20 Spooky Stories for Kids of All Ages
We know it can sometimes be difficult finding the right horror book for your child. Especially when it comes to Halloween, you may worry whether the story will be too scary for your little one, or not fearful enough. It’s a constant balancing act between not giving them nightmares (and therefore you having a sleepless night) and giving them goosebumps and thrills that’ll have them giggling with fright into the night.
This Halloween season, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite Halloween books, just for kids. We’ve separated them out by age, to make choosing the perfect book for this spooky season even easier for you. However, these divides are just a guide – I for one would LOVE to read some of the books for younger readers (the illustrations look amazing).
So, no need to fear the spooky season this year when your little cherub starts to tug on your sleeve demanding to watch that Netflix horror film that all their friends have seen. Send them to bed with one of these instead, and you’ll surely have a Halloween to remember.
Young Readers (5+)
1. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
I’m sure everyone remembers this from their childhood?! No bookshelf is complete without it. Are you ready to return to Miss Cackle’s Academy?
2. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
Another classic with a spooky, witchy twist. Re-live the nostalgia of your own childhood with this amazingly illustrated children’s book.
3. Funnybones by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
Now, this one is a blast from the past – and still a firm favourite! Perfect for children just learning to read, this beloved series is a great introduction to all things spooky.
4. How to Make Friends with a ghost by Rebecca Green
This is such a beautifully illustrated book, and perfect for Halloween. It’s a guidebook with tips on how to make friends with a ghost – the perfect gift for children who may be afraid of ghosts, this book teaches them not to be afraid, but that ghosts can actually be a companion for life. Sort of.
1. The Amelia Fang Series by Laura Ellen Anderson
Such a unique and fun story for the spooky season. Meet Amelia, who has a pet pumpkin and is a vampire. She goes on many adventures with her friends in the land of Nocturnia, and when Squishy (her pet pumpkin) is stolen, she must risk everything to save her best friend.
2. The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett
This is a great short story collection from the one-and-only amazing Terry Pratchett. Full of his trademark humour, these 14 short stories are perfect for readers who may not be able to focus on longer tales.
3. Murder Most Unladylike Series by Robin Stevens
This series is perfect for girls who want a bit more adventure, a bit more mystery, in their bedtime reading. Meet Daisy Wong and Hazel Wells, two students at Deepdean School for Girls who have just set-up their own detective agency. When they friend their science teacher dead in the gym hall, they have to use all their cunning and wit to solve her murder.
4. Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell
This is another amazingly illustrated book, and definitely worth a flip-through when you’re next in store. Set within the gothic life of Ada Goth, her and her friends have to solve the mystery behind their mischievous gamekeeper, Maltravers.
5. The Haunting of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes
I know you’re not meant to judge a book by its cover, but isn’t this one amazing?! So spooky and autumnal, it’d look so good on your bookshelf. It’s another gripping detective tale for the Halloween season. Aveline Jones is an avid reader of ghost stories, and loves to be scared. However, when she discovers an old book, she feels compelled to uncover what happened to its previous owner, Primrose Penberthy. A perfect spooky, ghost/mystery story.
1. Goosebump Series by R.L. Stine
These are a staple to any kid’s Halloween reading list. With so many spooky tales to choose from, why not treat your little monster to one, two, maybe even three of these classic horror tales?
2. The Demonata Series by Darren Shan
Darren Shan is the definition of children’s horror. He’s like the kid’s version of Stephen King, with tales as spooky and amazing. There’re several different series you could start with, but The Demonata is by far the most blood-tingling, scary one out there. With 10 books in the series, these are sure to keep your demon reading well into the night. I’m freaking myself out just remembering these books!
3. Witch Hill by Marcus Sedgwick
Marcus Sedgwick is also one of those great horror writers. Jamie’s just moved to Crownhill after a family tragedy. He’s meant to be recovering. He’s meant to be resting. So why, when he sleeps, are his dreams infested with an evil old witch? Why can’t he get the face of a frightened little girl out of his head? Find out by discovering the town’s deep, and supposedly buried, secrets.
4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar children by Ransom Riggs
A great series and a recent(ish) film, Ransom Riggs' supernatural series is an enthralling tale about the secrets kept between friends, what ‘family’ truly means, and that everyone is a little weird, really. Centred around the black-and-white photos his Grandad leaves him, Jacob Portman is compelled to revisit his Grandad’s past, wherever that may take him, even to Wales.
5. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Often hailed as one of the spookiest kid’s stories ever written, Coraline is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve seen the film adaptation, you’ll know what I mean. This is a deliciously dark fantasy tale with some unnerved uncanniness thrown in for good measure.
6. Doll Bones by Holly Black
Doll Bones is truly like no other kid’s book. It’s the quest of a lifetime to return a haunted doll back to its originally owner, that happens to be dead. Definitely give this book a read, as it’s an endearing tale of children growing up like no other.
7. The Monsters of Rookhaven by Padraig Kenny
In these days where friendships and community mean everything, this is the perfect book to teach your kids about accepting differences, about putting friendship above all else. Mirabella is a monster. Her whole family is. Yet, the town where they live have no idea, as they hide their true selves behind a glamour. That is, until it’s torn. That’s when Mirabella truly discovers the outside world, and threats that aren’t always that easy to see.
8. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
If you want a classic ghost story like no other, then this is the book for you. Cass lives between two worlds, that of the living, and that of the dead. When her parents want to film a haunted Scotland tour, they take Cass with them. This leads her to meet another like her, another that can see the ghosts and hauntings. That’s when she realises her ‘gift’ may not be a gift at all. This is definitely the perfect Halloween book.
9. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
We all had that one, terrifying nightmare fuelled by fairy-tales, right? 12-year-old David finds his world and the world of fantasy, the one beloved by his dead mother, begin to merge, until he doesn’t know what’s real and what’s nightmare anymore.
1. This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher
One for those who love Netflix horrors. Similar to Pretty Little Liars, but with more darkness, more fear. When 5 teens arrive at an isolated mansion, they think they’re about to compete to win a $50,000 prize. The thing is though, it’s all fake. And as hidden secrets begin to be unravelled, people will die, and truths will be told. But, at what price?
2. The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
Fans of Neil Gaiman will love this mysteriously spooky, earthy tale from Rachel Burge. Based on Norse mythology, it’s like a Norse-tale/ ghost story set in contemporary Norway. Definitely perfect for these cold, dark nights.
What do you think of our list? Are you scared yet? Let us know your favourite children’s horror book over on our Facebook page and we’ll see about getting some more stock in to keep the spooky spirit lasting way past October 31st.