Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Haunted Readings: All Our Scary, Spooky and Otherwise Halloween Ready Book Lists in One Place

Whether you are looking for twisted fairy tales, ghosts or more, we’ve got some great reads for you!
Read if you dare.

Alice in Wonderland retellings

Aliens: They’re Here: Science Fiction with actual aliens

Apocalypse Survival Tips from YA Lit

Assasins: Teenage Assassins in YA Lit

Beyond the Grave: dead narrators

Bioengineering (Frankenstein 2012: YA lit with bioengineering)

Death and Dying: Sometimes it is among the dying that we remember to truly live 



Egypt: Read About Your “Mummy” (and Egypt)

Epidemics list 1 and list 2

Environment: Earth Day Dystopias

Fairy Tales (twisted, of course) and Cinderella Retellings

Graveyards: Someone Just Walked Over My Grave: YA lit with graveyards

Haunted Tales

Horror: The Stories that Haunt our Childhood: Local legends and superstitions in YA lit, Horrifying Reads for October (recommended by teens)

Poe, inspired by

Myths and Mythology 

Reapers (and Necromancers) in YA Lit

Serial Killers: I Eat Cereal, but I am NOT a Serial Killer – serial killers in YA lit

Supernatural and Psychological Creepers

Under the Sea: Mermaids

Vampires  and Non-emo Vampires



Book Reviews, Thrillers Edition: Little Creeping Things and Nobody Knows But You

TPiB: Turn Your Library into Lovecraft Middle School (spooky crafts and Halloween fun)

Halloween is one of my most favorite times of the year.  The leaves turn beautiful colors and glide gently to the ground, perfect for leaf pile jumping.  Everyone gets to dress up.  And there is candy.  Lots and lots and lots of candy.  I may or may not be the parent who sneaks candy out of the candy stash after my kids go to bed.  In my love for Halloween, I have set up my library as a haunted house a couple of times.  And as I read through the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series, I can’t help but think that this is not only the perfect Halloween read, but the perfect programming tie-in.

Tales from Lovecraft Middle School is a series about school that was built where a bizarre house used to stand.  Now, there are portals in the school, gateways to another dimension where this house once stood.  And sometimes strange, terrifying creatures come through the portals.  Not everyone knows about them, but Robert and Glenn do.  These are fun, slightly terrifying tales for middle grade readers – think a modern day take on Lovecraft for the Goosebumps set.  I’ve read all four books and they are more fun then scary, perfect for the MG crowd.

You can turn your library into a haunted house (Pinterest is your friend to research this).  Also, there are a few fun hands on activities below you can do for a program.

Gargoyle Stained Glass


Book 1 of LCMS is called Professor Gargoyle, so of course a gargoyle craft is a great idea.  Follow this link to Free Kids Crafts for a complete list of materials and instructions.  If you are ambitious, you can make gargoyles out of non-bake clay and let it dry.

Snake Charming

Book 2 involves two sisters who have snakes for hair, ala Medusa.  Oriental Trading (every librarian’s friend) has wooden wiggly snakes you can purchase and let participants color.  You can also make these springy spiral snake mobiles to hang from the ceiling or make these cool paper folded snakes.

Buggy Crafts and Games

Book 3 involves bugs.  There are no shortage of bug crafts out there.  Again, Pinterest is probably your friend here.  This bug is made from a calculator and school supplies.  I love this spiderweb made with colored chalk and school glue.  I also think it would be fun to buy some Hexo Bugs (not cheap, but you can buy them in bulk) and let the kids build HexoBug parks/arenas out of boxes, etc. and do some racing/fighting.

Monster Lab

Book 4 has a sinister substitute teacher and an army of monsters.  For some hands on monster fun you can either do an Exquisite Corpse activity (directions here) or pull out your left over craft supplies and let the kids loose to make their own monsters.  I love craft closet clean out!  You can also check out these previous posts: It’s a Dead Man’s Party , Bring Out Your Dead and Monster Fest.

You could also do some face painting and a monster make-up lab. 

