Below is a mixed bag of children's/middle grade and grown-up books for getting into the Halloween spirit.
Halloween Night written by Marjorie Dennis Murray and illustrated by Brandon Dorman
See a preview HERE.
This is by far my favorite Halloween picture book. Brandon Dorman is a kickass illustrator (go visit his site), and the pictures in this book will blow you away. The odd perspectives make each and every page so engrossing to explore. Greyson, my two-and-a-half year old, agrees.
Ghostsitters by Angie Sage (part of the Araminta Spookie series)
It's been a while, but this one was a lot of fun -- the illustrations are cute and the story is simple and straightforward. It's marketed for the 7-10 year old set, so it's perfect for read-aloud with the kiddos or a quick afternoon read for the grownups. It reminded me a bit of Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events (but less unfortunate).
Magic Trixie written and illustrated by Jill Thompson
This is an illustrated book for children ages 8-12. It's a lightning-fast read at under 100 pages, and the illustrations are definitely the highlight. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!
Now on with the grown-up books!
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Stephen King's progeny scares the crap out of me. This book didn't have the best ending in the world, but the journey was certainly worth it. There was one particular scene that left me reeling and disturbed. It's not easy to do! I would also recommend Hill's short story collection, 20th Century Ghosts. Awesome.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This book will eat your brain. It's one of those meta books that has footnotes and supposedly real things and found pieces and MADNESS. Oh. so. crazy. Who knew a knock on the door could be scary?
Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates
Maybe not what you'd expect to see on this list. This is a dark, academic novella that left me feeling as if I needed a shower. It falls on the realistic side of scary.
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
If you've been reading this blog for more than five minutes, you knew this would show up on the list. While many readers did not find this book scary in our recent RIP VII readalong, it terrified me. It's a slow build and largely psychological. Those are the things that go bump in my night.
Affinity by Sarah Waters
More Waters??! Why, yes! I think I should. Last week when I was deciding what to pick up next for RIP VII, I decided on this previously abandoned book. Life got in the way! This one is full of creepy spiritualists and a yucky prison. Love!
And what would my list be without some short stories??? I love them all the time, but especially when they're short and Halloweeny.
"Rose of Fire" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
While I was not totally enamored of Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, it was fun to revisit the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in this story. It's a very quick, free read, and it tells how the labyrinth came to be.
"Bloodchild" by Octavia Butler
Last but certainly not least, a short story that really made me think. It falls into the sf category, its themes are disturbing, but thought-provoking. Just do yourself a favor and read it. Butler rules.