Given that we are in the midst of October, it’s the perfect time to talk about scary books that should be on your radar. I don’t know about you, but every year I try to squeeze at least one or two into my fall reading schedule. Sometimes the scary reads are new, sometimes they are beloved favorites, sometimes they aren’t that scary, and sometimes they are downright horrifying. Whether you want a classic like The Haunting of Hill House or a more modern tale like World War Z, there’s a scary read for every taste! Let’s get into some scary reads perfect for Halloween!

Classic Scares

Some books stand the test of time to become classics. Many beloved classics are filed into the horror genre and perfect for October reading. Some include:

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelly
  • The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Collected Stories by H.P. Lovecraft

Spotlight: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

I recently read The Haunting of Hill House for the very first time and it was deliciously terrifying. It’s a slow build and has a creep factor that is psychological. It keeps you in suspense as you wait to find out just what sort of awful phenomena Hill House will create. And there is some truly beautiful prose in this book. I highly recommend reading it. And if you are planning to watch (or have already watched) Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, definitely read the book. The show is a completely different story (aside from the awful house of course) but it takes so much from the book and is a wonderful adaptation. Speaking of which…  

Adapted Scares

So many great horror novels have found their way onto the big and small screen. Here are some of the more popular ones:

  • The Shining by Steven King
  • The Exorcist by William Petter Blatty
  • Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Spotlight: World War Z by Max Brooks

This is one of those books that isn’t quite the typical horror, scary, or even zombie book. But it gets lumped into that genre because of the subject matter. I’ll admit I have not watched the film. But I read the book. And I read it via a full cast audio version. It was brilliant! And there are some very recognizable voices throughout the book. The cast audio version brings the book to life and helps it feel more like the “real” story that it pretends to be.  

True Life Scares

There are those horror stories that pretend to be based on real life events. And then there are those books about real life events that are so horrifying, the books are scary and horror-filled. Here are some of those:

  • The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
  • The Complete History of Jack the Ripper by Philip Sugden
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I’ll be honest. I don’t have a spotlight for True Life scares because I have a tough time with non-fiction accounts of horrifying things.

Lists abound of scary reads to fill your time with this time of year. If you want to explore more potential scary reads to fill your to-read lists, Goodreads has a great collection of lists for numerous types of scary reads. Check out their Horror Week posts for more.

There are so many more sub-genres of horror and non-horror books that are perfect to read this time of year. Let us know in the comments what your favorite scary (or otherwise) read is for the month of October!