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Halloween is around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to pull out a book and transport yourself into some spooky situations. Here are five books that are perfect for such occasions.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson has mastered the art of eerie tales. From “The Lottery” to “The Haunting of Hill House”, Jackson has always had a knack for horror. “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” is my favorite because of its use of death and decay and the repetition that lends well to the suspense and mystery of the entire piece.

The Haunting of Las Lágrimas by W.M. Cleese

A gothic horror story set in a beautiful location that everyone believes to be cursed? Sign me up. Written as a journal, Cleese keeps the reader interested and eager as the protagonist begins to notice things are more than meets the eye at the estate in Pampas. However, be warned: there is animal cruelty and it can be hard to read.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I won’t lie, I’m a sucker for Neil Gaiman’s work — and “Coraline” has to be my favorite. Gaiman knows how to fuel nightmares in his work, with every purposeful and terrifying work. For me, it feels like a mimic of a traditional fairytale — as though the Grimm Brothers are nearby with a 21st-century twist. If you’re looking for a shorter story, definitely check out this novella.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

There is something deeply unsettling and unhealthy about this book that lurks on every page. As a debut novel, I feel that this novel is successful for its time. Maybe not as edgy for today’s audience, but I still feel that Flynn shakes the game with “Sharp Objects”. However, do be careful with this novel — it is incredibly dark and can be hard to read, especially if razors and self-harm can be triggering for you.

The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury

I will be perfectly honest, “The Illustrated Man” didn’t horrify me — but, wow, it is haunting. Something that Bradbury’s imaginative stories transport you to a new time and place often left in alarming situations. When I first read “The Illustrated Man”, I was engulfed in the stories. My personal favorite — and the one I found most horrifying — is “Marionettes, Inc.” I won’t give too much away, but let’s just say: everyone is replaceable.

I’m not typically one for scary stories, however these are stories I highly recommend. So, if you need a new book to have you sleeping with the lights on, check these out.

Madi Armstrong

Virginia Tech '23

Madi Armstrong is a senior studying multimedia journalism with minors in Spanish and creative writing. Through writing, she hopes to empower those around her to advocate for what they believe in and to use their experiences in ways to help others. Proud to be part of Her Campus, she hopes to leave a lasting impact and create an environment where everyone feels welcome.
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