Instagram It

The people in my neighborhood are already starting to decorate for Halloween.  Get out your smart phone and take pictures.  You can then Instagram them to add atmosphere and, if you like, add words to create cool signage for the season.  You can use your pics to create bookmarks, wall or end cap art, and more.

Here is some more random fun that you can throw in:

Tombstone Making : You can find instructions (and lots of other fun Halloween themed ideas) at It’s Written on the Wall.

Ghost Lights

Bat Mobile (which you can also turn into garland)

Creeptacular Touch Test: Check it out here at Craft Interrupted

Eyeball Miniature Golf – Make a min golf course (book ends, boxes, tubes, etc.) and use these floating eye ball balls as your golfball.

Additional Resources
20 Mod Podge Halloween Craft Tutorials
50 Halloween Crafts & Ideas 

Haunted House Pinterest Board Ideas
158 Pins 
266 Pins
327 Pins
1586 Pins

The Tales from Lovecraft Middle School are written by Charles Gilman and published by Quirk Books.

5 GNs for Halloween Scares by Karen D

5 Great Graphic Novels for Halloween Scares

Ghost Hunt
by Shiho Inada


decrepit building was condemned long ago, but every time the owners try
to tear it down, “accidents” start to happen–people get hurt, sometimes
even killed. Mai Taniyama and her classmates have heard the rumors that
the creepy old high school is haunted–possibly by ghosts from the
Second World War. So one rainy day they gather at the told school to
tell ghost stories, hoping to attract one of the suspected spirits.

ghosts materialize, but Mai and her friends do meet Kazuya Shibuya, the
handsome young owner of Shibuya Psychic Research, who’s been hired to
investigate paranormal activity at the school. Also at the scene are an
exorcist, a Buddhist monk, a woman who can speak with the dead, and an
outspoken Shinto priestess. Surely one of them will have the talents to
solve this mystery. . .  (goodreads)


Pet Shop of Horrors 

by Matsuri Akino

A smoke-filled alley in
Chinatown harbors Count D’s Pet Shop. The pets sold here aren’t your
everyday variety and the Count prides himself on selling Love and Dreams
in the form of magical creatures that come with an exclusive contract.
But buyers beware. If the contract is broken the Count cannot be held
accountable for whatever may happen. A fascinating and macabre look into
the very soul of human nature. (goodreads)


Hopless, Maine: Personal Demons
by Tom and Nimue Brown  

Trapped on an island
off the coast of Maine, the people of Hopeless find life a little darker
and more dangerous with every day that passes. The number of orphans
rises continually, but who can say what happens to their parents? Plenty
of the bodies are never found. This is not the stuff of happy, careless
childhoods, it is instead fertile ground for personal demons. In
Hopeless, the demons are not always abstract concepts. Some of them have
very real teeth, and very real horns. The island has been isolated for a
very long time. Partly because of being small and forgotten, partly
because the rocks and currents do not encourage visitors, Hopeless is
surrounded by fog and overrun with nightmarish creatures, from small
things with tentacles to demons and vampires. It’s a peculiar place.
Here, almost anything can happen, from the weird and unsettling to the
darkly funny. With a cast of freaks, nutters and the odd power crazed
psychopath, life in Hopeless is seldom dull. Hopeless is also about who
you choose to be. The tale is a protest against apathy, and against the
small evils that everyone takes for granted. The worst monsters
frequently aren’t the ones with the obvious teeth – who are merely
dangerous by nature – but the apparently ordinary people who choose to
do hideous things. (goodreads)


by Naoki Urasawa

An ice-cold killer is on
the loose, and brilliant Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop
him! Conspiracies, serial murders, and a scathing indictment of hospital
politics are all masterfully woven together in this compelling manga
thriller. Tenma risks his promising medical career to save the life of a
critically wounded young boy. Unbeknownst to him, this child is
destined for a terrible fate. Who could have known that Tenma would
create a monster!


Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things
by Ted Naifeh 

Courtney’s parents have
dragged her out to a high-to-do suburb to live with her creepy Great
Uncle Aloysius in his spooky old house. She’s not only the new kid in
school, but she also discovers strange things lurking under her bed.