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Sorta Scary Stories for the Spooky Season

spooky house

Whether you are a reader on the younger side who seeks the illusion of chills, or a tween who laughs at horror, October and the incoming fall season is the perfect time to indulge in some literary thrills.

This list includes picture books, short chapter books, and middle grade books that will hopefully put you in the mood for the spooky season.  This is just a sampling, though -- please come visit us in person at the library to really increase your scary factor!






Picture Books:

Monster Trouble cover art

Monster Trouble by Lane Frederickson (PreK- 1st grade)


Every night, Winifred Schnitzel's bedroom is invaded by a horde of monsters of every shape and size.  This is a huge problem, but not for the reason you think!  Winifred loves pirates, werewolves, and scary movies, and she thinks monsters are cute! Those pesky creatures are ruining her sleep patterns though, and something must be done! Adorable artwork, a fun and cheery story, and an intrepid main character make this a terrific not-so-spooky read!



The Dark cover art

The Dark by Lemony Snicket (PreK to 2nd grade)


Author Lemony Snicket (writer of A Series Of Unfortunate Events books) and Illustrator Jon Klassen (Caldecott award-winning artist for This is Not My Hat) team up in this just spooky enough story about a boy who starts out afraid of the dark, and ends up finding his courage.




I Want to Be in a Scary Story cover art

 I Want to Be in a Scary Story by Sean Taylor (PreK to 1st grade)


What happens when an author and his main character disagree about the focus of a story?  In this entertaining gem, author Sean Taylor wants to write a funny story, but his main character Monster has other ideas. He wants to be the star of a super scary story! Or does he?




Short Chapter Books:

Beneath the Bed cover art

 Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories (Mister Shivers series) by Max Brallier (1st to 3rd grade)


A step up in the spooky department (or maybe I’m just a scaredy cat!), this series opener consists of five creepy short stories that are like a younger version of the classic Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series by Alan Schwartz.  This book is heavily illustrated, and the stories are brief -- perfect for brave youngsters who want to indulge in some bite-sized tales that might bite back!




Ghostville Elementary

Ghostville Elementary  (series) by Marcia Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey (2nd to 4th grade)


When overcrowding forces a 3rd grade class into a room in the Sleepy Hollow Elementary School’s basement, the students discover that the space is already occupied -- by a class full of ghosts, and they don’t want to share! Fun, fast paced, and just the right length for readers who don’t want to be scared away by monstrously long chapter books!




In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories

In a Dark Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz (1st to 3rd grade)


No spooky story list would be complete without the inclusion of a book by master creepy storyteller Alvin Schwartz.  This early chapter book is a classic in the young horror reader realm.  It’s been around for almost 40 years, and it’s just as popular now as it ever was.  A collection of seven creepy tales, the stories and the illustrations match up perfectly to delight readers who crave a scare in written form.




Middle Grade:

Scary Stories for Young Foxes cover art

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker (4th- 7th grade)


In this Newbery Honor winner, seven little foxes sneak out of their den and away from their mother, on the hunt for a scary story.  When they connect with “the storyteller”, they might end up with more than they bargained for.  Don’t let the idea of cute baby foxes fool you -- the interconnected stories in this illustrated collection are creepy as all get out.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!




Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories by Jeff Kinney (3rd- 7th grade)


If you’re more in the mood for the lighter side of zombies, mummies, and human heads, then this collection might be just what you are looking for.  This is the third volume of the Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid series which features Rowley Jefferson, the hapless but entertaining sidekick of Greg Heffley, star of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  Whether you’ve read the Wimpy Kid books or not (is there any kid who hasn’t?), you’ll LOL at these just slightly spooky tales told by the young “everyman” protagonist.



Whispering Pines

Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski (4th- 8th grade)


There are strange things going on in the town of Whispering Pines.  Rae Carter has just moved into town with her mother and sister after her father’s mysterious disappearance.   Rae shares an immediate connection with her neighbor, Caden Price, whose brother has gone missing as well.  Together, the two team up to investigate the eerie occurrences in their town, from the slightly strange (such as school rules forbidding chalk and the wearing of garlic), to the downright horrifying (missing children found again, but recovered without their eyes!).  Could the local energy company be at the root of all this darkness? Young Stranger Things fans, and readers who love a touch of the macabre should definitely check this book out!


Published by on October 07, 2021
Last Modified July 04, 2022