Halloween is upon us and it’s that time of year when children and adults alike love the excuse to get creative and dress up as something gruesome; when it is socially acceptable for children to knock on strangers’ doors in the dark and demand sweets or chocolate, while obviously dressed as a blood sucking vampire. You have to love it…

What inspires us in this tradition of ghouls and ghosts? In our modern age any one of us will mention a pop culture reference from film or TV which created a deep routed terror from those instant visuals easily recognisable by all.

Nonetheless, what first captured our horror addiction and sort to terrify and engage our own over-active imaginations before detailed on the silver screen? When we were left to use our own minds to create something even scarier something that we could not see or touch but read about instead.

 

This Halloween season see our recommendations of what to read with the lights on and the doors double locked and – possibly – your mother on speed dial!

Philip recommends – Who can beat the traditional gothic horror novel Dracula by Bram Stoker that really gave vampires their edge? An insightful world of mystery and suspense told in an epistolary format of Count Dracula’s attempt to move to England for new prey.

Eleanor recommends – Zombies seem to be in vogue in the horror world at present, so to get your literary fashion fix read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. A tale of a Zombie named R, no longer content with his decaying life, trying to find his humanity through love and making sense of a wold gone into chaos. Told through R’s eyes each chapter gets a little longer as his consciousness starts to awaken to what it means to be truly human. A Zombie novel with a heart.

Claire recommends – There are so many great children’s books out there about monsters and talking skeletons, but you just can’t beat Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas to read to your children. A fun book about a witch with a serious problem, everything is black including her cat causing mayhem, with an excellent twist at the end!

 

 

 

 

Beatrice recommends – Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole: A gothic novel that makes the supernatural spooky, by announcing a sudden death right at the beginning, is an easy read in the gothic genre. The unexpected death by a mysterious giant helmet falling on the future Lord of Otranto injects some fun into the short story. And, despite the doomed romance that quickly emerges as a result, it does not detract from the fantastic imagination of this British politician turned writer.

Charlotte recommends – If you are someone slightly addicted to ghost stories and tales of what goes bump in the night, then you must read Ghosts: 100 Stories to Read with the Lights on by Louise Welsh, a book which will keep you jumping in your seat over and over again. A collection of Booker Prize-winners, ancient folk tales and gothic classics, this book will entertain any horror lover brave enough to turn the page…

Fruzsina recommends – The Penguin Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe are a thrilling mix of the spooky, the grotesque and even the humorous. These stories are the perfect leaf through on a ghoulish Halloween night, or a read aloud for evening entertainment. A good glass of red wine and some eerie musical accompaniment are also strongly advised.