It's almost Halloween, which means it's time to get our creep on with a roundup of horror books for our HoneyKids Book Club!
For us mums, Halloween usually means trick or treating and shopping for fangtastic costumes for the minis. But what happens when the little monsters are safely tucked in and sleeping soundly? It’s time for mum to get her lounge life on with a glass of Sauv Blanc in hand and a bone-chilling book in the other! After all, it’s Halloween season, and scary books are a-waiting, people!
So in honour of our favourite time of the year (apart from Children’s Day, of course), we’ve picked out the creepiest horror novels that’ll beat any Halloween flick you’ve ever watched. You’re welcome.
Horror novels and scary books to read for Halloween
1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
So you’ve watched the Netflix series and the movie. Now it’s time to open up the source material and discover why this book’s regarded as one of the scariest reads of all time. A paranormal investigator invites three other people to join him at Hill House; they stay to find out if the supernatural really exist. Unfortunately, the house itself has other plans for its visitors. Will any of them make it out alive? You’ll have to read this to find out.
2. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
What would you do if you’re the only person left in this world? Raid all the malls across Singapore! Sounds like a good plan, right? Well, how about having to fend for yourself from vampires? That’s what Robert Neville, the last living man on Earth, has to do. During the day, Robert hunts and kills any vampires that he could find (they’re hiding from the sun, remember?). Come night, it’s Robert’s turn to hide, barricading in his home and waiting for dawn. But for how long can he survive? If the title sounds familiar to you, this novel inspired the movie starring Will Smith.
3. Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Imagine Ikea, but haunted – that’s basically the premise for this book. Every morning, the employees of a furniture superstore find the place thrashed. Broken bookshelves, shattered water goblets, and smashed wardrobes are strewn all over the place. A check on the security cameras reveal nothing. Three workers volunteered to work from dusk till dawn, just so they can find out once and for all who – or what – has been vandalising the store.
4. The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan
It’s only a matter of time before this award-winning duo come together to write a book. And a scary book, no less! An aeroplane lands at JFK International Airport… and it suddenly stops dead. Window shades are down, all the lights are out, and everything’s gone quiet. Has the plane been hijacked? No one’s got a clue, until an alert goes out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A team is sent to investigate, and what they uncover is… horrific, to say the least.
5. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
For those who don’t have a lot of time for reading (blasphemous), here’s a novella that deftly mixes horror and sci-fi. During New York’s jazz age, Charles Thomas Tester delivers an occult book to a reclusive sorceress. This opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, inadvertently getting the unwanted attention of things that shouldn’t be disturbed.
6. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Looking for an unconventional scary book? Our vote goes to this one. House of Leaves centres on a family that moves into a new home. The thing is, there’s something weird about the house – it looks bigger on the inside, compared to seeing it on the outside. We’re not going to say more about this book, except that it is a doozy and you’ll be enthralled with the book after you’re completed reading it.
7. Beware the Night by Ralph Sarchie
Fans of The Conjuring and Amityville will love Ralph Sarchie’s eyewitness accounts of demonic possession. A 16-year NYPD veteran, he specialises in investigating cases of the supernatural and assisting in exorcisms. In this book, he details his scariest experiences, including a home invaded by the angry spirit of a murdered nineteenth-century bride, the trials faced by a family living in a house formerly owned by a Satanist and more. Oh, and it’s all true. Sweet dreams!
8. IT by Stephen King
If you’ve got the time, why not spend it with Pennywise? Although this book is a whopper, Stephen King fans will appreciate the detail that goes in the book. There’s no better time to read what may consider being King’s scariest and most disturbing novel to date. It tells the story of a group of friends who develop a bond after defeating a creature that has been killing children in the town of Derry, Maine who unfortunately returns 28 years later.
9. Penpal by Dathan Auerbach
Based on Dathan Auerbach’s creepy posts to Reddit, Penpal tells the story of a man investigating all the creepy stuff that happened to him during his childhood. It starts with snippets of his earliest years and as you go further into the book, you’ll realise that it’s all part of one bone-chilling story that has shaped his life and the lives of those around him. Also included: random unexplained photographs taken of him and his best friend. This brings us to the question: who is taking the photos?!
10. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
WARNING: If you are expecting, do not, we repeat, do not read this book! Former HoneyKids ed Amy did and continues to regret it to this day. Rosemary and Guy are having a baby but aren’t exactly having the best luck in the world – that is until they get to know their uber-creepy neighbours, the Castevets. The closer they get, the weirder things become. This book is an easy read and is all about the buildup, so be patient!
11. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
We don’t know about you, but there’s something about traditional ghost stories that seem way creepier than books about zombies and monsters. The Woman in Black is exactly that. There’s no blood or guts or explicitly scream-worthy moments but it’s written so well that most of the scary stuff happens in your head. The author begins the book with the story of ageing solicitor Arthur Knipps recounting his experience as a young lawyer – specifically the experiences that have caused him anxiety and many sleepless nights. Ugh.
12. Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James
Anyone who loves spooky stories will love this collection. If old-school horror is your thing, you’ll love James’s style. Just like The Woman in Black, there’s no gore. The stories are more about subtle shivers, suspense and unanswered questions. It takes us back to the time when we believed spirits and faeries lurked around the English countryside – and proves us right. If you’ve ever wondered why ghosts are white sheets or why howls in forests at midnight meant evil was lurking, these stories are your answer.
Happy reading, and happy Halloween, too!