The best Halloween books 📚

Browse the best books on Halloween as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween

By Lisa Morton

Why this book?

Trick or Treat takes the history of Halloween and brings it into the 21st century. The book chronicles the holiday’s long history—distant and more recent, misconceptions and globalization—and offers up similar holiday stories as well, such as chapters on Dias de Los Muertos and All Saints Day celebrations. Looking for something to read or watch or listen to? Here you’ll find a chronicle of Halloween’s literature through 2012, as well as recent movies and music that capture the holiday’s culture in our world today.

From the list:

The best books on Halloween celebrations

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Book cover of The Book of Hallowe'en: The Origin and History of Halloween

The Book of Hallowe'en: The Origin and History of Halloween

By Ruth Edna Kelley

Why this book?

Originally published in 1919, Kelley’s book is the first in-depth history of Halloween, and it remains entertaining and surprisingly accurate. The book also includes charming photographs and a brief bibliography. Although the book is scarce in its original printing, it is readily available as either a free e-book or an inexpensive print-on-demand hard copy.

From the list:

The best books on the history of Halloween

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Book cover of Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween

Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween

By David J. Skal

Why this book?

David J. Skal’s delightful books always offer insight alongside history, and his history of Halloween (published in 2002) is no exception. Death Makes a Holiday (which was recently reprinted under the title Halloween: The History of America’s Darkest Holiday) remains probably the most popular recounting of the holiday’s long and fascinating history.

From the list:

The best books on the history of Halloween

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Book cover of Halloween Fiend

Halloween Fiend

By C.V. Hunt

Why this book?

In this razor-sharp novella, Halloween is personified in a bloodthirsty creature who haunts the nearly abandoned town of Strang. Fearful of Halloween’s deadly tricks, the remaining residents leave small live offerings at their doorsteps every night at sundown. But once a year on All Hallows’ Eve, Halloween demands a bigger and bloodier sacrifice. Dripping with dreadful atmosphere, Hunt does a masterful job of rendering a story that is both disturbing and surprisingly emotional for such a quick read. Steeped in folklore and ancient traditions, this grim and twisted tale reminds us that the old custom of trick or treating was…

From the list:

The best horror books to read on Halloween

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Book cover of Kill Creek

Kill Creek

By Scott Thomas

Why this book?

Scott Thomas was nominated for a Bram Stoker award for his spine-chilling story about four famous horror writers who are invited to spend Halloween in a haunted house as a publicity stunt, only to find themselves tormented by the unholy entity that roams its silent halls. Clearly an expert on the horror genre himself, Thomas brings a much-needed new twist to the haunted house trope and elevates it to a fearsome new level. But this novel’s real strength lies in its character development. A horror story only works if you care enough about the characters to hope (and pray) for…

From the list:

The best horror books to read on Halloween

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Book cover of October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween

October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween

By Various

Why this book?

There are a lot of Halloween-themed anthologies out there, but none feature as many horror heavyweights as this must-have classic. Dean Koontz, Peter Straub, Ray Bradbury, Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Ramsey Campbell—they’re all here and they’ve brought plenty of spooky friends. Packed with short stories and novellas revolving around the scariest night of the year, this collection also features amusing and nostalgic anecdotes about the authors’ favorite Halloween memories. If you’re a fan of Spooky Season, grab the candy corn and a steaming cup of cider because there are more treats here than a Halloween sack spilling candy down a…

From the list:

The best horror books to read on Halloween

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