Top Picks for the Spooky Season
By Joanne Boustead, Aimee Haldron, Laura Jones and Michaela O’Callaghan
Welcome, spooky season! Oh, how we’ve missed you. But with all the fun of Halloween comes the horror of the inevitable sugar rush – with all those bottomless bowls of candy, kids will be bouncing off the walls! So, what’s the cure for this you ask? We suggest finding a cosy corner with blankets and an entertaining book for your children to bury their noses in.
There’s a Spider in This Book by Claire Freedman
Claire Freedman is perhaps best known for her award-winning Aliens Love Underpants series. However, in 2018 she published the interactive picture book, There’s a Spider in This Book – a funny and imaginative tale that is bound to leave your kids giggling with delight. Within the pages, your child is tasked with finding Eric, a little purple spider brought to life with colourful illustrations by Mike Byrne. All Eric wants is to make friends with Fluffy the cat, but Fluffy just wants to eat him. Can your child find Eric before Fluffy catches him? Interactive stories such as this are the perfect family activity – everyone can join in on the hunt for Eric!
Little Horror by Daniel Peak
From Firefly Press, we have a frighteningly funny debut from Daniel Peak. This has an absolutely hilarious premise; Rita is a one-year-old but has the developmental and mental abilities of a teenager! Told from the point of view of baby Rita, this is an extremely unique and side-splitting story, with just the right dose of horror. To many parents, a baby with the mind of a teenager is scary in itself. However, the plot features Rita being followed by a sinister clown in an ice cream van. It is up to her to discover what evil plans are in place, and how to defeat them.
Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe
Sometimes there is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a classic. Bunnicula is a children's novel series about a rabbit named Bunnicula who has some very striking fangs and can suck the juice out of vegetables. The novels are narrated by the family dog who is suspicious of the strange rabbit and concerned about his owner’s safety. This year, Scholastic has released a bind-up volume containing the first two books with a stunning red metallic cover, all set to capture the curiosity of a new generation.
The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass
For teenagers who love a social thriller, The Taking of Jake Livingston is a must-read this Halloween. This instant New York Times bestseller follows the titular character, Jake – a sixteen-year-old medium who sees dead people. Add this to the racism he experiences from his high school teachers and life becomes a nightmare for Jake. But things are set to get worse when the ghost of Sawyer Doon appears. In life, Sawyer was a troubled teen who took his own life after killing six kids at a local high school. Now he haunts Jake and his need for vengeance turns high school into a new survival game – a game that Jake fears he cannot win.
House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Published by Hot Key Books in April 2021, this young adult twisted fairy-tale is perfect for Halloween. Following the Hollow sisters – Iris, Grey, and Vivi – ten years after they mysteriously went missing from a suburban street in Scotland only to return a month later with no memory of what happened to them. Seventeen-year-old Iris is doing everything she can to fit in at high school, but when her older sister Grey goes missing leaving bizarre and weird clues behind, it’s up to Iris and Vivi to track her down. As they delve into the supernatural, they begin to remember what happened to them all those years ago. This book isn’t for the faint-hearted but will have you gripping the pages, eager to see what happened to the sisters.
Last One to Die by Cynthia Murphy
When Last One to Die was published by Scholastic in January this year, it was the perfect book for a dark, cold night. So, it’s no surprise that I’ve found myself drawn to it once again as the spooky season draws near! Murphy’s debut packs a horror-filled punch as terrifying events unfold on the streets of London. It is the story of teenager Niamh who has arrived in London from Ireland to follow her dreams of becoming an actress. Following a spate of brutal attacks on young women, Niamh’s perfect summer soon becomes the summer from hell as she desperately fights to stay alive, whilst battling to work out which of her friends – if any – she can trust. Last One to Die is perfect for fans of slasher-horror movies as the fast-paced plot reveals danger lurking in every dark corner and dead bodies mounting. This thrilling YA is perfect for fans of Holly Jackson and Amy McCaw and is a must-read before Murphy’s next book, Win Lose Kill Die hits the bookshelves at the start of next year.