Best Halloween books for kids

Boy reading a book under the covers with phone

After a spine-chilling read for your child for Halloween? Here are the best new and classic scary stories for children of all ages, as recommended by Mumsnet users.

Best spooky books for older kids

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

An imaginative dark fantasy by Neil Gaiman that has since been made into an award-winning animated film.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

There is something strange about Coraline's new home. It's not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It's the other house – the one behind the old door in the drawing room. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back.

“Coraline by Neil Gaiman has ghosts and a monster and is a great read.”

“Coraline is a Halloween must for us.”

Buy now for £5.20

A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan

A quirky, creepy, and courageous adventure, perfect for fans of Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton. A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan

Violet never wanted to move to Perfect – an odd town where everyone wears glasses, is neat and tidy and perfectly behaved all the time. There's something very wrong, but the adults are too blind to see it… Can Violet discover what it is and save her family without making too much of a spectacle?

“This was a big hit with my 12-year-old! He stayed up reading it until 10.30pm on a Saturday night – a real page-turner mystery with some good twists.”

“My 10-year-old thought this was an interesting and unsettling read. He really enjoyed it and found the storyline fast-paced.”

Buy now for £3.49

Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony by Chris Riddell

The latest spooky mystery for Ada Goth to solve, complete with delightful references and illustrations.

Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony by Chris Riddell

Ada must make sure the music festival at Ghastly-Gorm Hall goes smoothly, but is quite distracted, what with a faun living in her wardrobe and Maltravers the gamekeeper up to his old tricks. Luckily, help is at hand from a very interesting house guest…

“Chris Riddell's Goth Girl books are beautifully illustrated and full of literary jokes.”

“My nine-year-old loved the look of Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright with the blue edging and the gold skeletons on the cover. He especially liked the 'odd' things in it like the contraption for transporting pies across the table.”

Buy now for £6.99

Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy

If your child hasn't yet met the great Skulduggery Pleasant: wise-cracking detective, magician, master of dirty tricks (and also, dead), they're in for a treat.

Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy

Along with his 12-year-old bad-ass sidekick Stephanie, Skulduggery Pleasant must fight against the evil residing in a spooky old estate.

“My son and I both love this series – witty, well-written, plus good female role models! There's some mild peril – but my son is fairly easily scared and he hasn't been too freaked yet.”

“My nine-year-old loves Skulduggery Pleasant. A little violence, but nothing too harrowing, with a really kick-ass female lead character!”

Buy now for £3.50

Christine by Stephen King

Want to introduce your child to the King but not sure where to start? Rather than risk traumatising them with nightmares of the clown from It, Christine – a supernatural tale about a 'car with attitude' – is recommended by Mumsnet SK fans as a good way in. You can always read a more grown-up Stephen King book too.

Christine by Stephen King

A love triangle involving 17-year-old misfit Arnie Cunningham, his new girlfriend and a haunted 1958 Plymouth Fury. Dubbed Christine by her previous owner, Arnie's first car is jealous, possessive and deadly.

“My son read Christine at 14, loved it and he too is now hooked!”

“I read Christine aged 12 and following on from that, a large number of his other books. I have to say though, at 32, I'd still need to leave the light on whilst reading…”

Buy now for £7.19

Best spooky books for younger kids

I Want to Be in a Scary Story by Sean Taylor

From the creators of Hoot Owl comes a very scary read-aloud story.

I Want to Be in a Scary Story by Sean Taylor

A wickedly funny tale about a rather unconventional monster who really wants to be in a scary story – but is he brave enough?

“The language is rich and the illustrations are clear, bright and colourful. I hadn't heard of Sean Taylor before but will definitely be looking out for more of his children's books.”

“Hoot Owl is brilliantly designed and drawn, with thick, bold lines and magnificent colours. In the book, Hoot schemes how to get its next meal in this slightly scary (in a way young ones will appreciate e.g. the food chain), mostly funny picture book.”

Buy now for £7.99

Muffins for Mummies by Adam and Charlotte Guillain

A delightfully spooky picture book for more sensitive little ones.

Muffins for Mummies by Adam and Charlotte Guillain

George and his faithful puppy, Trixie, set out to track down a criminal through the shadowy – but very lively – museum, encountering many foes along the way.

“The book was fun, the characters were hilarious and the rhyming just topped it all off. Cracking storyline for all ages.”

“My daughter has asked for it every day!”

Buy now for £5.24

The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson

The bestselling sequel to the phenomenon that is the Gruffalo.

The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson

This time the story follows the next generation of Gruffalo who, on a wild and windy night, sets out on her own. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn't really exist… does he?

“I remember my two-year-old daughter lying in bed after lights out, with the wind howling outside, going 'His eyes, like pools of TERRIBLE FIYAAAAH'.”

“It's so evocative and just reminds me of sneaking out doing naughty things when I was little. I always read the 'I'm not scared' bit in a quavery, bolstering-my-bravery type voice

Buy now for £5.24

The Witches by Roald Dahl

The classic creepy tale from Roald Dahl – about a bloodthirsty band of witches, who especially hate little children.

The Witches by Roald Dahl

One boy and his grandmother set out to stop the Grand High Witch once and for all.

Scarier than I'd anticipated, the kids are finding it quite thrilling! So perhaps not one for bedtime.”

“My son is seven, and found The Witches absolutely terrifying.”

Buy now for £4.54

All prices correct at the time of publication.

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