I love Halloween. But I'm not all that interested in reading horror. Or watching horror. Or anything like that. I like to read books with a little bit of creepiness in them and some weird stuff happening but nothing too scary. Or gory. I am so not a gore person. Ew.
Here are some good books that are more my speed. These books aren't necessarily Halloween books (in fact, only one is a Halloween book) but they still capture that otherworldly, creepy-ish feel in a fun way. In other words, if you read these books you'll feel ready for Halloween but you won't be shivering under your covers with a flashlight.
I read the book before I saw the movie and when I explained the difference to my husband I remember saying, "The book was all doo-doo-doo (as in light and fluffy) while the movie was DUM-DUM-DUM (as in dark and scary)." So I liked the book better. For sure. It's cutesy and fun but oh. So. Weird. It's Tim Burton weird. And I love that. There's just a little bit of creepiness, a lot of weirdness and so much imagination I can't even begin to describe it. It's a book that definitely gets me gets me in a Halloween mood even though it's not even a Halloween book.
This is almost a classic. I mean, Ray Bradbury? And does anyone else remember the made-for-TV movie? I loved that movie. It's what got me to read the book. This is one of those books that's for kids but doesn't feel too cheesy or condescending. It's also a book I like to suggest young boys read because it's about young boys going out by themselves on Halloween (something other boys love to read about) and there's a lot of cultural education going on here without it feeling like a sociology lesson. So it's fun, a bit creepy and you get some actual interesting facts? Sold.
The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
This is a book about a girl who sees ghosts. I thought about ending this blurb right there. Really, there's not much else to say about why you'd want to read this in the month of October. It's deliciously creepy, especially in the first half of the book. There's a whole bunch of crazy/weirdo stuff going on. And, for the most part, it's set in a nut house. I mean, if that summary doesn't convince you to read this book to get you in Halloween mood, I don't know what will.
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Despite the title, this book is not about Valentine's Day. Nor is it about Halloween. It's actually set in the summertime but the creep-factor here is delightful. The main character is haunted by the ghost of her best friend and then meets other ghosts who help her solve a series of murders. And on top of all that there's this sweet little love story and just beautiful writing. I seriously love this book. I might read it again to get in that Halloween spirit. Or at any other time of the year because I love it that much.
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Can you tell I'm a Brenna Yovanoff fan? Sadly, Paper Valentine and The Replacement are the only Yovanoff novels I've read but if they're any indication of what the rest of her work is like, I can't wait to read more! The Replacement is a bit bizarre, I'll give you that, but in a good way. Some things just weren't explained or just didn't make sense but I loved the characters and the story so much that it didn't bother me all that much. I will admit that the cover is super scary-looking. I was afraid to read this book for a long time because of the cover. But the book wasn't nearly so scary; Just a bit creepy. My kind of creepy. Which is the light, fun kind.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
This is most definitely a classic. For good reason, too. It's got this paranormal premise: A man basically sells his soul so that a painting of himself will show signs of aging instead of his own body. And then it's just all sorts of weird and creepy and dark and sinister. You watch Dorian's fall from young innocent to deranged evil-doer and it's fascinating. A classic, creepy, dark tale: Yes, please!
This is actually a set of three short stories. All of which have some lovely creepiness in them. What's interesting about Taylor's writing is that she weaves stories in such a way that you feel like they could be based on some kind of fairy tale. Some strange, twisted, ancient, forgotten fairy tale that parents would only tell their children in order to scare them into staying in their beds at night. But she has a beautiful way with words. And her stories are enchanting and a bit creepy. And perfect for gearing up for All Hallow's Eve.
Sherlock Holmes, you say? That's your Halloween pick? To which I would say, Have you ever actually read a Sherlock Holmes story? Holmes himself is a super weird guy. Creepy, you might say. In the books Holmes is no Benedict Cumberbatch, let me tell you. He's bizarre. And he takes bizarre cases with a bit of a creep-factor in them. The Hound of the Baskervilles is about a moor that's haunted by a demon hound. What's more Halloween than that?
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Honestly, I only chose this book because it's about witches and magic and paranormal stuff going on all over the place. And I just really like this book. The rest of the series isn't so great but this book is really fun. And a bit dark and creepy with a nice romance and interesting characters and whatever else. That's all I really have to say. Not much of an endorsement, huh? Witches! Magic! Paranormal stuff! Creep-factor! Go read it!
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Finally, I suggest to you a book based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe. Sort of. Kelly Creagh creates a world which is based on Poe's stories and puts a couple of normal teenagers in it. And it is seriously fun. Seriously. The idea is fantastic, the characters believable, the romance is sweet and it's set against this mildly creepy backdrop. I mean, just, *sigh* What more could you want? Well, actually, if we're on the subject of what I want, what I want is a better sequel. And I want the third book to be finished so I can find out what happens, dangit! But this book is pretty great. If you only read one book to help you gear up for Halloween, it should probably be this one.
Or any of the other books on this list. They're all pretty good.