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Halloween Books for Adults

These spooky reads are sure to put you in the Halloween spirit


Pumpkins, colored maple leaves, chilly winds, black cats, costumes and parties. Sweet. For those armchair nights, though, here are a handful of books for you to set the mood in this month’s second installment of Halloween reads! PS: Most of the following authors have written MANY other great spooky tomes (as you know, and sundry tales have been made into scary films) so just hit the local bookstore and dive right in!

Rosemary’s Baby                 

Satan’s child? In a Manhattan apartment?!?! The neighbors are part of a coven?!?! Whaah? Get the hell outta here…or rather, get hell outta here!! This novel was written more than 40 years ago, but it’s STILL chilling. Sheesh. Roman Polanski’s film adaptation of Ira Levin’s book is, perhaps, even more grippingly horrifying. OK—they’re both tundral, and diabolical.

Doctor Sleep

My favorite Stephen King novel is Salem’s Lot (I’m a vampire dude…), but The Shining is also supremely, memorably, bizarre-o scary. Well, just out now is this follow-up work to the charming Torrance family saga. Remember how Joey, in Friends, kept his copy of The Shining in the freezer? No? Yes? Well, move those frozen peas now for Doctor Sleep! Um, unless you’re reading the e-book.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

It sure does. At least, to the Midwestern town in Ray Bradbury’s horror classic. I think that, if a dark carnival would move into Fairfield County on a fall night, I’d get outta here pretty quick. The two boys in this story, though, don’t, and try to TCB. (Pssst: that’s Elvis’s old acronym for “Taking Care of Business.”) Reader’s note: for adults, not just the youngsters.

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

Yes, H.P. Lovecraft. Ugh. This novella—short, not-at-all-sweet and gruesome—when I first read this, it had me turning on all the lights in the house, seeking out the comfort of loved ones, and avoiding dark places in general for roughly the rest of the month. Possibly until that Christmas, who knows...?


How could I resist? Mary Shelley’s work is perhaps one of the top five pieces of English prose from the 19th century. Period. For classic tales of the macabre, there are Poe’s stories, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” Faulkner’s “A Rose For Emily,” Stoker’s Dracula (surprising how few have read the actual pot-boiler!) or John Polidori’s clever little psychotwister, “The Vampyre,” but Shelley is REALLY where it’s at. Of all the books on this list that you haven’t read, read Frankenstein this season, if you can—or even, if you can’t read it now, read it later. Trust me, it isn’t what you think…it’s a whole lot more challenging and rich.

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