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Recommended Reads

Halloween countdown: 31 days of frightfully fun reads

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Sep 27, 2023

You may have heard of the “31 days of horror films” challenge where you enjoy an evening of scary movies every night throughout October. While we love a good scare on the big screen, we wanted to round up a frightfully fun list of fiction and nonfiction that just might bring a chill to your bones. After all, a book a day keeps the monsters away, right?

So with the scariest season of all descending upon us, we’re counting down the dreadfully delightful days until Halloween with a ghoulish, gruesome or ghastly good book for each day. Check out one, or all...if you dare. Witchy romance, historical horror, true crime and even books for the littlest boos and ghouls can help everyone get in the spirit.

From slightly scary to hair-raising horror, these books are all treats (no tricks) that you can enjoy all month long on the Libby app. All you need is your library card to start reading. Download Libby and access ebooks and audiobooks 24/7, and make the most of your next bewitching night.

Day 1: Halloween-themed read

The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Make storytime a little more frightening on this riveting trip though space and time to discover the true origins of Halloween.


Day 2: Pumpkin spice cozy mystery

Catch Me If You Candy

Catch Me If You Candy by Ellie Alexander

Things are getting mysterious in this next delicious installment in the Bakeshop Mystery series, set in Ashland, Oregon.


Day 3: Love takes all forms

I'm in Love with Mothman

I’m in Love with Mothman by Paige Lavoie

A 22-year-old social media influencer is suffering from an epic case of burnout, but that all changes when a wounded cryptid crashes into her roof—and her heart.


Day 4: Pint-sized scare

Bunnicula

Bunnicula by James Howe and Andrew Donkin

This fang-tastic graphic novelization of the modern classic will send a shiver down your spine and leave you howling with laughter.


Day 5: Horror for beginners

The Shining

The Shining by Stephen King

As the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel during an isolated winter, Jack is hoping for a fresh start. But the idyllic location feels ever more remote… and more sinister. And the only one to notice is Danny, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.


Day 6: Magical mystery

The Conductors

The Conductors by Nicole Glover

From a bold new voice in speculative fiction comes a vibrant historical fantasy of magic and murder set in the aftermath of the Civil War.


Day 7: Love can be a real witch

The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic

The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic by Breanne Randall

This debut novel explores the shields we build around our hearts to retain our own magic.


Day 8: Playful paranormal

Cryptid Club

Cryptid Club by Sarah Andersen

A delightful peek into the secret social lives of some of the world’s most fascinating, monstrous and mysterious creatures.


Day 9: A book a day keeps the monsters away

Small Town Monsters

Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

This terrifying audiobook tells the story of a girl, a dark angel and the cult hellbent on taking over her small, coastal town.


Day 10: Romantic horror

House of Hunger

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

A young woman is drawn into the upper echelons of a society where blood is power in this dark and enthralling Gothic novel.


Day 11: Creepy crawlies

Stink and the Hairy Scary Spider

Stink and the Hairy Scary Spider by Megan McDonald

Stink’s spider phobia spurs his sister, Judy, and friend Webster to try some desensitization techniques until a real-life encounter takes them by surprise.


Day 12: True crime

Behold the Monster

Behold the Monster by Jillian Lauren

Lead of the Starz docuseries Confronting a Serial Killer Jillian Lauren delivers the harrowing report of her unusual relationship with a psychopath. Her riveting and emotional accounts reveal the women who were lost to cold files, giving the victims a chance to have their stories heard for the first time.


Day 13: Halloween party

Death for Dinner

Death for Dinner Cookbook by Zach Neil

Visit your dark side with 60 frightfully delicious plant-based comfort-foods, baked goods and cocktails inspired by your favorite horror movies and TV shows.


Day 14: Mermaids and zombies and shifters, oh my!

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses by Kristen O’Neal

Teen Wolf meets Emergency Contact in this sharply observed, hilarious and heartwarming debut young adult novel about friendship, chronic illness and werewolves.


