Best Horror Books To Read This Halloween
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Best Horror Books To Read This Halloween

Spooky stories and terrifying tales await

Craving a scare this October? Get into the spirit of Halloween with these frightening narratives, from classic horror books to pop culture legends – just be warned, you may want to head to bed tonight with the lights on…

Best Horror Books For Halloween 2023

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Horror Novels - Frankenstein by Mary Shelley book cover, amazon

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

When we say scary stories, we mean the classics – terrifying monsters, hideous vampires and spooky ghosts. Frankenstein, the work of nineteenth century author Mary Shelley, is one of these classic greats. Considered the first true science fiction novel, Frankenstein tells the story of its namesake Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who builds a monstrous but intelligent creature through a horrifying science experiment.

Favourite Quote: ‘If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear!’

Penguin Classics, £16.14,

Horror Novels - Dracula by Bran Stoker book cover, amazon

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Another traditional terror, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of the most widely recognised monsters in pop culture. Stoker’s novel, told through a series of letters, diary entries and newspaper articles, tells the story of Count Dracula, a vampire and former Transylvanian noble who causes terror amongst the locals. After his true nature is discovered, the count retreats to Whitby, where he attracts more attention than intended…

Favourite Quote: ‘Loneliness will sit over our roofs with brooding wings.’

New American Library, £10.44,

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters book cover

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Fancy something a bit more ghostly? Sarah Waters gives readers exactly that in her gothic horror book, The Little Stranger. Set in a dilapidated mansion in 1940s Warwickshire, The Little Stranger tells the story of Faraday, a country doctor who makes friends with an old gentry family whose fortune visibly crumbles around them. Interweaving themes of class, socialism and post-war Britain, Waters builds a classic ghost story around the country’s fading gentry.

Favourite Quote: ‘Can’t people do hurtful things, sometimes, and not even know they’re doing them?’

Virago, £8.99,

Coraline by Neil Gaiman book cover

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

One of spookiest stories to come out in recent years is Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, a dark fantasy novella that was also adapted into a stop-motion film by Laika Studios in 2009. When Coraline Jones and her family relocate to an old house divided into flats, she finds a small door that leads to an identical copy of the world she left behind. But while her ‘Other Mother’ and ‘Other Father’ seem wonderful at first, giving her all the attention she wished she received from her real parents, they hide ulterior motives for wanting Coraline to stay…

Favourite Quote: ‘When you are scared, but you do it anyway, that’s brave.’ 

HarperCollins, £7.59,

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson book cover

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Brought back into the spotlight by the popular Netflix adaptation of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House invites readers into the lives of multiple characters as they experience terrifying run-ins with Hill House. With paranormal activity running riot in the mansion’s old rooms and halls, the group set out to investigate the spooky presence that invades during the night time. But the questions remains: who will be caught first?

Favourite Quote: ‘Am I walking toward something I should be running away from?’

Penguin Classics, £9.49,

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill book cover

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Inspiring the second longest-running play in the history of the West End, Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is a harrowing ghost story that will leave you feeling rather jumpy. Told through the character of Arthur Kipps, the novel introduces readers to its namesake spectre: The Woman in Black. Believed to appear before death of a child, the ghostly omen haunts Kipps during his time in Eel Marsh House, where he is settling the estate of the recently deceased Alice Drablow.

Favourite Quote: ‘I had been right, this was just the sort of place where superstition and tittle-tattle were rife, and even allowed to hold sway over common sense.’

Vintage, £9.99,

house of leaves

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

A story within a story within a story? Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson and his young family moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Told through a detailed film review of the found footage on Navidson’s camera, it’s difficult to determine which way is up in Mark Z. Danielewski’s magnum opus, which has attracted a cult following. It’s a twisty, unsettling tale that’ll keep you spooked for weeks (it’s over 700 pages long).

Random House, £20.49,

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s famed novel is the perfect spooky Halloween read, telling the story of a young, wealthy, and beautiful man named Dorian Gray who wishes to remain young forever. Exploring hedonism, beauty and the cost of staying young forever, it’s a short and unnerving must-read.

Penguin Classics, £4.30,


Featured image: Getty Images