Horror For All: The Horror Genre Can Be Read At Every Age

The horror genre can be read at any age level. People like to get spooked while also learning something about themselves that can be found in darkness.

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Jack O'lantern left corner. Two ghosts. Witch (black) Two sets of bats side to side.

Horror is a special genre that never seems to die at any time of the year. Of course, it’s the most popular during the month of October, but horror doesn’t discriminate any time of the season! You can never be too young to get spooked! We here at Bookstr will list the many books that every age group can read.

Ages 3-6

Ghostly background. jack o lantern, left corner. Pattern of Jack o'lateen and book. Two rows. Books included in photo is In 'The Haunted House,' 'The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything,' 'Skeleton hiccups,' and 'Scary, Scary Halloween.'
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In this age group, children are beginning to recognize the world’s surroundings. The brain’s synapses begin to connect, and their core memories start to form. Books at this age should show life lessons while also being a form of entertainment. A few children’s books worth mentioning are Skeleton Hiccups, In the Haunted House, Scary Scary Halloween, and The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of AnythingThese four children’s books display a balance of charm, scare factor, and lessons of overcoming fear of the darkness within the night. 

Ages 6-9

Four books, purple background. Spiderweb corners. Books included: 'The Witches,' Goosebumps: Wanted The Haunted Mask, Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy 3, Goosebumps: Ghost Beach, Goosebumps: Attack of the Jack-o-Lanterns.
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Ages six and seven is a great age to read chapter books aloud to the little ones (with pictures, obviously). Eight and nine, they can start reading solo. Rather than simplistic storytelling and lessons, we begin to see genuine conflicts in stories.

It could be jarring to the little ones, but it is a great way to show that different genres can formulate and overlap. For example, The Witches, although fun and whimsical at a glance, is also a very heart-wrenching story of an orphan going head-to-head with witches who eat children! We also have R.L. Stine’s infamous series Goosebumps where we have great frights about Haunted Mansions, Monsters, and even Dummies!

Ages 9-12

Spooking black house, with glowing orange and yellow window with a giant moon background. Grayish. This is the background. Three books from left to right. Bunnicula, The Graveyard, and Coraline.
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I don’t know about you, but for me, I started to see the world a little differently at ages nine and ten. The world got a little darker, and so were the books and movies I gravitated towards. This is a perfect time to introduce BunniculaThe Graveyard Book, and Coraline. They cleverly incorporate serious topics within “horror” novels. 

Ages 12-14

Spooky background with leafless tree with gray blue background. Pattern of book and ghost. Two rows. 'Something is Killing the Children,' 'It Will End Like This,' 'Carrie.'
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Ah, the end of the preteen years to the lavish young teen era. You’re in that awkward stage where you don’t know what the heck to read anymore! Do you stick to kid books or graduate straight into Stephen King? 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a grand transition into darker tales. This is your universal horror novel for literally all ages. It’s not too scary (though many would argue), and it’s not too bland. It’s right in the middle, like right in the middle of your awkward stage. At this age, I personally began reading the Fear Street series! They include chilling fictions, mostly about teens getting in trouble with stalkers, killer ex-boyfriends, or the new ghoul girl at school. 

Ages 14-18

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When you’re in high school, it gets easy to lose track of your reading list. Alas, these kids are about to become adults in a few years, and what better way to pass the time than to curl up with a book? This is when teens formulate their opinions on everything– so they might want to read books that have hidden meanings of the world.

The graphic novel(s) Something is Killing the Children is an excellent starter for this venture. The story deals with themes of trauma, sexuality, and fear. Further discussions of these thematic issues plague the novels of It Will End Like This, and maybe this is the time to take a peek at Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie.

Ages 18+

White background with short black grass with one grave. Two black trees, partially on the background edge. Three books. The middle one is slightly down. First book start far right, 'some will not sleep,' They All Died Screaming,' 'The Outsider.' Horror novels.
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Once you’re eighteen, you should be in college, working a 9-5 in a three-story house. Just kidding! Put down the pitchforks. Reading continues its dark narrow path of death. Life gets extremely hard to navigate while also being a massive book lover. My greatest suggestions are horror story collections, such as Some Will Not Sleep: Selected Horrors quick yet powerful storytelling. Meanwhile, if you want something longer to read, The Outsider (also by Stephen King), and then watch the series on HBO Max because surely you’ll be clutching at your pearls! They All Died Screaming is highly violent, terrifying, and in some ways vile, and that’s precisely why I’m mentioning the novel!

Honestly, you could be thirty-two years old and still want to read Goosebumps. Books have no age parameters. You may not want to jump straight into terrifying novels when you’ve barely touched horror stories. 

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