Day 15: Historical horror

Rootwork

Rootwork by Tracy Cross

Set deep in the segregated South, Rootwork follows three sisters during one life-changing summer when they head off to stay with their hoodoo-practicing aunt, a powerful woman feared by the local townspeople.


Day 16: Halloween fun

Chilling with Ghosts

Chilling with Ghosts by Insha Fitzpatrick

Discover everything about ghosts in this fun handbook packed with eerie tales, engrossing science and fascinating history—perfect for middle-grade readers and mythology fans.


Day 17: Witches

Slewfoot

Slewfoot by Brom

Set in Colonial New England, Slewfoot is a tale of magic and mystery, of triumph and terror as only dark fantasist Brom can tell it.


Day 18: Scream queens

Jawbone

Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda

Interweaving pop culture references and horror concepts drawn from Herman Melville, H. P. Lovecraft and anonymous “creepypastas,” Jawbone is an ominous, multivocal novel that explores the terror inherent in the pure potentiality of adolescence and the fine line between desire and fear.


Day 19: Mysterious mansions

The Good House

The Good House by Tananarive Due

A critically-acclaimed story of supernatural suspense where a woman searches for the inherited power that can save her hometown from evil forces.


Day 20: Thrills, scares & suspense

The Only One Left

The Only One Left by Riley Sager

A Gothic chiller about a young caregiver assigned to work for a woman accused of a Lizzie Borden-like massacre decades earlier.


Day 21: Gothic horror

The Death of Jane Lawrence

The Death of Jane Lawrence by Caitlin Starling

A gothic fantasy horror from the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author about a woman in a dark-mirror version of post-war England who finds a husband...and the secrets he keeps.


Day 22: Psychological horror

The Last House on Needless Street

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

In a boarded-up house on a dead-end street lives a family of three. An unspeakable secret binds them together, but when a new neighbor moves in next door, what is buried out among the birch trees may come back to haunt them all.


Day 23: Folk horror

Empire of Wild

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline

A bold and brilliant new indigenous voice in contemporary literature makes her American debut with this kinetic, imaginative and sensuous fable inspired by the traditional Canadian Métis legend of the Rogarou, a werewolf-like creature that haunts the roads and woods of native people’s communities.


Day 24: Horror & dark fiction by a BIPOC author

White Smoke

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

This chilling YA psychological thriller is a modern take on the classic haunted house story where secrets always find their way through the cracks.


Day 25: Nonfiction for horror lovers

Nightmare Fuel

Nightmare Fuel: The Science of Horror Films by Nina Nesseth

A pop-science look at fear, how and why horror films get under our skin and why we keep coming back for more.


Day 26: Vampires!

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this horror novel about a women’s book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town.


Day 27: Horror anthology

Out There Screaming

Out There Screaming by Jordan Peele

A groundbreaking anthology of all-new stories of Black horror, exploring not only the terrors of the supernatural but the chilling reality of injustice that haunts our nation.


Day 28: Cosmic/lovecraftian horror

Meddling Kids

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five and Scooby-Doo, and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.


Day 29: Sleep with one eye open

The House of Small Shadows

The House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill

Catherine has a new job cataloging a wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. But when the owner’s damaged visions begin to raise dark shadows from her own past, the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge and some truths seem too terrible to be real.


Day 30: Queer horror

Tell Me I'm Worthless

Tell Me I'm Worthless by Alison Rumfitt

A dark, unflinching haunted house story that confronts both supernatural and real-world horrors through the lens of the modern-day trans experience.


Day 31: Ultimate horror pick

Cackle

Cackle by Rachel Harrison

A darkly funny, frightening novel about a young woman learning how to take what she wants from a witch who may be too good to be true.

*Title availability may vary by region.

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About the Author

Annie Suhy has been working in the book industry since 2006. When she’s not working, practicing yoga or petting cats, she’s doing paint-by-numbers or buying more plants. An avid poetry fan, her favorite collection is "The Splinter Factory" by Jeffrey McDaniel.

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