Dark Books for Halloween

October 29, 2021

Halloween is just around the corner and the air is full of chills. If you are also spending your weekend devouring spooky books, this list might bring some inspiration. This time, I’ve mixed things up a bit by sorting the recommendations into themes. Some people like gore and horror, while others enjoy a cozy mystery. Some of us are hard to spook, while others get scared by the wind. No matter which category you fit into, I’m here for you. If you’re interested to learn more about the books, I’ve added my own rating and review links. 

Check out the themes below and get inspired to read some of these dark books for Halloween.

Twisted Stories

burn our bodies down book cover
House of Hollow book cover

Don’t be fooled by the young girls on the covers – these books are dark. The kind of dark that even murderous clowns and living dolls can’t compete with. What they have in common is refreshing twists, really great characters, something you can’t put your finger on and lots and lots of bad vibes. If you’re weakhearted or just born a chicken (NO shame in that!) you may want to skip these books. On the other hand, if you can’t get enough of gore, death, suspense and weird infections, you’re going to love them!

My personal rating:

Burn Our Bodies down by Rory Power ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Cozy Crime

truly devious cover
good girls guide to murder book cover
the crossing places book cover
and then there were none book cover
the cousins book cover

These books are very different plotwise but have a few things in common. They are cozy reads with the perfect balance of suspense, intrigue and characters you will love (and hate). No thriller list is complete without mentioning the queen, Agatha Christie, and if you’re looking for intellectual murder cases that reminds you of Bones, Elly Griffiths is your go-to. You have most likely seen or heard about the rest and I can only assure you, that the hype is justified. When it comes to choosing dark books for Halloween, these titles will give you entertainment without giving you nightmares.

My personal rating:

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Psychological Thrillers

anonymous girl cover
The Wives book cover
book cover of You

Psychological thrillers kind of freak me out. I can take all the gore and horror but a stalker lurking at my door or a therapist manipulating my reality? That’s what gives me nightmares! Nonetheless, I’m fascinated by the characters and plot twists in this genre. All three of these books are dealing with people who find themselves in the strangest situations. We never know exactly who to trust and whether or not the story is told truthfully. It is seriously addictive and makes it hard to put these books down. 

My personal rating:

Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks 
The Wives
by Tarryn Fisher
You by Caroline Kepnes

Middlegrade Spooks

book cover of Nevermoor
book cover for Wundersmith
book cover for Hollowpox
city of ghosts book cover
tunnel of bones 2 cover
bridge of souls book cover

Let’s crank down the crazy just a little bit. Sometimes you want the spooks without being afraid to turn off the light afterwards. I hear you. There are plenty of books out there to give us those whimsical Halloween vibes. I’ve just dug out two of my own favorites. Nevermoor is a fairly well known series featuring all sorts of magical creatures and a hotel that never stays the same. Then we have the City of Ghosts series. With each new instalment, the story of Cassidy Blake’s journey as a ghost hunter evolves. Each book features a new city with new legends and supernatural discoveries – thanks to Cassidy’s parents shooting a TV show about famous ghost stories. Both series are pretty darn cozy but still provides a ton of atmosphere and spooky vibes.

My personal rating:

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend
Wundersmith by Jessica townsend
Hollowpox by Jessica townsend ??? (yet to read)
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Bridge of Souls by Victoria Schwab ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Haunted Houses

book cover of Mexican Gothic
book cover of The Turn of the Screw

This is one of the more traditional categories to read for Halloween. A creepy house filled with weird people and sounds that gives you paranoia. Personally, it’s not my favorite genre but I do appreciate the eerie atmosphere that often gets a lot of attention. Of the three, I would say that Mexican Gothic brings the most intense vibes. The Turn of the Screw is an oldie but sometimes we just need a bit of a classic twist to a ghost story. The final title is by Shirley Jackson – who you might recognise as the author of The Haunting of Hill House. Yes, that gives you a nice indication of what to expect.

My personal rating:

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Mexican Gothic by Silvia-Moreno-Garcia ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James ⭐⭐⭐

I hope this list of dark books for Halloween has given you some inspiration. I intentionally left out classics you’ve seen a million times before, like Frankenstein or IT. Instead, I focused on books I have read and enjoyed myself and books that fit into different themes.

What is your Halloween TBR this year?

Let me know in a comment or leave a message on my social media below.

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