Classic spooky stories for Halloween

Our pick of the best scary books, from classic ghost stories to fiendish mysteries.

2 minutes to read

Our pick of the best scary books to read this Halloween, from classic ghost stories and supernatural tales to fiendish mysteries. These classic tales have all the ghosts, vampires and monsters you need for a truly terrifying October 31st.

The Turn of the Screw and Owen Wingrave

by Henry James

Book cover for 9781509850945

Two orphans and their governess are under threat from two of sinister figures in The Turn of the Screw, one the most famous ghost novels ever written. Owen Wingrave is a son from a long line of military heroes, but what if he strays from the ghosts of his past? These two short and eerie novellas are published together in a single volume with a new afterword by bestselling author, Kate Mosse.


by Bram Stoker

Book cover for 9781909621626

Sensual, dark and thrilling, Bram Stoker's Gothic masterpiece still surpasses any film or TV versions of this peerless tale of a desperate battle against a powerful, ancient vampire.


by Mary Shelley

Book cover for 9781509827756

Mary Shelley's dark parable of science misused, would go on to influence countless writers and film-makers. Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant but wayward scientist, builds a human from dead flesh and then, horrified at what he has done, abandons his creation.

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

by Edgar Allan Poe

Book cover for 9781509826698

Some of the most exciting and haunting stories ever written, including ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ and 'The Fall of the House of Usher', can be found in this collection of Poe's work. These Gothic tales range from the poetic to the mysterious to the darkly comic.

Ghost Stories

by Charles Dickens

Book cover for 9781509825400

Throughout his illustrious writing career, Charles Dickens often turned his hand to fashioning short pieces of ghostly fiction, chilling stories of coincidence, insanity and revenge. While all his supernatural tales aim to send a shiver down the spine, they are not without the usual traits of Dickens' flamboyant style: his subtle wit, biting irony, humorous incidents and moral observations.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and other stories

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Book cover for 9781509828067

A masterpiece of Victorian literature. Why has Dr Jekyll begun to associate with the ugly and violent Mr Hyde? When Jekyll's friend Utterson tries to solve this mystery he uncovers a horrific story of murder and suffering which leads to the terrible revelation of Mr Hyde's true identity.

The Phantom of the Opera

by Gaston Leroux

Book cover for 9781509826674

Perhaps best known for its many stage and screen adaptations, Gaston Leroux's brilliant and disturbing novel surpasses them all. Strange things are going on at the Paris Opera House; a mysterious phantom is wreaking havoc amongst the singers and backstage staff. But when new managers take over and dismiss the rumours of the Opera Ghost, the terror really begins. 

Classic Locked Room Mysteries

by David Stuart Davies

Book cover for 9781909621374

This new anthology of gripping ‘locked room’ stories – they’re just as much about how dunnit as who dunnit – includes tales from many great mystery writers, including Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins and Edgar Allen Poe. Perfect for anyone who prefers a clever crime to a scary story.

In this episode of Book Break, Emma shares her favourite spooky folk stories from around the world:

For more spooky stories, don't miss Emma's recommendations for the best gothic books to read on Halloween and beyond: