Scary Books That Make Halloween Everyday

Scary Books That Make Halloween Everyday

In the roll up to Halloween, we found this blog by Maddie Crum, Books and Culture Writer, Huff Post. The story describes 10 reads that will keep you up at night, making every night All Hallows’ Eve. Caveat emptor y’all.


In a recent interview with HuffPost, Goosebumps author R.L. Stine said he thought most fears were “universal,” and, for him at least, linked closely with humor. “It’s that same guttural reaction,” he said.

Unlike Stine, I’ve never equated scary with funny — my guttural reaction to reading a scary book is to dwell on the images conjured from its pages as I shift around in bed, unable to sleep. The first book that sent my heartrate soaring higher than after a decent cardio workout was The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, which I listened to on audiobook while carpooling to swim practice. A narrator described a tiny, wormlike cat that wriggled around, possessed. I felt possessed myself, unable to shirk off the thought of a seemingly helpless but actually evil baby animal.

This is the power of scary books: a character like Worm would seem like a farce in a movie, but Snyder’s book, a cult YA classic, describes the anxious feelings of those affected by him — and that, to me, is scarier than clowns and ghouls jumping out from behind corners.

So, in the spirit of Halloween, I’ve gathered up a few books that are psychologically eerie in the way some horror movies just aren’t.

Atheneum Books

The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Jessica buys a runt of a kitten — a tiny creature that her neighbor helps her nurse to health. Adorable, right? NO. WRONG. There is nothing adorable about this story. Jessica names the kitten Worm, which is already a horrible sign. Then, timed perfectly with her acquisition of said kitten, Jessica begins committing increasingly violent acts against her family. She can’t tell whether it’s buried grudges held against her flaky mother that’s making her act this way, or whether her uncharacteristic behavior is due to the fact that she is being possessed by the kitten, which is itself possessed by a bunch of witches. This book may center on a furry creature, but it’s creepy enough to have been banned from school libraries.

Little Brown

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

As its cover implies, Beukes’s horror novel has a “True Detective”-like air about it — season one, to be clear (R.I.P.). In the book, a detective stumbles upon a super-unsettling scene — a victim’s body seems to have been fused together with animal parts, making him part human, part woodland creature. You won’t hear many philosophical musings à la Rust Cole in this book, but there’s an added layer of plot amping up the intrigue: the detective’s daughter is busy chatting with the suspected killer online. The book is set in Detroit, and the characters, like the city, bravely try to hold themselves together in the face of danger…

Continue reading here.

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