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September 22, 2017
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Scary Books for your Halloween Display

October.  The month of changing leaves, hot apple cider, pumpkin-flavored everything, and, most importantly, scary stories.  From the classics that send shivers down your spine to the thrillers that will make you check under your bed at night, these are the Must-Haves for your Halloween Library Display.

Thrills for Young Readers

These books are ideal for readers aged 9-12. They may give your young patrons a bit of a fright, but mostly they are exciting reads that will put them in the Halloween spirit!

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

This 3-Book Collection has been an essential part of every October sleep-over party since 1981. The compilations of short horror stories are thrilling to even the bravest readers if the creepy illustrations weren’t already enough. The complete 3-book compilation was just re-published this summer, perfect for your display!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Bod is an unusual boy in that he lives in a graveyard and was raised by ghosts.  So how will he be able to cope with the outside world if all he knows is the teachings of his ghoulish friends?  Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline, doesn't disappoint readers with this enchanting and hair-raising tale.

The Ghost Train Mystery by Luna Snow

Twins Alex and Alice meet the mysterious Count Grenelli at the fair. They agree to help the Count with something that is troubling him at the fairground, but things start getting weirder when their new puppy goes missing. This is a fun new read that is full of mystery and adventure, suitable for elementary students.

Half-Minute Horrors by Susan Rich (editor)

How scared can you get in only 30 seconds? These compilations of very short stories come from some of the best horror writers, including Lemony Snicket, James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, and R.L. Stine! If you’re looking for a fun, quick, and easy read, this one is for you!

Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine

No good horror book list would be complete without R.L. Stine's Goosebumps, and we're not leaving it out either.  These are timeless classics that will be read for generations, but which ones are the best of the best?  Luckily for you, we made a list within a list!  So without further ado:

  1. The Haunted Mask - A storm of psychological terror, it plays on our fear of claustrophobia and possession.  This one is likely to terrify even adults, and is often remembered as the most frightening of the series.
  2. Night of the Living Dummy - Arguably the most popular of the Goosebumps creations, Slappy the Dummy made a comeback an astounding 7 times in sequels.  No one could ever forget that vacant expression...
  3. One Day at Horrorland - A family gets lost trying to find a theme park, but luckily they found another amusement park instead.  And there are no lines!  The rides are really scary too.  And so was the House of Mirrors.  A little too scary...
  4. A Night in Terror Tower - Two siblings get left behind during a tour of a prison tower in London.  When they can't find their way out on their own, they find themselves locked in as night falls.  And when night falls, a strange dark figure appears, and it wants to kill them.
  5. Give Yourself Goosebumps: Escape from the Carnival of Horrors - We had to include at least one of the Give Yourself Goosebumps series, because what's scarier than choosing your own fate?  Readers become the main character and must lead their group of friends out of the haunted carnival.  Will they make it?  Or will they come to a dead end?

The Classics

When you think of Halloween and horror stories, these are the books that should come to mind. And for good reason. They’re not called The Classics for nothing. And while these are some of the most widely read books, there are many who have not had the pleasure.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Considered to be the very first science fiction novel, Frankenstein is definitely ahead of its time. Unlike the stereotypical version we usually see in movies, cartoons, and decorations of a green monster with bolts in his neck brought to life by a bolt of lightening and reeks havoc on the town, the book is a much more symbolic piece of art. Shelley may have only been a teenager when she wrote it, but her writing is masterful and makes you emphasize with the “monster.” In the end, you realize the horror is not with the monster, but in the way his own creator treats him.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe

No one has perfected the art of gothic writing than Edgar Allan Poe. While his most notable work is his poem “The Raven,” the poems in Tales of Mystery and Imagination are sure to send chills down your spine. His writing is dark and macabre, but it’s also beautiful and it doesn’t take long to realize what a genius he was.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury’s poetic writing style is able to capture the mood of early autumn, setting the reader up for what hauntings lay ahead. It’s a nostalgic coming-of-age story that is perfect for high schoolers wanting to get into the Halloween spirit. The movie, produced by Walt Disney Studios, is just as creepy as the book, so faint-hearted beware!

