I’ve emerged from the hole that is midterm studying to bring to you the first my October horror recommendation series. I wanted to start off with the not-so-scary books and work my way up to the most scary ones for all you that want to be scared this Halloween. So, most of these books do not fall under the true horror genre but I think they’re perfect for October because they have horror elements and there’s something twisted to them. A lot of these I picked because they have a very creepy and dark atmosphere but are not necessarily scary. Enjoy!
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown
If you have a son, daughter, niece, nephew or young one in your life or if you’re just looking for a quick Halloween read with
pictures, I highly recommend this picture book. It’s about a rabbit who eats carrots and then
the carrots from the field come to life and haunt him. The illustrations are drawn in a way that makes you feel like you are watching a silent film which gives it an eerie vibe but the subject content with the rabbits and carrots make this so fun and cute and really not scary at all.
It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
I love this one because Charlie Brown just shows that Halloween is more than just the spook and scare. It’s about the festive atmosphere, about choosing the right pumpkin, going trick or treating with friends. Even if you or a loved one don’t like Halloween, I think you can learn to appreciate it for what it is after reading this (or watching it).
Goosebumps by RL Stine
I’m not really sure how to feel about the Goosebumps movie coming out tomorrow; hopefully it somewhat lives up to the books that made up most of my “silent reading” periods in class. Goosebumps is kind of a rare type of series in that it falls under horror comedy. But the sheer addictiveness of the series comes from its creative uses of ordinary things that turn into something scary. My favorite one was It Came From Beneath the Sink. I never thought sponges could be scary.
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
This one kind of reminds me of a series of Unfortunate Events (also a great October read) in its humor and of course breaking the fourth wall. It’s dark but also darkly funny and sarcastic. It adds horror and humor to our familiar fairy tales though I will say it does get gory at times for a middle grade novel.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
It’s not just about a monster. Because Patrick Ness knows how to write horror (what doesn’t he know how to write). He writes about the horror of grief and the horror of one’s own darkest thoughts. I really liked the scratchy illustrations throughout and it made me cry so much.
The Diviners by Libra Bray
Libra Bray is a master of creating this 1920’s atmosphere and I have never felt so much like I was actually living in that era because not only does she pay attention to dialect, she pays such immense detail to surroundings and the sights and sounds of the 1920’s. But she doesn’t romanticize it either. Add a sprinkle of the supernatural and a creepy serial killer and you have the makings of a great October read.
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
I’ve only read this series by Kagawa but when she writes atmosphere, she writes it well. She writes this world in which
vampires have taken control of humans in a post-apocalyptic world in a bleak, oppressive way that immediately immerses you into her world. A lot of readers praise authors for writing “gritty” worlds when really it’s an excuse for misogyny and sloppy writing but Kagawa portrays a gritty world without having to resort to contrived world building because the dark and mysterious atmosphere already gives you all the grittiness you need.
My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier
This book features one of the best unreliable narrators I’ve read about. It centers around a murder mystery where the narrator Phillips is questioning whether or not Rachel is the murderer even as he slowly starts to fall in love with her. Did she or didn’t she? You, as the reader, are constantly questioning her actions just as the narrator is and if you think you know the ending, think again. It’s written in the Victorian Gothic style so it definitely satisfies that dark undertone (I know dark is vague but that’s actually the best word to describe it..or maybe I just need a thesaurus).
The writing is gorgeous and accessible. Also, I feel like it’s not as angsty as Wuthering Heights.
There’s some books that are on my TBR that would fit this list too including Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake but I haven’t read it yet so I can’t really form an opinion on it. Let me know if you’ve read any of these, what you thought of them or recommend me some books that are not so scary but perfect for October! Also, I’m sorry for the weeklong absence. School has been taking over my life and I have missed writing for this blog a lot.