturbed me so much that each night I would lock it in a box at the back of my wardrobe then lay awake, wide eyed hoping no dead animals would break out from the pages.
“And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity.”
#3 Beloved by Toni Morrison
This novel is the definition of highbrow Halloween and at the same time one of the most chilling things you’ll ever read because vengeful ghost babies are the creepiest.
“Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place–the picture of it–stays, and not just in my remory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think if, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.”
#4 Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
An Aussie classic set around a real geological formation of the same name in Victoria. The story focuses on the disappearance of a group of school girls at the rock and the effects on the community in the wake of the mystery.
“Although we are necessarily concerned, in a chronicle of events, with physical action by the light of day, history suggests that the human spirit wanders farthest in the silent hours between midnight and dawn. Those dark fruitful hours, seldom recorded, whose secret flowerings breed peace and war, loves and hates, the crowning or uncrowning of heads.”
#5 Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl
Another short story anthology featuring tales which are equal parts macabre, horror and black humour. You may never look at little old landladies or roast lamb the same way.
“When she walked across the room, she couldn’t feel her feet touching the floor. She couldn’t feel anything except a slight sickness. She did everything without thinking. She went downstairs to the freezer and took hold of the first object she found. She lifted it out, and looked at it. It was wrapped in paper, so she took off the paper and looked at again — a leg of lamb.”
#6 The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare
With witches, murder, madness and politics, the Scottish Play is the perfect read on Halloween. Add to that the fact the script apparently uses the spells of real witches – causing them to curse the play. To say Macbeth in the theatre is to doom the production to failure and worse, cause injury or even death to the cast.
“Double,double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”
#7 The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
A story about a supernatural protagonist who teaches us what it means to be human. The werewolf in this novel is the allegory of the monster within us all – plus he’s kinda funny.
“Reader, I ate him.”
#8 Zone One by Colson Whitehead
In the hands of a Pulitzer-nominated novelist this story is literary zombie fiction at it’s finest. That may sound like an oxymoron but so does the living dead.
“We never see other people anyway, only the monsters we make of them.”
#9 The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
Contemporary gothic fiction dealing with a less than human child and a family’s struggle to love and accept him. If you haven’t figured it out by now creepy baby stories really freak me out.
“We are being punished, that’s all.” “What for?” he demanded, already on guard because there was a tone in her voice he hated. “For presuming. For thinking we could be happy. Happy because we decided we would be.”
#10 Dracular by Bram Stoker
We’ve had stories featuring ghosts, witches, werewolves and zombies so it seems only fair for vampires to get a mention.
“Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplate by men´s eyes, because they know -or think they know- some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain.”
What is your favourite Halloween read? Let us know in the comments.