Middle Grade Monday – Spooky/Halloween Recommendations

middle grade monday

Looking for some spooky middle-grade reads? You’ve come to the right place.  I will warn you right now that just because it’s middle-grade doesn’t mean it’s tame and “just kid’s stuff.”  I find some of the middle-grade horror, creepier than some of the stuff on the shelves in the YA section, so keep that in mind if you scare easily.  Also, I would consider the majority of these books more for children on the older side (10-12 range), obviously this depends on the child and their reading level and how easily they scare.  I know I was scouring the library for anything and everything that might give me a scare as soon as I was old enough to read.

What scares someone is VERY subjective.  I have done my best to rate just how spooky these books are using, of course, candy corn! 

If you are looking for recommendations in Young Adult Horror, please see my RECOMMENDATION LIST.

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The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (Prosper Redding #1) by Alexandra Bracken 
I can’t believe how long I waited to read this book and I still haven’t read the second (what is wrong with me!) One of my favorite reads last year.  Poor Prosper Redding has a little demon problem name Alastor, who is trying to make home in Proper’s body.  Very inconvenient.  This is a delightfully wicked story and there are some creepy moments but the humor is the real star here. Alastor is the most precious, little mean spirited demon ever.  The humor is very much for adults as well.
Spooky Factor: candycorn2
Full Non-Spoiler Review Here

Small Spaces (Small Spaces #1) by Katherine Arden
School field trip time! Haunting atmosphere, children being hunted and creepy monsters all around.  I wouldn’t call this one outright terrifying but it has its moments and there is a huge sense of dread through-out the book.  It also takes place in fall, making it even more perfect for an October read.
Spooky Factor: candycorn3
Full Non-Spoiler Review Here

City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab
Queen Schwab decided to grace us with a spooky middle-grade series and I’m so happy that she did.  So many fun elements in this book – Ghost hunter parents (actually present in child’s life!), Protagonist that can see ghosts, a supernatural best friend and throw in a very creepy woman that steals children and they are never heard from again for a nice little scare.
Spooky Factor: candycorn2
Full Non-Spoiler Review Here

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Coraline seems like a pretty obvious recommendation to me but I’m going to put it on here all the same.  I only read it for the first time last year and loved it.  I have also seen the movie a million times over and it’s really fun seeing the changes between the two.  Coraline is very dark and definitely nightmare fuel – button eyes *shudder*
Spooky Factor: candycorn4

MG2

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire LeGrande
If you liked Coraline, then you NEED to pick this one up.  I’m always telling pick to get this one.  It’s so dark and twisted and doesn’t hold back at all.  Kids are being sent off to the Home for Boys and Girls and never seen again, never mentioned again and never remembered.  You might want to keep your bug spray near by!
Spooky Factor: candycorn4

The Jumbies (The Jumbies #1) by Tracey Baptiste
Based on Caribbean folklore, stay away from the forest, beware the Jumbies! A stranger has come to the the island and things are changing all around, not for the better.  Corrine and her friends have to figure out what is going on and take on a powerful trickster in the process.  Lots of creepy atmosphere and some magic to boot.
Spooky Factor: candycorn2

Nightbooks by J.A. White
If you’ve read anything by J.A. White before you know this author likes to get creepy! For any old school horror movie goes, this reminded me a little of the 80s film Tales From the Darkside – where a little boy has to distract a witch by telling her scary stories.  It also has lots of elements from Hansel and Gretel, just a great all around spooky read.
Spooky Factor: candycorn3

Archimancy (Shadow School #1)
The author’s latest series and it’s a ghostly one! This one takes place in one of my favorite types of settings, a school.  A haunted school, actually it’s downright invested with supernatural beings.  Not everyone can see them though and if you are one of the children with this rare talent, you might be in trouble.
Spooky Factor: candycorn2

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The Inn-Between by Marina Cohen
Marina Cohen is such a hidden gem when it comes to scary middle-grade books and what I love most about her is that she takes on tales/retellings that are very different than what we are seeing from most other authors.  The Inn-Between is inspired by Stephen King’s The Shining, and while not as creepy as her next book, The Doll’s Eye this one has a lot of really cool elements.  There is also definitely some spooky moments and a  lot of twists and turns.
Spooky Factor: candycorn3

The Doll’s Eye by Marina Cohen
The author isn’t playing around in this book, this one gets creepy.  This is a reimaging of a tale of The Monkey’s Paw aka Be Careful What You Wish For.  Trust me, you’ve likely seen this tale done in anthologies on shows like Are You Afraid of the Dark.  Story starts off simple enough, a girl is unhappy about a moving to a new place and having a new blended family and starts to wish for something else.  She just might get what she asked for….
Spooky Factor: candycorn4

The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
Sophie Anderson is a master of words and story, this is a retelling of Baba Yaga.  It has a lot to do with grief and death and acceptance.  I wouldn’t call this one scary, but it has some eerie moments and asks some intense questions.  The cover shown here is the UK version.
Spooky Factor: candycorn2

Changeling (The Oddmire #1) by William Ritter
This book is a blast! A fantastical book with fae, goblins, witches, monsters and, of course, a changeling.  Lots of adventure, a bit of scares and a hell of of fun.  This is a perfect fall read and my favorite part about this book is that it features strong PRESENT single mothers.
Spooky Factor: candycorn2
Full Non-Spoiler Review Here

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Wait Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
An oldie but a goodie, Mary Downing Hahn has an extensive library of books to give you the chills but this is probably her most well-known and for good reason.  An old fashioned ghost story, with a modern twist – this one gets pretty spooky at times.  You might want a nightlight after reading this one.
Spooky Factor: candycorn4

Skeleton Creek (Skeleton Creek #1) by Patrick Carman
A horror book with an interactive element.  This series comes with links to a website and provides you with various passwords as you go, so you can watch videoclips.  It really does add to the creep factor here.  The acting is a bit cheesy but it works and has some chilling imagery.  You also get to investigate a possible paranormal situation – creepy!
Spooky Factor: candycorn4

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz and Illustrated by Stephen Gammell
I mean if you haven’t read this series then what are you doing with your life? I grew up on this series and my friends and I used to read this to each other in the dark with a flashlight constantly.  This is the first book in a trilogy of anthologies.  What makes this book incredibly creepy is not just the stories, but the insanely nightmarish artwork inside.  I recommend finding the original copy of this because they’ve taken out a lot of the original stuff and replaced it with very kiddie like stuff since they were deemed too scary.  It’s not the same and I hate that they did it.  FIND THE ORIGINAL – you can get them on
Amazon and places like that used.

Spooky Factor: candycorn5 (with original artwork)

Liesel & Po by Lauren Oliver
I never hear this book talked about and it really should be, it’s incredible.  This is dark middle grade fantasy at its finest and I mean dark.  Ghosts, Alchemists, murder and, of course, magic! Lots of magic.  There are also stunning illustrations through this book and that is always such a treat.
Spooky Factor: candycorn3

*there is no Goosebumps on this list because I did not grow up reading Goosebumps (I was older when they came out) and I am not a huge R.L. Stine fan *hides from the apples being thrown at me*

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Hope you enjoy my recommendations! Do you have any that you think I should check out? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below!

Melaniesignature

20 thoughts on “Middle Grade Monday – Spooky/Halloween Recommendations

  1. Some I love on here (Prince Alastor! house with chicken legs!!!) I would also recommend from UK publishing Damaris Young’s The Switching Hour (Labyrinth meets Stranger Things like monster) and the True Colours of Coral Glen by Juliette Forrest

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel honored that you liked some of these since you are basically the QUEEN of middle grade *bows down* You are who I stalk now for MG recs LOL I will 100% be looking up these books, I have a huge wishlist on Book Depository right now because of your (I like a lot of the UK covers best).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Uuuuuuh, thank you for all these lovely recommendations! 😍
    “City of Ghosts” is currently on its way to me and I actually think that I might actually have “The Cavendish Home for boys and girls” at home somewhere. I’m wondering where that is. 🤔

    Like

  3. I adore middle-grade books so much and this looks like a really great list to get some spookiness in for my October reading! I can’t guarantee I will be able to be able to read all these titles but The Doll’s Eye and The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls definitely sound interesting! (I’m always game for a night of spooky reading hehe)

    Like

  4. Ooooh, this is such a brilliant list! I’ve got Prosper Redding AND the sequel, and I still haven’t read either, because I keep forgetting about it. xD My daughter took them, thinking she’d read them (she hasn’t, either, because, you know, genetics, obviously), so when I go to look on my shelf, it’s not there and I forget I own them lol.

    Small Spaces was okay, but I didn’t like the main character as much. Have you read Dead Voices yet? I enjoyed that so much more. Plus, spooky old buildings and winter storms, right?

    I really need to re-read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark so I can watch the movie, but … I’m a big baby. xD

    Like

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