Welcome to My Nightmare: Books to Keep You Up All Night This Halloween

Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year! Everything is pumpkin-flavored, cos-play is acceptable at work, and the layer between this reality and the next are so thin that supernatural forces are free to wander the streets.

In honor of this Most Hallowed of Eves, I’ve compiled a list of the books you should read at midnight on Halloween in the center of a candle pentagram placed on top of the grave of a notorious murderer.

For those of you thinking such a reading alcove might be a wee bit impetuous, consider that we’re all already doomed, courtesy of The Stanley Hotel. You see, the Stanley Hotel (which inspired Stephen King’s The Shining), has decided to “move” the hotel’s Pet Cemetery in order to build a wedding hall. On Halloween. Assuming demonic forces don’t raze the town down to a nub before morning, I’ll be planning my wedding to take place in the Horror Cliche Trifecta Hall. (Presumably to be named the Heather O’Rourke Annex.)

Who doesn’t want to live in a town so willing to give the horror tropes the finger? I’d vote for every single member of the sitting City Council on principle.

Since most of us are not blessed with such interesting local government, we’ll have to take matters into our own hands.

With that in mind, The Book Pushers Proudly Present Books That Will Inspire You To Sleep Inside a Circle of Salt. Minor spoilers are unavoidable, but that’s nothing to concern yourselves with. In the end, absolutely nothing can protect you from the sick terror and/or abject despair that will engulf you as you turn these pages.Enjoy!


ItThe Screwfly Solution by James Tiptree Jr. This novelette is one of the most terrifyingly realistic portrayals of the end of the human race. Tiptree flawlessly depicts a sudden worldwide surge in femicide, wherein entire communities of men brutally slaughter every women in areas under their control. An essential read for anyone convinced that mass murders and gendered brutality Can’t Happen Here.

It by Stephen King. Stephen King may not have invented the fear of clowns, but he certainly instilled Coulrophobia in every child of my generation. If a clown ever offers you a balloon while saying “we all float down here” – stab first and ask questions later. There wouldn’t be a jury in the U.S. that would convict you.

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe preys on the dual terrors of the Victorian Era in this short story: being buried alive and insanity. The Usher siblings will not only cause you to look suspiciously upon anyone claiming to see a ghost, but also inspire you to invest in the will inspire you to invest in a safety coffin or above-ground crypt.

let the right one inThe Lottery by Shirley Jackson. Small towns often seem impermeable to outsiders. Townsfolk portray a united front that can’t help but appear sinister. Shirley Jackson uses this setting to show us the horror in conformity and blind tradition.

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Few things are more terrifying that a child vampire, except perhaps a child vampire grooming a human child to be their pedophilic keeper in the future. Anne Rice only wishes she could create something this tragic and twisted.


Enjoy your nights of sleeplessness! Did I fail to including any horror classics that traumatized your developing psyches? Let me know below! 

5 thoughts on “Welcome to My Nightmare: Books to Keep You Up All Night This Halloween”

  1. @xaurianx: You’re in good company Aurian. Several Book Pushers were so traumatized by nascent exposure to the mind of Stephen King that they are similarly horror averse.

    And now you’ve learned what hotel to NEVER go to. Since they are probably haunted and currently desecrating a pet cemetery.

  2. Loved this post! I didn’t know about the Tiptree story–that’s going to be something I need to read soon. Also, It was my first Stephen King. I find parts of it hard to take now, but it;s made an impression and turned me into a fan.

  3. @Shannon C.: Like the random pre-teen orgy? I read first read It in 5th grade….and it never really registered until I was in college just how utterly fucked up that was.

  4. @Cass: Yeah. Like that. I think I read IT at about the same time. When I reread it as an adult I was like, “OMG someone should have taken this book away from me!”

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