Spooky season is officially in full swing. We’ve all placed our pumpkins on the porch, hung up fake spiderwebs, and lit some candles for ambiance. All that’s left to do is rest with a good scary story. But with so many ways to decorate before All Hallows’ Eve, and an endless amount of Halloween-themed books, choosing what to read during this season can become overwhelming. Luckily, we have you covered. No matter what your favorite Halloween aesthetic is, we’ve got some hair-raising recommendations for you!
Classic Halloween Aesthetic
This aesthetic is full of fall favorites. What’s not to love about this style? Between the traditional pumpkin carving, spooky but sweet treats, vibrant foliage, and iconic ghost costumes, this is what comes to mind whenever someone mentions Halloween. In this cozy environment, friends and family will gather at your place to celebrate the festive fall holiday.
Classic Halloween Reads
Most people know the story of Coraline from the 2009 film, but the original book by Neil Gaiman still deserves praise. While not technically a Halloween book, the story still gives us spine-chilling scenes for kids and adults. Coraline is at her core, an adventurer. Readers follow her story and interactions with the “Other Parents,” and soon discover that while life may be imperfect at times, what’s important is the people and things around us that we already have.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything by Linda Williams is a great read for both kids and teens, who are looking for the whimsical feeling that Halloween produces. This lovable picture book details an old woman who has the scare of her life when she finds strange clothes during her daily walk through the forest. Bring on all the feelings of nostalgia for a simpler time, this book is the perfect read for those chilly autumn days.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James is the perfect read if you’re looking for something a bit spookier. This thrilling ghost story revolves around two children, Miles and Flora, and their new life living in their uncle’s home, Bly Manor. But once the new Governess comes into the picture, the paranormal activity within the house increases. Filled with creepiness and beautiful imagery, this is a great read for teens and young adults.
Vintage Halloween Aesthetic
With that faded feel, the vintage aesthetic is one people cling to when the Halloween season comes around. Old Halloween costumes, yummy traditional treats, and of course, polaroid pictures that capture the holiday are some of our favorite aspects of this aesthetic. This cohesive and nostalgic design is sure to get anyone in the mood for the spooky season.
Vintage Halloween Reads
Looking for a fun read on the history of Halloween? Then dive into The Book of Hallowe’en by Ruth E. Kelley. In this vintage anthology, we get to read about the many ways that we celebrate the holiday across the world. Originally published in 1919, this book is packed with history, poems, and the secrets of divination, a true must-have for anyone interested in the diverse roots of Halloween.
In The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, we’re enthralled by the story of a group of friends trying to find their companion, Pipkin, as he disappears on Halloween night. Throughout their adventures, they travel back in time to try and save their friend. But along the way, they discover the true meaning and origins of Halloween.
Wanting to read an iconic murder mystery? Who else would be better than the famous Agatha Christie? Published in 1969, Christie’s novel, Hallowe’en Party, details a Halloween party that goes wrong. At the end of the celebration, the body of Joyce Reynolds is found drowned in the apple-bobbing tub. The only person who can solve this crime? Hercule Poirot. Join him on his journey as he tries to discover who murdered the thirteen-year-old on Halloween night.
Spooky and Scary Aesthetic
Even though many people enjoy the nostalgia of Halloween, some are probably more interested in the terrifying tales that come with the time. Horror stories are a go-to for anybody who enjoys this startling style. Skeletons, ghosts, and killers, oh my! With dark, ominous environments, this aesthetic is sure to give people a fright.
Spooky and Scary Reads
An oldie, but a goodie, The Shining by Steven King has a sinister reputation, and boy does it live up to it. Inside the Overlook Hotel, we’re introduced to a true horror show. As Jack Torrance tries to take care of the building in its off-season, the haunted hotel has a different idea. This book balances the thriller and psychological elements seamlessly. This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a good scare now and then.
Become immersed within the petrifying pages of this book. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin is another novel that is well known for its movie adaptation. With its gradual pacing, the tension only continues to build in the most horrifying of ways, as Rosemary Woodhouse beings to experience strange activity in the building that she cannot understand. This creepy read will have you riddled with goosebumps.
Interested in haunting tales of American folklore? Pick up Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, if you dare. Filled with numerous accounts of horror stories, this chilling collection has terrified audiences for years. But be warned, while the tales in this book are not for the fainthearted, it’s the illustrations that’ll have you hiding under your covers.
Witches have consumed Halloween media for decades now, and we couldn’t be happier. Black cats, ouija boards, and tarot cards sound like an amazingly spooky time for me. If you picture your nights filled with spell casting, potion making, and riding a broom across the full moon sky, then this aesthetic is for you!
In The Night Wood by Dale Bailey is an eerie read that follows the bleak story of Charles Hayden. In search of his purpose, he and his wife move to England so that Charles can work on a biography of his favorite author, Caedmon Hollow. But the little Yorkshire town is more than what it seems. The woods surrounding their house taunt the couple every night, tormenting them with their deathly futures.
While some descriptions of witches in literature display them as evil beings, The Witches of New York by Ami McKay tells a different story of friendship and identity. It’s been almost 200 years since the Salem Witch Trials, but witches Adelaide Thom and her friend Eleanor St.Clair still try to keep a low profile. That is until mysteriously powerful Beatrice Dunn comes into their lives. These three magical women work through their differences and face their haunting pasts head-on.
If you’re enthralled by a modern telling of witch stories, stick around for The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. In the Puritanical town of Bethel, Immanuelle Moore lives in silence. As a biracial teen, her status in town is cursed. Her mother’s disobedience and ties to four witches in the woods have ruined the family name. Immanuelle tries her hardest to obey, but after being lured into the darkness of the woods, she finds herself on a similar path as her mother.
Between the stunning architecture, haunting decor, and overall gloominess, the gothic aesthetic is a Halloween lover’s dream. Some of the most notable books in literature take place in depressing gothic environments, so it’s no surprise that the Gothic vibe is a fan favorite for many.
As the mother of science fiction, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and her infamous novel, Frankenstein deserve to be recognized in this category. Victor Frankenstein is a desperate character who wishes to prove himself within the medical field, but his ways of going about this are uncanny. While he achieves his wish of bringing the dead back to life, The Creature now follows Victor’s every move, waiting to enact his revenge on his creator.
As one of the first haunted house stories, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson gets all of our hearts racing. Within the walls of Hill House are four people living in the creepy building, waiting for any evidence of its paranormal reputation. But as they continue to stay, the house eventually reveals its baleful intentions, as it gains the strength to make one of the four a permanent resident.
This list couldn’t be complete without the most famous gothic novel around, Dracula by Bram Stoker. This is what put vampires on the map. As Count Dracula plans to expand his cult of bloodsuckers, others wish his existence be terminated. Doctor Abraham Van Helsing and a group of friends vow to put an end to the death and destruction the vampires have caused. But they better be careful, for a fear worst than death is becoming a creature of the night.
It doesn’t matter whether you prefer ghosts over witches or pumpkins over coffins, there’s a special Halloween aesthetic for everyone. Halloween truly sets the tone for the rest of the holidays, so start it off right! Make a pumpkin-flavored anything, light some candles, and most importantly, dive into a frighteningly good story.
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