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Ten superb Halloweenish books, coming right up.
1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. Most of the Potter books put some focus on Halloween, but Chamber of Secrets includes a Deathday party, giant man-eating spiders, disembodied voices, a trip down the Hogwarts drains, talking to snakes, words written in rooster blood, attacks from an unseen monster, possession by the soul of a Dark Wizard, and a basilisk. Lots and lots of spooky.
2. Coraline by Neil Gaiman, which contains a she-monster with button eyes and a severed hand that scuttles like a spider. Frankly, anything by Neil Gaiman would probably work for Halloween reading; I've only read Coraline, so that's what I'm recommending. But he has one called The Graveyard Book. So, you know.
3. Lilith by George MacDonald. Ravens and a cold chamber full of sleepers who don't rouse, monsters and cruel giants—and the title character is a child-murderer and vampiress. One heck of a scary book.
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The living Heathcliff is more terrifying than the ghost of Cathy Earnshaw. This is not a pleasant book, but it's certainly a Halloweenish one.
5. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. Man-eating giants, a witch who turns into a snake, a prince under enchantment, and a trip into the Underworld.
6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. The very spirit of this book is liminal and ghostly—much like Wuthering Heights, but with a better ending.
7. A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle. The Echthroi. That scene where Meg has to pick the right Mr. Jennings. Xing. Louise the snake. Even Blajeny and Proginoskes are a little frightening, though good.
8. Dracula by Bram Stoker. Possibly the scariest book I've ever read. Also possibly the most melodramatic, but still, scary.
9. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. Whatever you think of the inhumanly attractive and also rather melodramatic Edward Cullen, the Volturi are just plain terrifying. And the darkness of Bella's mind during Edward's absence is pretty freakish, too. My favorite of the Twilight books by far, though that's not everyone's experience.
10. That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis. Nightmares, the Fairy, the whole coldhearted N.I.C.E. with their psychological manipulations, goblins, the reanimation of Merlin, a sort of Tower-of-Babel experience, and the meeting point of Christianity and paganism. Possibly my favorite book on this list. It's the third book in Lewis' Space Trilogy, but can just about stand on its own.
Honorable mention to Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, which was darkly fantastic when it wasn't excruciatingly dull. It's hard to get much creepier than the gentleman with the thistle-down hair.
Which books would you pick for best Halloween reads?