I really wanted to make this a video, but I don’t have time right now.
All Hallow’s Read was created by Neil Gaiman, to create a tradition of holiday book-giving. This is not in place of Trick or Treat, but rather, in addition. Give the kids in your neighborhood regular trick or treat candy, and give someone (or several someones) in your life a scary book for Halloween. Especially if that someone is a child.
Coraline – Neil Gaiman
What All Hallows Read list would be complete without at least one book by the founder? Coraline follows the titular character when her family moves into a new house, and she meets the strange other residents. Beyond a door hidden behind the wallpaper is a secret entrance to another world, a strange world with doubles of her family and neighbors. This is appropriate for anyone over 7 or so.
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
This is meant to be for children, I’d say 8-13 or so, but I read it this year and loved it. It’s about a young boy, Nobody Owens, who escapes a tragedy and is raised by spirits in the local graveyard. He never leaves the graveyard until he’s about 10, and then the tragedy starts to shadow him again. It’s an incredible book, with really beautiful illustrations. Because it was written for children, it’s really appropriate for anyone over 7 or so, just like Coraline.
The Halloween Tree – Ray Bradbury
I’ll admit, I haven’t actually read this one yet. But the movie version (also written by Bradbury) is my favorite halloween movie. The book follows a group of kids after they find their friend in an ambulance on Halloween – his favorite holiday. Then, they see him running away, but he looks kind of…odd. They follow him to a mansion on a hill, where they begin a journey through the history of halloween. This is appropriate for all ages as it was written for children.
The Devil & Daniel Webster – Steven Vincent Benét
This is a short story I’ve loved since I read it in ninth grade. It’s about a lawyer defending a New England farmer against the devil, to whom he had sold his soul. Much like Washington Irving’s The Devil and Tom Walker, this is a retelling of the classic Faust tale. Daniel Webster, by the way, was a real person. He was an incredible orator and a well-known lawyer. The Daniel Webster in the story is a slightly fictionalized version of him. I’d say this is appropriate for teens on up.
Carmilla – J. Sheridan LeFanu
This is another one I haven’t read. It’s a novella, and it’s more than a quarter of a century older than Dracula. Due to its age, it’s available free on Amazon Kindle. Carmilla actually began the concept of seductive vampires, rather than just monsters. The story follows Laura, who has been raised in near complete isolation. When a carriage breaks down, and a sick girl her own age stays at Laura’s family home, she and this girl, Carmilla, become fast friends. But there’s something off about Carmilla. Since I haven’t read it, I have to make my best guess from what I know about it. I would say this is appropriate for late high school on up. (It’s recently been adapted into a web series which places Laura and Carmilla in college, and I LOVE the webseries).