scary books you can finish by halloween

I've got a fun costume, a party to go to, a DVR filled with horror movies, and some candy for the neighborhood kids. I'm all set. But if you still need a little help getting into the Halloween spirit, try one of these short reads this weekend.

We Have Always Lived In the Castle, by Shirley Jackson

We Have Always Lived in the Castle Shirley Jackson is amazing. She's best known for The Haunting of Hill House or The Lottery, but this is my favorite of her books. After a family tragedy, two sisters live in isolation until an outsider forces his way into their carefully-structured world. The book has great atmosphere, and Jackson's unreliable narrator shares out just enough information for readers to piece the facts together before the story's end. It's gothic fiction at its best.

The Bad Seed, by William March

Bad SeedRhoda Penmark is talented, driven, and charming, but she's also a cold-blooded killer. One of the biggest successes of The Bad Seed is that it doesn't try to hide what's really going on. It's obvious that something is off about Rhoda right away, the horror in this story comes from watching her poor mother come to grips with the idea of what her young daughter is capable of. This book was controversial at its release, but it's been influential on horror ever since.

Dark Harvest, by Norman Partridge

Dark HarvestOn every Halloween, the teenage boys in one small town play out a dangerous ritual with the October Boy. They hunt him in hopes of winning a better life, but facing him down may mean their death. It's basically about growing up, sacrifice, and a pumpkin-headed monster. There's something to be said for an action-heavy Halloween rampage, and in this case that something is, "Just lock yourself in the basement."

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