Book Review: Halloween books for your screaming pleasure by various authors

What’s that noise?

Was it the scrape of a branch on the outside of your walls, or the brush of a wing or a fang or a talon? Was there a monster creeping outside your windows, or just the wind and leaves? This is a lousy time for the lights to go out, so grab a flashlight and one of these great new books…

If the kids are still up and they’re not scared enough yet, you’ll finish the job with “The Ghostly Tales of Philadelphia by Beth Hester (Arcadia Children’s Books, $12.99). No matter where you live, these stories of haunted houses, ghosties, grave robbers, demented doctors, haunted taverns and spooky beings will send chills up and down your kids’ spines. Here’s a hint: if you’re in need, this little book will set the mood for you, too. Brrrrrrr.

Not enough? Then how about fangs for your frightfulness? How about “Werewolf Stories: Shape-Shifters, Lycanthropes, and Man -Beasts” by Nick Redfern and the late Brad Steiger (Visible Ink Press, $24.95). Filled with short and quick-to-read tales that may or may not be true, this book takes readers on a journey that spans centuries. Read this book and learn about real people who claimed to be werewolves and folks who could manifest otherworldly beasts. Learn about werewolf hunters, werewolf experts, and different kinds of canine-like beasties. And then keep going and find out why you probably shouldn’t go into the woods alone in the dark. Duh, like you need to be told. Bonus: pictures!

Or maybe ghost stories are really what you want. Something, maybe, that you can read alone or in a small group on a dark and stormy night, maybe something with a little suspense added? Then look for “Night Side of the River: Ghost Stories” by Jeanette Winterson (Grove Press, $27.00), a book that includes memories and tales from the author’s own life. In this book, read about a seance where the line between reality and fantasy is blurry. Shiver to a tale about a woman who meets Dead Husband 2.0. See how the recently-dead aren’t as far away as you think they might be. This hardcover book is one you’ll want to keep around, and share again next year and the year after.

Are you scared yet? Well, then, you probably need “American Ghost Stories: True Tales from All 50 States” by Michael A. Kozlowski (Visible Ink Press, $19.95). Pick a state, any state and see what really happened in each locale. Read about witches and curses – in Virginia! Visit an Ohio farm where a poisoned man is not the only haunting spirit. Read about Black Agnes, Betsy Ross, Loretta Lynn, and other chilling encounters from around America.

Pictures? But of course!

And if these don’t make your evening spook-tacular, then stop at your favorite library or bookstore and ask the ladies and gentle-ghouls there for more tales to keep you awake. They’ve got these and other scary books enough to last all year. Grab them, and make a screaming noise.

c.2023, various publishers

$12.99 – $27.00

various page counts