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There's nothing like curling up with a good book in the fall. These classic spooky books are perfect to prepare you for Halloween.
For those of you who like to read books that correspond with the seasons (a light beach read in the summer or a Christmas love story during the holidays), it's hard to find books that are dark, but not necessarily outright horror for the fall time. These are some of the best classic spooky books to give you a little thrill without too much scare.
Frankenstein is a classic gothic novel about a scientist who conducts experiments and creates a living creature. Did you know that Frankenstein is actually the name of the scientist in the story and the monster itself is never given a specific name?
The Haunting of Hill House is a classic ghost story about a haunted house. When you're done reading the book, there is a show on Netflix you can watch for even more spookiness.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favorite classic books! It's about a man who seeks eternal youth and beauty and discovers its consequences. This one isn't as scary as it is gothic, but it perfectly sets a dark mood!
Hamlet is the classic play written by William Shakespeare about the young Prince Hamlet who seeks revenge upon learning that his uncle killed his father with designs to become king. Hamlet has themes of death, madness, and revenge, perfect for a fall read.
Wuthering Heights is about the tortured love story of Catherine and Heathcliff. When Heathcliff seeks revenge on those who have wronged him, he sets into motion a dark plot. This book brings the drama and is perfect for reading on a rainy fall day.
The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story about a woman who is isolated to an upstairs bedroom in a mansion as a treatment for her depression. The book has themes of madness, hysteria, and isolation as well as the power of men over women at the time the piece was written.
The Tell-Tale Heart is a short story by Edgar Allen Poe about a man who commits a murder, rationalizes that he was right to do so, and conceals the evidence. The themes of guilt, madness, and paranoia will put you in the right frame of mind to be spooked.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is about two best friends who encounter a carnival run by the evil Mr. Dark. The book is about the struggle between good and evil.
The Stranger is about Mersault, a man who doesn't seem to have the same ability to rationalize good versus bad as his peers do. The story is about existentialism and absurdism, the idea that what we do is never good or bad, it just is as it is.
Crime and Punishment is about a young man named Rodion Raskolnikov who rationalizes that murdering a wealthy woman and taking her money and valuables is justifiable if he uses the money to become a noble man. This is a classic story of "the end justifying the means."
Harry Potter is one of the best fantasy series ever and it's such an easy read! If you want a read that has Halloween vibes, but isn't too scary, try reading (or re-reading!) the HP series.
When you think of horror, you probably think of Stephen King. Almost all of his books are perfect to read around Halloween if you want your pulse to race, but The Shining is one of his more classic stories, about a boy with supernatural powers and his family who decide to stay in an isolated resort all winter. After you read the book, watch the movie! It gave me nightmares for weeks!
Most people know Coraline from the iconic stop-motion film, but they don't know that it was a book first! Coraline is about a girl who moves into a new home with her parents who don't spend much time with her due to their work schedules. She find a door that leads her to a world that looks like her home, but the better version where she is tempted to stay and leave her old life behind.
The Crucible is a play by Arthur Miller about the Salem Witch Trials and is a commentary on persecution of people and the dangers of rushing to judgment. It's a classic witch story, so it's perfect for the fall.
In Cold Blood is a non-fiction true crime book about the 1959 murders of the Clutter family in Kansas. The book was a breakthrough in writing about crime. If you like reading about true crime, you have to read this classic.
The Bell Jar is about a young woman's descent into madness. The book is widely regarded to be based on Sylvia Plath's own struggles with mental illness.
Lord of the Flies is about a group of young boys who are stranded on an island and must find a way to create their own society. Without guidance, they become cruel and violent. You'll like this book if you like reading about dystopian and dysfunctional societies.