With my involvement in all things weird and/or paranormal, October is a busy month for me.
I am constantly asked about which haunted attractions to visit, which haunted places are the scariest, etc.
Over the years, I have written about haunted places in Huntsville and in Alabama along with favorite ghost stories and urban legends.
This year I decided to let other authors entertain everyone with a good ghost story, so I present my top 5 scary reads for Halloween.
5 Haunting Halloween Reads
Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Originally published in 1959, The Haunting of Hill House is widely regarded as the best haunted house novel ever written. It is a tale of four people gathered in a notoriously spooky house for a doctor to study the effects the house and fear have on its occupants.
If this sounds like a book you’ve already read, that’s because the idea has been copied numerous times since its debut. While it lacks the gore and jump scares of more modern books, reading this novel is more about the love of being scared than about fear itself.
The Elementals by Michael McDowell
Set off the Alabama coast near Mobile, this is truly a southern gothic tale. Two families bound together for more than a hundred years vacation on a desolate island consisting of only three houses. During a family reunion on the island, secrets better left undisturbed are uncovered, as the plot builds to its chilling climax.
While McDowell, a native of Enterprise, Ala., wrote many novels in his lifetime, he is best known as the author of the “Beetlejuice” screenplay.
Snowblind by Christopher Golden
Going from the heat and ever-encompassing sand of “The Elementals,” “Snowblind” finds the northeastern town of Coventry suffering through a most unusual winter storm. So unusual in fact, that it’s bringing back the dead. For those who have never experienced a massive winter storm, the atmosphere alone will give rise to goosebumps.
20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill
If you are looking for a book you can pick up to read one story at a time, you will not find a better collection than this. One of the best ways to instill fear in a reader is by playing on emotions, and the stories in this collection touch many different emotions – it may even leave you checking for monsters under your bed.
If you only read one story in the collection, make sure it’s “20th Century Ghosts.” You will never look at a theater the same way again. Also, for those who did not know, Joe Hill is the son of acclaimed novelist Stephen King.
Ghost Story by Peter Straub
I stumbled upon this book as a teenager, and it truly scared me. This story is not an easy pick-up; it is for someone looking for a dedicated read. It is complicated, long, and epic. It’s a story about terrible things that happen to people, the secret lives people lead, and the consequences of the past. This is a book that you will find on most every must-read horror list, Stephen King even called it one of the best works of the 20th century.