The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” – H.P. Lovecraft The Call of Cthulhu is a short story first published in the February 1928 issue of Weird Tales. It’s a documentary style recounting of several encounters of the unearthly and terrifying creature Cthulhu. The creature seems to be part octopus, part dragon, with a human-like stance. Lovecraft’s prose is methodical, not wasting a single word. The realness of the story will strike fear into the back of anyone’s mind.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Everyone knows who Count Dracula is, and everyone knows the horrors of vampires. That’s why they’re some of the most popular monsters in our pop culture history. While it is argued when and where the origin of the vampire myth came from, it is pretty well-known that Dracula was the first written prose on the subject. Comprised of a journal entries from the characters themselves, Dracula gives you the sense that everything you’re reading could be real, as well as giving you a deep insight to each character’s thoughts. You feel as though you are actually living the terror of a blood-sucking monster coming after you.

Books That Are Way Scarier Than The Movies

Meet the books that inspired some of the scariest movies ever made. And if you thought the movies were bad, wait until you see what the books have in store. What could possibly be so scary that the filmmakers had to leave out?

Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin

Rosemary’s Baby has been adapted on the screen twice. Once as Roman Polanski’s 1968 film, and again as an NBC miniseries in 2014. Both adaptations are suspenseful psychological thrillers that create a sense of fear of the unknown for the audience. However, nothing can compare to living the experience through Rosemary’s eyes in the book. The screen adaptations may have jump scares on their side, but the book leaves you feeling very unsettled. You’ll never trust anyone again.

IT by Stephen King

I know, I know, this one is pretty cliché, especially with the movie recently being remade into what is being called the best IT adaptation yet, and perhaps one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date. I had to include it though because it truly is one of the most horrific books you’ll ever read, and since I can only include one King novel, I have to go with the scariest one. Even though it is over 1,400 pages long, you won’t be able to put it down. The new adaptation may be pretty scary and gory, but there are still many scenes in the book that no adaptation has been able to put on screen, they’re just too upsetting. If curiosity is taking over your apprehension to take on this monster of a novel, it’s a must-read!

Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Hannibal Lecter is one of the most famous villains created. He’s one of those villains that you can’t help but love and hate at the same time. There have been many on-screen adaptations of Hannibal Lecter, but by far the most popular is Anthony Hopkins’s portrayal in the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs. The film does a decent job of staying true to the book, and Hopkins’s creepy depiction of the cannibalistic serial killer Lecter helped make the character as notorious as he is today. Still, as always, movies cannot keep all the details found in the books, nor can they put the audience inside the character’s heads like the book can. That’s why this book is so much better than the movie, because not only does Hannibal manipulate and control the other characters like puppets, he does so to the reader as well.

Ring by Koji Suzuki

Adapted into the 2002 film The Ring, their are many differences between the book and the movie. Aside from the technical differences, such as the gender of the main character, the most disappointing was the scare tactics. While the book is a creepy psychological thriller that uneases even the biggest thrill seekers, the movie relies heavily on jump scares. As a viewer, the movie itself is great if what you’re looking for is a couple hours of jumping out of your seat. But if you want the kind of everlasting scare that will keep you thinking about it for weeks, the book is the way to go.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho the movie is grotesque, appalling, and disturbing. The book is all of that, only way, way worse. In fact, in some countries, it comes shrink-wrapped in the bookstore/library. In the end, it’s a satirical narrative on society, and it’s unclear whether the horrifying events actually happened or if they were all in Patrick Bateman’s head. Nonetheless, the detailed descriptions of what Bateman does to his female victims are really hard to read, and have caused many controversies about whether the novel should be put on shelves or not. If you think you can stomach the gruesome scenes, this book is a fantastic read that is more than meets the eye.

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