October is my favorite month of the year. I love the chill in the air and the spooky vibes that come along with Halloween. It’s the perfect time of year to curl up under a cozy blanket with a scary story! There are many horror stories written for middle grade readers ranging from the mildly creepy to downright terrifying! I have some recommendations below that can be found in our children’s collection. Click on the titles that interest you to request your copy straight from our catalog.
The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
Ease young readers into horror stories with this ghostly murder mystery! 12 year-old Amy has an extended visit with her aunt who is cleaning out her deceased great-grandparents’ home. Their deaths happened many years before Amy was born and have always been a mystery to her. The mystery begins to unravel when she uncovers a beautiful dollhouse modeled after their house, stashed away in the attic. The dolls in the dollhouse seem to move on their own. Are they trying to tell her something? Any mention of the dollhouse or the great-grandparents upsets her aunt, so Amy has to do her own research to uncover what really happened to her family years ago. This story has a low level of supernatural creepiness that pairs well with its fascinating family mystery.
Peppermints in the Parlor by Barbara Brooks Wallace
Recently orphaned Emily goes to live with her aunt and uncle in their fancy mansion. Things are definitely not what she expected though. Her uncle is missing, her aunt is scared, and there are strange people living there. The house itself is different. The once bright and lively home is now dark and full of shadows. She is immediately assigned the role of servant by the new head of the home, Mrs. Meeching, and Emily is not allowed to ask questions. But what is really going on? Why are there old people living in the house who don’t speak? Who is Mrs. Meeching really and why is she there? What happened to her uncle, and why is her aunt so scared? This creepy and intriguing mystery will keep you guessing until the end!
Small Spaces by Catherine Arden
This is a really spooky modern tale involving ghosts from long ago, strange creatures, bizarre disappearances, and the smiling man! After the tragic loss of her mother, 12-year-old Ollie finds comfort in books. One day, she happens upon a distraught woman on the verge of throwing a book in a river. Ollie snatches the book in an effort to save it, and runs away with it. She finds herself entranced by the story in the book about a family with mysterious disappearances. The book warns: “When the mist rises, and the smiling man comes walking, you must avoid large places at night. Keep to small”. Soon after reading this book, Ollie goes on a field trip with her class to a farm where she finds out what this all really means.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Bod is orphaned at a very young age when his family is murdered. He wanders off into a graveyard during the attack and winds up being raised by the ghosts and other inhabitants of the graveyard. The killer still intends to kill Bod, but he is protected in the graveyard. This book follows Bod throughout his sweet and creepy childhood. The unique characters that cross his path throughout his life will keep readers engaged in this dark and enchanting story. Graphic novel fans may enjoy this version of the story here.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Three Books to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
This is a compilation of all the Scary Stories in one book – enough to satisfy your creepy tooth for many nights. These are short stories that are great for read-alouds and include very chilling illustrations to add to your nightmare fuel. Many of the stories are urban legends and some are a bit silly. Have fun being scared with this collection of time-less tales that never get old!
City of Ghosts by Author
I haven’t actually read this one yet, but it’s high up on my list of what to read next based on the eerie description! Here is a summary from our catalog: Ever since her near-fatal drowning, Cassidy has been able to pull back the “Veil” that separates the living from the dead and see ghosts, not that she wants to, and she was really looking forward to a ghost-free summer at the beach; however her parents are going to start filming a TV series about the world’s most haunted places, starting with Edinburgh with its graveyards, castles, and restless phantoms–and Cass and her personal ghost companion, Jacob, are about to find out that a city of old ghosts can be a very dangerous place indeed.