Scary Books For Scaredy Cats: A Halloween Reading List For Mom


There’s a chill in the air, pumpkin spice is back, and soon October will be here. For some it’s a time for scary movies, jack o’ lanterns, goblins, and ghouls. For others, like me, we have to tolerate “spooky season” in order to get to the heart of fall.

Even as a kid I remember boycotting TV during October in order to avoid accidentally catching a scary movie or commercial. I avoided Goosebumps at all cost, and if a book hinted at a ghost being present, I immediately abandoned it. Don’t even get me started on how intimidated I am by Stephen King. 

However, as an adult who loves fall in all its glory, I have learned over the last couple of years that I can enjoy the perks of October without losing anymore sleep than I already do. That includes reading some fun books.

If you’re like me and want to read some “scary, but not-so-scary books” in October, here are five of my favorite books to try. 

1. There’s Someone Inside Your House

by Stephanie Perkins

My number one rule for choosing scary books is try something a teenager would read. This book has all of the great qualities of a slasher film, but it’s a young adult title so it doesn’t contain anything too graphic or scarring. This one will get your heart racing, but you’ll still be able to get some sleep at night.

2. Bone Gap

by Laura Ruby

This book isn’t a traditional “horror” title, but it still contains the makings of a great thriller. As another young adult title, it is guaranteed to keep you turning pages without the usual paranormal suspects.

3. The Darkest Part of the Forest 

by Holly Black

This one is a darker fantasy surrounding faeries. Not necessarily scary, but definitely great for cuddling up on the couch on a chilly October evening. 

4. The Black Cat

by Edgar Allan Poe

In true nerd fashion, I must recommend a Poe short story for October reading. Short, but with all the suspense of a longer piece, this work is perfect for spooky season. 

5. Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein is a true classic that’s on my October reading list. It is the perfect horror novel to read around Halloween!

What are your favorite books to read during October? 


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Kelsey Arender is a Lexington native who fell in love with her work in libraries in 2012. Prior to her recent career change, you could find her at the public library's children department. Now, she happily works in a middle school library. On the weekends, Kelsey and her husband, William, enjoy watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, attending church, and reading with their one-year-old daughter. Kelsey's favorite things include endless mugs of coffee, cozy sweaters, rainy days, and laughing with friends. She may be an introvert but if you start a conversation about personality types, toddlers, or hygge, you'll make a fast friend. You can find her hanging on Instagram at @we_all_get_sleepy.


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