10 Scary Books To Read On Halloween Instead Of Going Out

Are you between the ages of 18 and 34? No? Do you like to save money? (I mean, who doesn't?) Is there a part of you that wonders if maybe, kind of, a little bit all the hullabaloo over Halloween is just too much? Kiddos, I'm with you — which is why scary Halloween books, in my opinion, are a far better use of your time/capital/brainspace than costumes. I know bargains exist, but the average millennial (18-34 year-olds, that's you/me) will spend "an average $42.39" on a costume, according to the National Retail Federation. Doesn't that just seem a little . . . ugh? Especially when you consider how many books you might buy with $42.39? (According to my best guesstimate, potentially fifty if you shop your fave used outpost.)

But being a book-lover doesn't mean you have to be a Halloween hater. (I'm not, I swear — just ambivalent.) In fact, I would argue that reading a good book can help you better embrace the spirit of Halloween — that creepy, uncanny, unsettled down to your core thing--more than squeezing into a costume you'll regret the next morning . . .

Okay! So I'm a Halloween scrooge (sorry--I'm in the minority: these days, only 30% of people don't celebrate Halloween!). Forget about that. These 10 scary books have nothing to do with my feelings. They're just plain old, inexpensive fun with the power to make your blood run cold.

1. My Soul To Keep (African Immortals, #1) by Tananarive Due

Due famously cited both Toni Morrison and Stephen King as influences, which should give you a good sense of what to expect in this love story, deal-with-the-devil tale that will not let you go. Stephen King called My Soul To Keep "really big and really satisfying, an eerie epic that bears favorable comparison to `Interview with the Vampire.'"

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2. Brown Girl In The Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

This dystopian horror novel is set in bizarro Toronto. Chock full of organ farms and vividly realized family bonds, Brown Girl in the Ring is also a ghost story, haunted by Caribbean spirits.

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3. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

Okorafor's move into supernatural fiction was terrific, as you'll discover in this post-apocalyptic thriller set in a Africa. Like any horror novel with teeth, it speaks to our most pervasive fears and feelings:

“To be something abnormal meant that you were to serve the normal. And if you refused, they hated you... and often the normal hated you even when you did serve them.”

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4. The Lonely by Ainslie Hogarth

In Hogarth's novelistic world, "the lonely" is a condition that affects all the women in the Deetz family--and this story is the account of one Easter Deetz, who is slowly, before your eyes, dear reader, dying. “Just to warn you, I die at the end of all of this," Hogarth writes. "So don't get too attached to me or anything.”

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5. We Eat Our Own by Kea Wilson

Debut literary horror for cinephiles and bibliophiles alike, Kea Wilson's novel is an homage to the true story of Italian fright filmmaking (see: "Cannibal Holocaust") that went scandalously awry.

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6. The Fever by Megan Abbott

Abbott's writing is my latest obsession. She's like the lovechild of Stephen King and Shirley Jackson, writing about teenage girls. Terrifying and crush-worthy lines galore:

“I have another friend who gets what I’m really like, and I get her. She scares me. Did you ever see yourself times ten in another person and want to cover your eyes?”

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7. The Exception by Christian Jungersen

A psychological thriller that delves into the heaviest heavies (i.e., genocide), Jungersen's novel will slowly wrap you around its finger with its depiction of four women whose work takes over their lives.

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8. Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon

You'll be crushing on the characters in this cozy thriller that's equal parts mystery and romance, packed with suspense, a set in a small town that you'll so thoroughly sink into that you won't hear those pesky trick-or-treaters knocking at your door.

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9. The Dead Boyfriend by R.L. Stine

What?! A new Fear Street novel? You know it's not going to be truly scary, but it's guaranteed to be a legit throwback.

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10. The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

This steampunk queen of darkness knocks it out of the park with a haunted house that's about to plague your dreams.

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Images: Aimee Vogelsang/Unsplash