Spooky, scary, and horror season is upon us. Leading up to Halloween, children and young adults are searching for stories to knock their socks off and give them a fright. We searched high and low for great reads that will give you chills (and maybe consider sleeping with the lights on). Here are six of our favorite spooky stories, some with a bit of humor, for all ages.
Poultrygeist by Eric Geron, Illustrated by Pete Oswald
Perfect for grades K-3
This spooky, yet humorous, picture book takes a fresh spin on an old joke, "Why did the chicken cross the road". A chicken bravely crossing the road but is sadly flatted by a semitruck. The animals who have gone before him have to break the news - the chicken is now on THE OTHER SIDE. Your child will enjoy the beautiful and colorful illustrations, along with interactive storyline to discover what really happens on the other side.
Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Spooky Stories by Jeff Kinney
Perfect for grades 2-6
Rowley Jefferson is back with fourteen hilarious and spooky stories covering everything from vampires and ghost to age reversal makeup and evil technology. Each chapter is a story told in the format your child knows and loves, Diary of a Wimpy Kid style. Full of doodles and cartoons to help readers comprehend the story, you and your child will be enjoying this book all spooky season long.
The Ghoul Next Door by Cullen Bunn, Illustrated by Cat Farris
Perfect for grades 4-8
On his way to school with his history project, Grey cuts through the local cemetery to make his walk shorter. But inside he trips and falls, causing his project to tumble into a hole. Grey tries desperately to reach his project with no success. Then he hears a hiss and sees a hand coming from inside the hole.
In this uniquely illustrated graphic novel, Grey learns that friendship can be formed beyond the grave. Follow Grey and his new friend, Lavinia, a ghoul living underneath the cemetery, as they learn they are not as different as they think. The illustrations make this spooky middle grade title come to life.
What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie
Perfect for grades 4-9
Ginny wants to be the next Agatha Christie and can't wait for her writing workshop this summer. But plans change when her dad takes the whole family to Michigan for a month on his next job site. Ginny's dad restores old, historic buildings and this time, the family is living in the building, Woodmoor Manor.
Legend has it that Woodmoor is haunted inside and out. Ginny isn't the type to believe in ghosts or spirits but when she hears constant ticking and sees shadows inside the home, she knows something is off.
With the help of a new friend, Will, and her older brother, Leo, Ginny is bound to prove to her parents that the manor is haunted so she can get back home to enjoy her workshop and what's left of summer. As the three search for clues and research the history behind Woodmoor, things take a turn from Ginny's original plan. A chilling story for readers who enjoy middle grade horror.
Haunted Hospital by Marty Chan
Perfect for grades 9 & up
Friends Xander, Li, Omar, and Pryia love to play Spirits and Specters, a role-playing game where they go on missions to discover evidence of paranormal activities. The group has grown tired of their current location for the game and decide to "hunt" for ghosts in the old, abandoned hospital.
Local legend has it that patients at the George Wickerman Hospital were medically experimented on and now haunt the building's hallways. Xander and his friends don't believe in the legend and begin a new mission inside the hospital. But when Omar goes missing and does not respond to calls or text, Xander, LI and Pryia think maybe there is some truth behind the stories.
In this high interest, low vocabulary title (perfect for reluctant readers) teens are sure to follow Xander and his friends journey to the last nail biting page.
White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson
Perfect for Grades 10 & up
Marigold, a.k.a., Mari and her blended family move from sunny California to a city in the Midwest with a dark past. Mari's mom wins a residency in Cedarville which comes with a new home for her family and a place to grow her art. Mari and her brother Sammy aren't exactly thrilled about the move but for Mari, it puts distance between her and an ugly past.
As Mari, Sammy, and their step-sister, Piper, get to know the townspeople they start to feel very out of place. Their house is the only renovated one on Maple Street, all the other homes are charred messes, as if a sweeping fire swallowed them whole. Things really get weird when items go missing, other people's possessions are found in the home, a horrid smell takes over the house, doors open and close on their own and Mari hears sounds that she can't explain. Mari is determined to make a fresh start but in a city with secrets and a house that is haunted, this might be a bigger challenge then Mari expected.
This story is creepy and suspenseful and will hold your attention from start to finish. Perfect for young adults looking for a gripping horror story. Content warning: this story contains references to drug and alcohol use, high school parties, and overdosing.