Halloween– the perfect excuse to eat an exorbitant amount of candy and to dress in ways you’d never dream of dressing in your everyday life
It is also that perfect time to curl up with your favorite blanket and enjoy the assortment of Halloween movies or books. So if you are looking for that perfect story to settle down with for this Halloween weekend, here are some of my recommendations:
1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I’ll admit that graveyards have always held a particular charm for me (while we were dating, my husband and I would go to the graveyard every Sunday for an afternoon walk, and he eventually proposed to me there) so when I came across this book, I was immediately captivated. And this book absolutely fed those feelings of enchantment.
The Graveyard Book tells the story of Nobody “Bod” Owens an orphan, who is the only living resident of a graveyard. It goes through the many adventures Bod has through the years, including a run in with three hungry ghouls, the interactions between a young (and alive) girl, the solving of the mystery of his family’s murder, and finally, the transition of Bod to the world outside the graveyard.
There is also a beautifully described dance of both the dead and the living, which I thought was just lovely.
This book was Gaiman’s first full-length novel for middle-grade readers since Coraline and can be an enjoyable reading experience for both its young readers as well as an adult audience.
2. Edgar Allan Poe’s Collected Works
Is it really a Halloween-themed book list if Edgar Allan Poe isn’t on it? This is the classic English teacher move, doing the unit on Poe during October. But you know what? It totally works.
Poe isn’t known as the “Master of Macbre” and the “Father of the Detective Story” for nothing. And his personal life was just as sad and mysterious as the subject matter of his short stories and poems, almost all of which will be found in his collected works.
His collected works gives you a long list of stories and works to choose from, and a few can be read in just a sitting. Among my favorites are the Tell-Tale Heart and The Masque of the Red Death. Also, if you are in need of a good laugh after the reading of one of these macabre stories, here is The Simpson’s version of Poe’s most famous work “The Raven”
3. Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None
I read this book last summer and was thoroughly impressed with how creeped out I got*
And Then There Were None is arguably Christie’s best novel and I found it to be a masterfully written mystery. Ten strangers are invited to an island by a mysterious host and are killed off one by one. She includes a morbid poem about Ten Little Indians (which is also the novel’s alternative title) which describes the deaths of each of the ten, in perfect order.
I found myself referring to the poem throughout my reading of the novel and even though I knew how the next person was going to die, it only made the book scarier to read.
*Disclaimer: If you are like me, don’t read late at night when you are home alone (or home alone with a husband or a roommate who enjoys scaring you once in a while).
4. Harry Potter Series
My husband and I joke that Harry Potter is one of those series that can fit perfectly on a variety of lists, no matter what the theme. The overall feeling of magic that this book leaves the reader with has a way of permeating even the most ordinary of lives.
For the last two Christmases, I’ve received the newly released illustrated editions of the series, which are absolutely gorgeous. Jim Kay perfectly captures the characters and places I’ve come to know and love through his illustrations.
5. Jerry Seinfeld’s Halloween
I hesitate to even call this a “book” in the traditional sense, it is actually a stand-up routine that someone decided to illustrate. My high school English teacher read it to us during my senior year, and I’ve gone back to it every year since, for a good laugh this time of year. This family-friendly and hilarious Seinfeld routine describes childhood experiences of Halloween that are incredibly relatable.
The illustrations are just as humorous as the narration, and few things beat seeing a young cartoon version of Jerry Seinfeld. I also recommend reading it along with the Seinfeld audio found here.