By Megan Parish

October is my favorite time of year, and there’s nothing better than finding a perfect, spooky book to curl up with as the days get shorter and colder. EVPL has hundreds of books, movies, and CDs to help you get in the Halloween spirit, but I’m going to a highlight a few of my favorites that are available in our collection.

For Middle School Readers

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous. But there’s another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. 

(Summary from Amazon)

This well-loved is truly a great read for all ages (with a great movie adaptation we also have available!), but is an especially fitting book for rambunctious and adventurous kids. This chapter book is short and sweet, with haunting illustrations that will leave you spooked.



Where the Woods End by Charlotte Salter

Twelve-year-old Kestrel lives in a seemingly endless forest, and in order to escape she will need to defeat her Grabber, a creature that builds its body to reflect her greatest fear.

This chapter book is one I haven’t read yet, but the title and cover drew me in immediately. It’s received strong reviews from other readers and it’s one I plan to read before fall is over!




Thornhill by Pam Smy

1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.
2016: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.

Half graphic novel, half traditional prose in the form of diary entries, this thick book may look intimidating but ends up flying by. This book is full of eerie images, suspense, and a common theme any middle schooler can relate to – the desire to be accepted. The darker subject matter of this book makes it more appropriate for older tweens and early teens.

For Teen Readers

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Seventeen-year-old Evie O’Neill is thrilled when she is exiled from small-town Ohio to New York City in 1926, even when a rash of occult-based murders thrusts Evie and her uncle, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult, into the thick of the investigation.

The Diviners is the first book in a planned quartet (four books) and one of my personal favorites. The library currently houses the three equally creepy novels that have been published so far, meaning you’ll be able to binge read this series with us with plenty of time to spare before the finale is released. This book is perfect for teens looking for a diverse, compelling, and creepy read this Halloween.



Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.
These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.
Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…

(Summary from Goodreads)

This graphic novel combines beautiful, unsettling images with goosebump-inducing stories. Laid out into seven sections (a prologue, five stories, and an epilogue), this is a great book for readers who want to pick up a book on a lunch break or before bed and be able to start and finish a story in one sitting.


Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

After girls mysteriously disappear on the island of Sawkill Rock, three unlikely friends come together to destroy the Collector, a monster from another world who grows stronger with each kill.

This book is currently at the very top of my to read list, and has been one of my most anticipated releases of 2018. At the heart of this story lies a creepy legend and four girls, each telling their perspective in alternating chapters. Like The Diviners, this one is better for those with a little time to devote to a new story, but this one will stand alone with no sequels, giving it a cleaner finish.



For Adult Readers

My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris

Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late ’60s Chicago, and narrated by 10-year-old Karen Reyes, Monsters is told through a fictional graphic diary employing the iconography of B-movie horror imagery and pulp monster magazines. As the precocious Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her beautiful and enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, we watch the interconnected and fascinating stories of those around her unfold.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters may be the largest graphic novel you’ll ever read. This fact might be less surprising knowing the author spent 6 years writing and illustrating her book while recovering from West Nile Virus, which caused her paralysis in her lower body and one arm. This story and its images are mysterious and unique, and speak on the theme of feeling like an outsider.


Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from. Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat–blindfolded–with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

(Summary from Goodreads)

It’s hard to share much about Josh Malerman’s Bird Box without giving anything away, but this story is terrifying and unusual. It will definitely leave you on the edge of your seat and may cause you to check over your shoulder every now and then. This book is perfect for those who are more afraid of what can’t be seen than what can.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

(Summary from Goodreads)

As with any good short story collection, it’s hard to sum up this group of work in any way that is short, sweet, and to the point. Machado is original, unflinching, and experimental with her work, and while many horror readers have already perused what authors like H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, or M.R. James have to offer, Machado is new to the scene.

Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff

Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, twenty-two year old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned Atticus’s great grandmother—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

(Summary from Goodreads)

While there are ghosts and ghouls to be found in this book, Lovecraft Country is a good example of how reality can be more horrifying than any monstrous creation an author may come up with. This book is a good pick for those who don’t mind some direct social commentary with their supernatural scares.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Four people seek evidence of haunting at an abandoned mansion only to learn that the mansion is gathering its powers to make one of them its own.

I had to include at least one classic! Shirley Jackson is a master of keeping readers on the edge of their seats and I would fully recommend checking out her other works, like We Have Always Lived in the Castle, or the famous short story, The Lottery. I’ll stick with The Haunting of Hill House as my main recommendation, however, because we also have two movie adaptations of the book on DVD (The Haunting (2003) and The Haunting (1999))  and Netflix recently released a new series inspired by it.



To Watch

To keep you up at night: The Blair Witch Project

Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.

(Summary from IMDb)





To make you laugh: Shaun of the Dead

A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.

(Summary from IMDb)





To make you think: Get Out

When Chris, a young African-American man, visits his white girlfriend’s family estate, he becomes ensnared in the more sinister, real reason for the invitation. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined.

(Summary from Amazon)



To watch with the family: Goosebumps

A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.

(Summary from IMDb)






Megan Parish
Experience Facilitator

Megan Parish

Megan is a horror, YA book, and cat enthusiast. She received her Bachelors degree in English literature.

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