9 Books to Make Your Skin Crawl This Halloween

by Melissa Ragsdale

Spine-tingling. Bone chilling. Your hair standing up on end. With Halloween at our door, it's time to bring on the creepy, scary books. The books that make you look behind you twice as you cross the street, the ones that make your stomach churn with anticipation.

These books aren't white-sheet ghosts jumping out at you and saying "Boo!" Instead, they're filled with the quiet kind of fear. The one that bubbles up inside of you as you slowly begin to realize that something is definitely wrong. These books will gnaw at you. They're psychological and they're dark. They'll have you reading until every last drop of the mystery is revealed.

These books are filled with shadows. As the pages turn, you'll shiver and bite your lip. They will have you thinking about if monsters are real, and if there could be one in the room with you right now. This reading list is not for a cutesy candy Halloween read, but rather for a read that will make you lean in closer.

Something is lurking in these books. Something raw and terrible and fascinating. Go ahead, I dare you to pick one up and see what you find. Or, more accurately, see what finds you.

1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielowski

This book begins with a simple, creepy premise: a house that is bigger on the inside than the outside. But as we dive deeper into the mystery, we find that the house is filled with a sinister presence. With words that are formatted in a completely unique way, this book is an absolute must-read.

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2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

This classic horror book is the absolute definition of creepy. By horror queen Shirley Jackson, this is the story of Merricat Blackwood, who has returned to her family estate after members of her family were murdered.

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3. The Museum of Dr. Moses by Joyce Carol Oates

In this collection, legendary author Joyce Carol Oates treats us to stories that will make your blood curdle. With plenty of twists and turns, these stories are sure to unsettle you in the best of ways.

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4. Goth by Otsuichi

This twisted Japanese novel is one you won't be able to put down. Following a group of high schoolers who become obsessed with a murderer, the story takes you on a path deep into darkest parts of the human mind. This book has become such an instant classic that it's also been adapted into a manga version.

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5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This is the story of a gruesome murder, recounted by the teenage victim who's telling the story after she died.

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6. The Red Tree by Caitlín R. Kiernan

After a tragedy, writer Sarah Crowe moves into an old farmhouse in the boonies Rhode Island in an attempt to get over her writer's block. She discovers the manuscript of the previous tenant, who had committed suicided and in their writing is obsessed with the red tree in the front yard. As the novel progresses, Sarah's touch on reality slowly begins to disintegrate.

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7. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

When a country doctor makes a house call to Hundreds Hall, an old mansion that has belonged to the Ayres family for two centuries and is now crumbling into decline, he discovers that there might be something haunting the house.

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8. Hell by Kathryn Davis

In this uncanny novel, three separate households (that is, three separate realities) coexist in the same place. This exquisite, carefully written novel is a puzzle, with threads of narrative that can only interlock just so.

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9. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

In this classic (the inspiration for the Hitchcock film), a young woman is swept of her feet by an older man, but when she marries him and moves into her estate, she discovers that there is no way for her to compete with his late wife, Rebecca. Especially since Rebecca's spirit seems to still be in the house.

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Images: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay