13 Stories for Halloween

I love to read stories and books that scare me. I crave that anxious, adrenalin fueled feeling of freaking out. The stories that are my favorites are stories that have images, characters, and scenarios that infiltrate your mind and still scare you long after you have read them. As a kid my room was decorated with EC Horror comic pull-outs, and posters of my favorite horror movies and creature features.
In honor of Halloween, here is a list of stories that have stuck with me, and still come unbidden to disturb my days and nights. I hope you find new reads, and old favorites here.

1. “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier. I read this when I was about ten years-old, and since then have never been able to walk past a gathering of crows without getting freaked. It is still my favorite Hitchcock film. Who can beat Tippi Hedren screaming?!

2. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. I read this when I was twelve. It scared the Hell out of me. The movie makes me laugh because the book was so much more scary.

3. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. I wrote my homage to Ms. Butler (here). This story scared and still scares me because it does not seem so far off nor implausible.

4. Jaws by Peter Benchley. I grew up at the beach, and to this day I will not go swimming at night. The book has a great subplot that was left out of the movie. I had the good fortune of seeing the movie on a huge movie screen the summer it debuted, and it still is one of my favorites. If I am ever eaten by a shark, I want to go out like Quint, fighting all the way.

5. It by Stephen King. I have read just about everything the man has written, and this is the one book that gets me. Clowns scared me before I read this book but after reading It ,I just want to punch them on sight.

6. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. The great Shirley Jackson has so many wonderful stories I had a hard time picking my favorite. This book is responsible for some really freaked out running past likely looking houses.

7. Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I love carnivals, circuses, and sideshows. This story always comes back to me and makes me a little on edge at fairs and carnivals.

8. Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice. I stayed up all night reading this, alone, in a ground floor apartment. I finally fell asleep when the sun came up, thinking I might be safe because the vampires where sleeping too.

9. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levine. The book is creepier than the movie, for years I looked wild-eyed at neighbors that seemed a little too friendly. Mia Farrow nailed the part of Rosemary in the movie.

10. From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. This graphic novel about Jack the Ripper is not for the squeamish. The haunting images and story-line will keep you up for days. My favorite Jack the Ripper tale.

11. The Doll’s House, Volume 2 of The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman, the man who gets in your head and stays for awhile. Again not for the squeamish, nor those disturbed by stories and images of violence, mayhem, and retribution.

12. Cabal by Clive Barker. The movie Nightbreed was based on this book. A superb blend of horror and fantasy, you will find yourself rooting for the monsters.

13. “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” by Harlan Ellison. This short story is a thorn in your brain. It keeps me up at night, in the same way Octavia Butler’s post-apocalyptic novels do. It seems ever so possible.

What stories have kept you up? Please share, I am always looking for a good scary story.