This is less a list of favorite spooky reads and more a list of all-time favorite writers. I cut my teeth on horror, and my author idols have all played with the supernatural at some point. In no particular order, some of my Halloween go-tos:
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is possibly my favorite piece of fiction writing ever. I just adore Washington Irving's prose, I love his undeniably American take on folk tales, and just...yeah, LOVE. This one's not scary, per se, and everyone knows the story by this point, but there's something magical about reading it. It's an every year re-read for me.
Pet Sematary will always be my favorite Stephen King. It's the small-scare, local horror of it that almost makes it believable. And that last line. Perfection. The scene in Little God Swamp when the "loons" are screaming gives me chills every time.
"The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe isn't his most well-know story, but it gives me the creeps. I adore Poe. A literary hero for sure.
"At the Mountains of Madness" by H.P. Lovecraft. If Poe is winking at you through his heavy Gothic curtains, then Lovecraft is dead freaking serious. His prose is gorgeous, and all of his stories are deeply unsettling. "Mountains" is in a whole other league. If you've seen the movie Prometheus, then you'll have some idea of the storyline.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. There have been several movies based on this book, and not a one of them holds a candle to the eerie literary perfection that is Shirley Jackson's writing. My version of the book includes an introductory essay by Guillermo del Toro and I would encourage everyone to read that as well.
The Witching Hour. Anyone who follows me knows how much I love Anne Rice. I would read an entire novel dedicated to Lestat shopping for new frock coats. But if I had to pick her scariest book, I think it's The Witching Hour. This book is a behemoth, and it's so excellent. Just a jamb-packed, super rich, Halloween candy overdose of a book, and the end is horrifying! It's delicious - but obviously not for readers with delicate book sensibilities.
Happy Halloween, everyone! And writers, enjoy your last day before NaNo!