Unlike our friends at Hodderscape, we’re not necessarily all about the scary things.
Sure, we can appreciate that horror is great. Stephen King has A game, we know that, and there have been some INCREDIBLE horror books and films, but sometimes the idea of being completely terrified beyond belief does not appeal. Sometimes we just want to curl into bed and read a book that ISN’T going to keep us up all night.
So, as it is Halloween, we thought we would write our Top 10 Alternative Halloween Reads: books with Halloween-esque elements, but without the whole freaking-us out-too-much thing. Let us know whether you agree with our suggestions on our social channels.
The Hawkweed Prophecy
Witches, prophecies and ravens. This is the perfect tamer Halloween book. It’s thrilling and features a plot which grips you and won’t let you go! Find out more here.
The Language of Thorns
Inspired by myth, fairy tale and folklore, The Language of Thorns is a collection of lavish and sumptuously, dark short stories – the perfect book to dip in and out of this Halloween.
Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.
Find out more here.
I Am Traitor
Love a bit of sci-fi? SO DO WE. This story of one teen’s fight against ‘the visitors’ who are kidnapping teenagers is, on the surface, an EXTREMELY terrifying concept. And don’t get us wrong, there are some DARK moments in this book, but it is still a book that those with a disposition toward less scary things will enjoy. Fans of the Gone series will LOVE it. Find out more here.
The Handmaid’s Tale
If you haven’t read this book, then read it. If you haven’t watched the TV show starring Elizabeth Moss, then watch it. This is a book that NEEDS to be read and it’s a great one to read around Halloween because it has just enough scariness in it to feel like you’re reading a horror book when you’re not… not quite. When you consider some of the accurate comparisons to modern day politics though, that is RATHER scary. Maybe this SHOULD be on a horror list…
The Darkest Minds
Riveting? Check. Thrilling? Check. Life or death scenarios? Check.
The Darkest Minds has it ALL.
A mysterious disease has killed most of America’s children. sixteen-year-old Ruby might have survived, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse than a virus: frightening abilities they cannot control.
If you love The Hunger Games, you will LOVE this. This is on our Halloween list because it’s really thrilling and makes your heart beat out of your ears at times. Find out more here.
The first book in Teri Terry’s new trilogy has everything a Halloween book should have: a deadly infection sweeping across the country, paranormal activity and a gripping plot. Contagion is catching and you won’t be able to put it down – that’s the main side effect of reading it. But it is a FANTASTIC Halloween read and we’d thoroughly recommend it.
Young runaway Callie survived the disease, but not the so-called treatment. Her brother Kai is still looking for her. And his new friend Shay may hold the key to uncovering what truly happened.
Find out more here.
The Girl with all The Gifts
We’d say this book was a tier down from the horror genre and probably the closest to horror on this list. If you like zombies and twists and turns and great character dynamics, then this is the book for you. It’s SO haunting and gripping and the end will blow your mind. The author, M. R. Carey has also gone onto write Fellside which was considered a horror book by some, so if you’re looking for a real Halloween treat and not a trick then this could be it.
The Dead House
Now THIS is creepy.
Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High School burned down. The blaze killed three and injured twenty, and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. For two decades, little was revealed about what became known as the Johnson Incident.
GUYS GUYS GUYS. This book is… well, there are no words. It’s chilling, it’s creepy, it’s the kind of book where you want to yell at the characters in fear. It’s such a brilliant read and definitely one for cold and creepy nights. Find out more here.
And finally… Saint Death
A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border. Narcos fans rejoice. THIS is the read for you. Find out more here.