This post is all about spooky story collections, novellas, and short stories! If you’re interested in even more specific Halloween recommendations I will link all of my previous ones at the end of the post!
I will also link each title to its Goodreads page if you want more info as well as include my full reviews if they’re available.
This is a collection of stories all by the same author (Joe Hill, of course) with the exception of a few that he wrote with his father, Stephen King. I have to say that I really enjoyed a lot of the stories and some of them are wonderfully dark and creepy. However, there are also quite a few that are not very “horror-y” at all but are still worth the read including some very emotional/touching stories and some fantasy and sci-fi. Overall a very solid collection and a few stories are perfect for Halloween:
- Full Throttle – a motorcycle gang attempts to outrun a trucker hellbent on killing them all.
- Dark Carousel – after a group of teens vandalize and mistreat an old carousel, the carousel animals take revenge.
- Twittering from the Circus of the Dead – a girl live tweets from a strange road side circus her family stops in at and discovers exactly why it’s called “circus of the dead”.
- In The Tall Grass – (I really enjoyed the Netflix adaptation even if it’s pretty different, I recommend it.) a pair of siblings traveling cross country come to stop by a tall field of grass where they hear a mysterious voice calling for help.
Wonderland: An Anthology by Various Authors
This is an anthology of horror re-imaginings of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and there are some wonderfully weird and creepy stories here. There were a few that got a little too strange for me (but hey, what did I expect considering the source material) but overall I enjoyed it. I’d highly recommend this if you’re a fan of both ‘Alice’ and the horror genre. Some of my fave stories that would be great for Halloween include:
- There Were No Birds To Fly – an apocalyptic retelling where monsters that turn into your darkest fears stalk and kill you.
- The Hunting of the Jabberwock – the story of a character seeking fame as a monster slayer by hunting the dreaded Jabberwock.
- The Night Parade – a woman chases after a child and finds herself in another realm as deadly yokai (Japanese demons) parade through a forest.
- The White Queen’s Dictum – this is a ghost story where a paranormal investigator holds a conversation with a mysterious stranger in a diner.
Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft by Various Authors
This is just one of those books that is PERFECT for a Halloween read. The stories are of course all about women and witchcraft and feature many diverse characters including POC and LGTBQ+ characters, the stories are all also very feminist. What more could you want in a book? There wasn’t a single story in this collection that I didn’t enjoy, it’s just that good. So if you’re looking for some spooky, witchy fun then definitely give this one a read.
His Hideous Heart by Various Authors
This anthology is full of retellings of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and it’s a ton of fun to see modernized versions of them. There’s a lot of diversity in this collection’s stories as well featuring POC, LGTBQ+, and disabled characters. There were a few stories I didn’t quite mesh with but overall this book is a good time, especially if you’re a Poe fan. This book also features each original story with its retelling in case you need a refresher!
These Deathless Bones by Cassandra Khaw
Available to Read Here @ Tor.com
An amazing horror short story about the Witch Bride of the king and the discord between her and her young stepson. This is super short but it’s such a great, quick read, it immediately sucked me in. I wish it were a full length book because it’s creepy and fantastic. Give it a read in the link I included!
Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones
This is a novella about when a teen prank goes wrong and all hell breaks loose. Is it something supernatural? A psychopath on the loose? Both?
While I personally wasn’t super blown away by this, I still felt it needs recommending because it’s a good read if you’re the right person for it. This is more psychological horror and it gets pretty bizarre but there are a few good creepy scares and it is a fun little read overall. I was just expecting something a little different but if you’re looking for a quick read and don’t want to be TOO scared, then maybe give this a try.
The Lamb Will Slaughter The Lion by Margaret Killjoy
A novella that has a super unique story filled with LGTBQ+ and POC characters, it also happens to be creepy as hell in the best way possible. It’s about queer punk rock traveler, Danielle Cain, who is searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious suicide. She ends up in a squatter, utopian town where the residents have summoned a protector spirit that has turned on them. A demonic blood red, three antlered deer murdering townspeople, that’s what it’s about and it’s awesome.
Blanky by Kealan Patrick Burke
Probably one of the creepiest little short stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading. It’s about a man struggling with the grief of losing his infant daughter and becoming estranged from his wife. One night he hears a noise coming from his daughter’s old room, everything reminding him of her removed, except for her old blanket, Blanky which is now sitting in the room. There’s only one problem: he buried her with it.
Leave it to Kealan Patrick Burke to make a baby blanket this terrifying, seriously I can’t believe I was so scared of an inanimate object let alone something cuddly! This is an excellent story all around though, not just for the scares but if you’re looking for something to really haunt your dreams it’s this one.
The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp
A Gothic horror with an amazingly eerie and hauntingly beautiful atmosphere, it’s also very well written. There’s an old Victorian house, a maze to the house full of creepy statues, and a governess that goes there to tutor a girl that she soon finds out….isn’t there at all. Or is she?
As I said it’s a very eerie atmosphere, so it’s a bit chilling at times but I loved the setting as well. I love an old, creepy house story! However, this story does get a bit bizarre and the ending, I felt, was too abrupt. Still, if you’re looking for a short, Gothic read with a few chills then I’d check this one out!
Check out my other Halloween Recommendation posts below!
- Ghost Stories & Creature Features
- My All Time Spookiest Reads!
- Scariest Books I’ve Read
- Devils & Demons & Ghosts, Oh My!
- Double, Double Toil and Trouble (Witchy Book Recs)
- The Real Monsters Are Human (Serial Killers, Murderers, & Downright Awful Humans)
- Zombies & Other Infectious Creatures
- Monsters, Horrors, & Other Stuff of Nightmares
Have you read any of these books too? What did you think?
What are some of your favorite spooky reads?
Let me know in the comments!
I feel like Stephen Graham Jones’ writing in general depends on the reader being in the right mood for it; I just read The Only Good Indians and enjoyed it but not as much as I would have had I been in the right mood. Thanks for recommending These Deathless Bones, checking that out now!
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For sure, I felt the same with both “Night of the Mannequins” and “The Only Good Indians” and I feel it was because I was expecting something different. I was also already creeping on Goodreads and saw that you added “Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw now as well and I’m so happy you enjoyed the short story “These Deathless Bones”!
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Yea I think that expectations can really shape my reading experience. For some reason, I was expecting some kind of Wendigo thing with The Only Good Indians.
These Deathless Bones was SO GOOD. Thank you so much for the recommendation because this is the kind of writing I adore! Really wish it was longer, though haha
I havent read many anthologies, but I LOVE the movie Trick or Treat. I’ve been looking for an anthology that connects the stories like that movie and I haven’t been able to find one. Toil and Trouble looks like a perfect read for Halloween!