Happy Halloween! In addition to being the best holiday of the year, it’s also the other best holiday of the year: All Hallow’s Read!
Created by author Neil Gaiman, All Hallow’s Read has one simple rule: instead of (or in addition to) giving screaming children who ring your doorbell candy, you should also give them a scary read that will haunt them forever. Or more specifically, an age appropriate scary read.
Last year for All Hallow’s Read we gave you a list of books about creepy children who see even creepier things. This year, we figured we’d pick a more straightforward topic and share some suggestions for haunted house stories.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This non-prose horror story (which the author claims is actually a love story) is told through a collection of materials ranging from annotated textbook pages, letters, footnotes within footnotes and pages with nothing but a single sentence of dialogue. It’s not for everyone and may be for no one. As Danielewski warns in the dedication, “This is not for you.”
Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
Unlike the more traditional haunted houses on our list, Horrorstör is actually set inside a fictional furniture store heavily inspired by IKEA. Part satire, part haunted house story, part reminder that you’re wasting your life, Grady Hendrix’s catalog inspired novel is all PÄIND and ÄGÖNNII.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Were you horrified by Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery? Somehow, her full length novels are more terrifying. While The Haunting of Hill House explores a more typical haunted house, her equally tense novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle looks at how houses can become haunted by their inhabitants.
Slade House by David Mitchell
Told in short interwoven stories set nine years apart, the five tales in this horrifying collection center around the mysterious Slade House, which doomed visitors enter through a small iron door on Slade Alley in London. While there are ties to Mitchell’s other novel The Bone Clocks, you don’t need to read that in order to enjoy the immensely satisfying — and nightmare inducing — Slade House.
Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Both the living and the dead are haunted in Rooms, the first adult novel by Lauren Oliver, which is narrated by the ghosts of two of the home’s former residents. While the ghosts cannot communicate with their residents, they can emit messages through the home itself, speaking via the hissing radiator, a creaky stair or a dimming light bulb.