Staff Picks: The Best Books for Halloween

Text: Best Books for Halloween. Description: Frankenstein-era woman reading a spooky tale by candlelight.

Our Recommendations for Spooky Reads

As the days grow short and the nights grow longer, there is often a need to read something spooky by candlelight. The blog team here at San José Public Library has assembled our favorite picks about things that go *bump* in the night.

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Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker

Clive Barker has an uncanny gift of writing the most beautiful horror prose. He takes the grotesque, monsters and murder, and weaves fantastical stories which you can't put down. Coldheart Canyon is the name of an old, forgotten mansion in the Hollywood Hills. The original owner was a 1920s starlet, who sought pleasure in all its forms. When a modern day actor moves in to rest after a surgery he discovers the mansion is not as empty as it appears. Full of ghosts, creatures, and unspeakable horrors, Coldheart Canyon is the perfect book to get your spook on this Halloween. Not for the faint of heart, mature audiences only! - Erin B.

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The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Monsters are the focus of this collection of Angela Carter's retellings of classic fairy tails. Monsters take the form of husbands, lovers, fathers, and even grandmothers. In one case the main character herself embraces beast-hood through her sexual awakening to become a monster herself. One thing that stands out to me the most about this book Carter's dream like imagery that insert moments of beauty into what are often bleak or grotesque stories. The Bloody Chamber is a must read anyone interested in alternative takes on fairy tails. - Jason P.

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Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

After a tragedy, the Locke family move back to their family homestead of Keyhouse for some peace and quiet. But things quickly become creepy after the youngest begins to discover odd things about the two-hundred year-old home, and an ancient well that holds someone (or something) that desperately wants out. This 6-part graphic novel series, penned by Stephen King's son Joe Hill, is often impossible to put down and will keep you up way past your bedtime. Full of mystery, suspense, murder and mayhem, Locke & Key is a must read for mature readers. Also available on Hoopla. - Jessica N.

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11/22/63 by Stephen King

This intense novel comes from the dark mind of Stephen King. It is a work of historical fiction, with a twist. When high school English teach Jack Epping is enlisted by a dying friend to complete a mission, he has no idea the course his life will now take. He is entrusted to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but the only way to do this is by befriending loner Lee Harvey Oswald. The gripping tale will certainly keep you awake. Also available in eBook format via OverDrive. - David F.

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

For a lot of readers the hardest question to answer is, "What is your favorite book?", but for me the hardest question is, "What is your favorite scary story?". Horror was my favorite genre for most of my life. From Shirley Jackson to Stephen King to check-out stand pulp novels—I loved it all.

In recent years my love has changed. As the horrors of the real world have become more visceral, the horror genre has offered less of an escape. However, I still love a good scary folktale, and I believe that love can be traced all the way to my early childhood when I started reading Alvin Schwartz. The stories I remember most are Wonderful Sausage and The Hearse Song. If you haven't read this book in a long time, or it is your first go; head into the children's section and be prepared for a bump in the night. Also, check out the sequels More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories 3. - Amelia VH

Your Recommendations

What's your favorite scary story? Tell us in the comments below.

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