7 truly creepy reads for kids and teens this Hallowe’en
I have a low tolerance for horror, so I won’t be recommending anything here that is going to give your child nightmares, rather those books which give you a little bit of a chill down your spine without being really frightening. At this time of year, as the nights start to draw in and the weather gets chillier, you can imagine drawing closer to the fire to tell spine-tingling stories about the dark outside. Here are some books to get you in the mood for Hallowe’en!
Here are a few I would recommend…
For 9+ readers:
The Switching Hour by Damaris Young
Never stay out after the Switching Hour… never let the outside in….
Amaya lives with her grandmother, her small brother Kaleb and her pet goat Tau in a land suffering a terrible drought. Every night, the doors must be locked at twilight, the Switching Hour, because the drought has awoken Badeko, a creature that snatches children away to eat their dreams.
Three days later, the memory that they existed is gone from those that knew them, and those that are left are afflicted with The Sorrow Sickness – a grief which consumes a person without them knowing why. When Kaleb is taken by Badeko, Amaya must journey into the terrifying forest to find her brother before she forgets him.
This book really draws you in, makes you care about the characters and then puts them in danger. Exciting, nerve-wracking and surprisingly dark at times, this is one not to be missed!.
Read my full review here.
Whispers in the Graveyard by Theresa Breslin
‘They want me to join them. All I have to do is to reach out to them . . .’
Solomon struggles in school. He is bullied by his teachers and let down by his parents. His only refuge is in the local kirkyard, among ancient graves that lie in the shadow of the rowan tree. But when workmen uproot the tree and a dark and terrifying power is unleashed. Will Solomon be able to save himself and the people he cares about from the terrible curse within?
Whispers in the Graveyard won the Carnegie Medal and has been adapted as a play. This edition features a new cover by illustrator Thomas Flintham.
‘One of those rare books that makes you want to put your life on hold for as long as it takes to finish it’ – Independent
I read this recently and enjoyed it a lot, despite the fact that I am tired of the ‘teacher as bully’ trope. It is interesting to see how much understanding of dyslexia has come along. The graveyard setting is really creepy although the action becomes a little muddled near the end.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house – the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back.
The buttons for eyes *shudder* The more I think about this book, the creepier it becomes. Definitely one for more mature Year 5s or 6s!
The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis
When orphans Ben and Jennet arrive in the seaside town of Whitby to stay with Alice Boston, they have no idea what to expect. A lively 92-year-old, Miss Boston is unlike any other foster mother they’ve known. Ben is gifted with “the sight,” which gives him the power to see things invisible to other mortals. He soon encounters the mysterious fisher folk who live under the cliffs and discovers that Alice and her friends are not quite what they seem. But a darkness is stalking the streets of Whitby, bringing with it fear and death. Could it be a ghost from the Abbey? Or a beast from hell? Unless the truth is uncovered, the town and all its inhabitants is doomed.
I read this years ago as a child after having devoured The Deptford Mice Trilogy (which, incidentally is fantastic!) and reread the first book in The Whitby Witch trilogy recently after it was re-released. Dark, fascinating and the perfect read for Hallowe’en!
For 11+ readers:
Grave Matter by Juno Dawson
Since the crash, since Eliza died, Samuel can’t find a way to go on. His need to see his love again is overwhelming, and so he ventures into the strange, terrifying world of Hoodoo. Samuel is about to make a pact with powers he cannot comprehend, let alone control…
I actually already read this, despite only having borrowed it yesterday! I wanted to read it because it seems like the perfect read for Hallowe’en and I had yet to read anything by Juno Dawson beyond a few short stories and the World Book Day novella so this seemed like a good place to start. It is genuinely creepy, with lots of delicate threads of story that let the reader imagine a much bigger story arc within which this one takes place. The ending was a little rushed but, overall, it was great.
The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
Part ghost story, part Nordic thriller – this is a twisty, tense and spooky YA debut, perfect for fans of CORALINE and Michelle Paver.
Martha can tell things about a person just by touching their clothes, as if their emotions and memories have been absorbed into the material. It started the day she fell from the tree at her grandma’s cabin and became blind in one eye.
Determined to understand her strange ability, Martha sets off to visit her grandmother, Mormor – only to discover Mormor is dead, a peculiar boy is in her cabin and a terrifying creature is on the loose.
Then the spinning wheel starts creaking, books move around and terror creeps in . . .
Set in the remote snows of contemporary Norway, THE TWISTED TREE is a ghost story that twists and turns – and never takes you quite where you’d expect.
This book really gave me the creeps, but in the bet possible way! The folklore and snowy setting are perfectly woven together to create a book that you will read in one sitting!
See my full review here.
The Graces by Laure Eve
Everyone said the Graces were witches.
They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.
They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.
All I had to do was show them that person was me.
Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?
This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.
The Graces is a gripping book, which keeps you guessing right until the end and will leave you with a chill after reading!
What did you think?
Did you spot any that you want to read?
Which creepy books would you recommend?
Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!