Even before our parents would allow us to watch scary movies, we were all about hitting up the school library to satisfy our need for all things spooky. And with Halloween right around the corner, we’re taking a little break from planning our costumes and cracking open some of our favorite #TBT reads. Scroll on for some fright-filled nostalgia.
1. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark retold by Alvin Schwartz: This collection of short stories was basically our nightmare fuel and go-to for the best campfire material. We still cringe at the thought of that spider story and will forever be creeped out by Stephen Gammell’s illustrations.
2. The Spell of the Sorcerer’s Skull by John Bellairs: Ah, to enjoy a mystery before the days of the Internet and the ever-growing risk of spoiler alerts. Did anyone else read this Johnny Dixon mystery through recess? We just had to find out what was up with that tiny skull!
3. Teacher’s Pet by Richie Tankersley Cusick: Imagine heading to a weeklong writing conference hosted by your favorite author. And then… interesting things start happening. This read is one of our favorite #TBT page-turners, and for good reason: The surprise twist ending is just too good.
4. The Haunted Mask by R.L. Stine: Of course we had to feature one of our favorite R.L. Stine stories. This classic Goosebumps tale had us a little nervous to put on our Halloween costumes. Fun fact: The TV show also happens to be on Netflix! We recommending adding it to your queue ASAP.
5. Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories: When we first saw this spooky cover by one of our all-time favorite authors in the school library, we knew it had to be good. Dahl rounds up 14 of his favorite stories for this anthology, featuring E. F. Benson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Rosemary Timperley and Edith Wharton.
6. The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin: Our favorite gang of babysitters deal with some seriously creepy happenings at Dawn’s house. Strange noises coming from the walls? A secret passageway in her bedroom? This read definitely had us thinking twice about going to our BFF’s sleepover.
7. In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories retold by Alvin Schwartz: If your love for scary stories started at a young age, you probably tore through this collection of stories in elementary school. Just in time to tune in to Are You Afraid 0f the Dark? and check out your first Goosebumps book at the library.
8. Dream Date by Sinclair Smith: Turns out, this book wasn’t exactly like our favorite Dream Date board game. This read gave us some relationship fears way before Mark Walberg scared the hell out of us in Fear.
9. The Secret by R.L. Stine: After we devoured the entire Goosebumps series, we graduated to R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Saga. The second book of the series tells the story of the cursed Fear family and what really happened to them.
10. More Bones retold by Arielle North Olson and Howard Schwartz: Ready for another collection of scary stories? Some of these tales have been scaring folks for hundreds of years and providing the best sleepover material since we first checked it out at the school library.
11. My Teacher Is an Alien by Bruce Coville: We kind of suspected that some of our teachers were from another planet. Homework over the weekend? Surprise pop quizzes? And thanks to this book, we were totally suspicious of any substitute teachers.
12. Prom Dress by Lael Littke: Before the days of Pinterest, we spent some serious time dog-earing pages of our favorite magazines for prom. Once we read this book, we decided that finding the perfect prom dress wasn’t worth the trouble.
13. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar: This quirky read gave us some serious laughs and totally creeped us out a little. From the mysterious 13th Floor to students transforming into dead rats, these stories had us laughing and cringing our way through every chapter.
14. It by Stephen King: Raise your hand if your older sibling tricked you into watching this film. Turns out, the book is even more terrifying. We’ve been deathly afraid of clowns ever since.
15. The Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene: Before Pretty Little Liars came into our lives, we had Nancy Drew solving mysteries like a boss. In this book, Ms. Drew helps to solve the mystery of a ghost haunting and encounters some twists and turns along the way.
16. The Lost Mind by Christopher Pike: While many of our favorite creepy stories involved monsters and ghosts, this read had us wondering about astral projection and body-switching. Deep, deep thoughts for pre-teens.
17. The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey: Edward Gorey’s best-selling work features 26 children (one for every letter of the alphabet) and the insane ways that they died. A little morbid, sure, but we couldn’t tear ourselves away.
Did we miss any of your favorite scary reads? Share your faves in the comments!