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Our favorite spooky books to read around the fire

Grab your friends, pull a chair up to a fire, and settle into spooky season with these haunting tales.

By: Aurora Slaughter + Save to a List

In the spirit of October, we are rounding up some of our favorite spooky stories to read on crisp autumn nights around the fire. With witches, ghosts, monsters, and more haunting every page, these stories are the perfect way to get you into the spirit of the season. 

Whether you are looking for a full-length novel, short stories, poems, or something to read with the whole family, we’ve got you covered.

1. "Ask the Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World" 

By Arielle North Olson and Howard Schwartz 

Compiled of 22 stories, this book for kids 8 and older seeks to retell frightening folktales from around the world. The authors brilliantly present a casual and calm tone throughout the book, making it a chillingly perfect read around the fire this spooky season. Read a range of stories about ghosts, witches, voodoo spells, and everything else that goes bump in the night. This story also gives you the chance to read stories from a wide variety of cultures and experiences.

2. "The October Boys"

By Adam Millard

Beginning on Halloween night in 1988, a group of London trick-or-treaters are enticed by the appearance of an ice cream truck. Everything takes a turn for the worse when one of them is taken. Flash forward to October 2016 and the remaining friends return to the place where it all happened after being plagued by horrifying visions and growing unease.

the smoke from a fire in the distance rises into the starry sky

Photo by: Korey Taylor

3. "The Only Good Indians"

By Stephen Graham

Following the lives of four Indigenous men and their families as they are haunted by a disturbing event that took place in their youth, this psychological thriller is sure to give you nightmares. If you are a fan of Jordan Peele or Tommy Orange and are looking for a read to fit the season, this is the perfect choice for you.

4. "The Invited"

By Jennifer McMahon

Set in the woods of Vermont, a husband and wife buy acres of rural land and begin to build the house of their dreams. After learning about the property’s dark and violent past, the wife begins incorporating artifacts and materials from the past buildings into their house. As construction continues, the home becomes a place of nightmares. With unfinished business and hauntings around every corner, this nail biter is sure to keep you turning the pages.

A group of people relax around a campfire

Photo by: Brandon Jett

5. "On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave" 

By Candace Fleming

This award-winning author presents 10 family-friendly ghost stories sure to get you in the Halloween mood. Taking place in an actual graveyard outside of Chicago, the tales take you on a journey through history beginning in 1860 and moving through several time periods before reaching the present. The supernatural intermingles with Chicago’s rich history throughout the book and allows the reader to dive into everything from demonic possession and walking corpses to the Great Depression, the World’s Fair, and Al Capone.

6. "Five Midnights"

By Ann Dávila Cardinal

This frightening page-turner is set in Puerto Rico and based on the El Cuco myth. The two main characters come together to solve a series of murders and ends up in a realm of myth and legend. This fast-paced novel is the perfect fireside read and will leave you wondering what may lurk in the dark shadows beyond the light.

Photo by: Tyler Drake

7. "Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales"

By Stephen King and Bev Vincent

Legendary horror author Stephen King comes together with Bev Vincent to create the perfect conglomeration of 17 short stories perfect to read aloud with friends around the fireplace. Tapping into one of King’s greatest fears, air travel, these stories are bound to make you second guess future travel plans.

8. "Poems Bewitched and Haunted" 

By John Hollander

Gather around the fire with this book to tell ghoulish stories of specters and sorceresses, witches and hags, and ghosts and apparitions. You are sure to be haunted by these tales spun from some of the most prolific authors in history including Homer, Horace, Edgar Allen Poe, and Emily Dickinson. 

Cover Photo by: Mathias Reding on Pexels

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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