My Top Ten Halloween Books

October 29, 2013 Top Ten Tuesday 10


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is Top Ten Books to Read for Halloween.  I’m at a bit of a disadvantage with this topic, because I really don’t like horror or creepy books as a general rule, but there are some seasonal books I enjoy at this time of year.   I’ve put them in age order from child to adult; otherwise, they’re not ranked.

Too Many Pumpkins is my favorite children’s Halloween book!  We still re-read this every year.  And The Biggest Pumpkin Ever is charming.

 Though not my favorite Jesse Bear book, What a Scare, Jesse Bear is still a lot of fun, as is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.
The Grey King, the fourth in Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising quintet, takes place in October; the action culminates “On the day of the dead, when the year too dies…” — in other words, Halloween.  A wonderful late MG/early YA fantasy, but you should probably read at least The Dark is Rising and Greenwitch first.   
Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard, a YA historical novel set in Tudor England, loosely adapts the story of Tam Lin.  It also takes place in the months leading up to All Hallows Eve.  Atmospheric and suspenseful, with just the right touch of magic and romance.
A Discovery of Witches begins in September and goes through All Saints Day. (In fact, there’s a real-time re-read going on right now on Deborah Harkness’s Facebook page.)  With its combination of witches, vampires, daemons, conspiracies, alchemy, and magic, it’s a perfect Halloween read. (review)
Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None strands 10 strangers on an island.  As one after another dies, the remaining suspects and the reader are left wondering who the murderer is — and if anyone will get off the island alive.  Not exactly a Halloween story, but more than creepy enough to qualify.  Christie’s Hallowe’en Party, on the other hand, involves a murder which takes place literally at a Halloween event.
You can’t go wrong with any of these classics: The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle),  “The Fall of the House of Usher” (or just about any other Poe tale), and that perennial Halloween favorite, Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”
Finally, to make it a Halloween-appropriate baker’s dozen, I’ll throw in

Lisa Van Allen’s 2013 novel (which is neither scary nor creepy) doesn’t fit the typical ‘Halloween book’ mold; it’s neither scary nor creepy, and there are no murders.  There is, briefly, a ghost; there is something that may or may not be magic; and the whole thing takes place against the backdrop of Tarrytown (yes, Irving’s Tarrytown) around Halloween.  Besides, it’s a wonderful novel.  (review)

10 Responses to “My Top Ten Halloween Books”

  1. Greg

    Believe it or not I’ve never read And Then There Were None- but I mean to here at some point. Halloween Party I’m in the middle of right now… and Sleepy Hollow, I was just thinking of that the other day now that Halloween is approaching. 🙂 Some of those younger choices look cute too.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I remember you were reading Hallowe’en Party — in fact, you reminded me of it! Too Many Pumpkins is my all-time favorite Halloween book, as charming for adults as for children. This was the first year since my daughter was little that I didn’t get to read it aloud.

  2. Stephanie Shepherd

    And Then There Were None made my list as well – for me it is definitely the darkest and creepiest of her novels. I’ve never heard of Hallowe’en Party and I thought I knew all her books! Thanks for introducing me to it!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      And Then There Were None creeped me out so much, it’s one of the few Christies I only read once (instead of at least twice.) Hallowe’en Party dates to… 1969, I think, and it’s not among her best, but still good.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      On the whole, I don’t do scary and creepy, so my list is pretty mild. Except maybe the Poe stuff — which I haven’t re-read since reading them in junior high and high school. 😉 And Cheryl, if you haven’t read The Perilous Gard, you should. It’s amazing and I think you would really like it.

  3. Jennifer

    Love the picture books! A Discovery of Witches is amazing to read around Halloween too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I really loved A Discovery of Witches. I tried to do the real-time read-along, but I just couldn’t read it in such short snippets. I ended up devouring it (for the third time) in 2 days.