12 Creepy Middle Grade Books to Read this Fall

I don’t read horror – unless it’s middle grade horror. In which case, I can’t get enough. What is it about those creepy middle grade books that makes them SO good? My kids love them too.

In truth, I’m not sure my kids would be crazy for a truly scary book, but they like stories with suspense, action, and a lot of humor. They like the fantasy that usually comes along with horror novels and the buildup to an action-packed climax.

In honor of Halloween and everything that goes bump in the night, I decided to put together a list of the creepy, crawly, and shivery books we’re reading this year. To see what we read last year, check out this post of spooky books for kids.

 

12 creepy books to read for kids ages 8-12. Middle grade books for Halloween

 

Brightwood by Tania Unsworth

When Daisy’s mom leaves their home one day, a stranger shows up, claiming to be a relative. But Daisy’s mom doesn’t come back and the stranger gets creepier and more threatening every day. I received this book a few months ago, but I haven’t had the chance to read it yet. It will probably be too scary to read to my kids, so I’ll have to brave this one on my own.

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Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

I read Serafina and the Black Cloak last year and loved it. It was too scary for my kids (like, really scary) but it was perfect for me. I even recommended it to my neighbor who said the same thing (too scary for her kids, but just right for her). While I haven’t read this follow-up novel yet, it’s definitely on my radar.

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Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen

My kids and I read this during our summer vacation and it was fabulous! It got a little wordy in parts, but the story itself was creepy, funny, and suspenseful. All of us hung on every word as the mystery unraveled. If your kids like some laughs with their chills, this is a good book to pick up.

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The Curse of the Were-Hyena by Bruce Hale

I just finished reading this to my girls the other night. It’s another book that delivers a lot of laughs along with the suspense and creepiness of a horror novel. A couple of young boys notice their teacher acting strange (sniffing homework, chasing chickens) and decide to investigate, but they don’t anticipate being hunted by a were-hyena!

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Lockwood and Co: The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud

This is the latest installment in the popular series, which has been on my “to read” list for a while now. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to read the whole series soon, because it sounds creepy, haunting, and perfect for this time of year.

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The Ungrateful Dead by Rose Cooper

I just started reading this to my kids the other night. My girls love books with scary themes that aren’t actually scary. This fits the bill perfectly. It’s about a girl who can communicate with the dead through texts.

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Young Scrooge: A Very Scary Christmas Story by R.L. Stine

The king of creepy middle grade novels tackles the Christmas story of Scrooge. The story has always been a little scary, but in the hands of R.L. Stine, it should be epic. Rick Scroogeman hates being associated with the old Christmas movie, but his nightmare comes to life when three ghosts come to visit him one night.

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The Poe Estate by Polly Shulman

This is the only book on this list that didn’t come out within the last year. It released in 2015, but is still worth mentioning. It’s about a girl who is haunted by the apparition of her sister and some other ghosts. While this isn’t a widely read book, it has promise and I’ll be checking my local library for it.

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Nightmares! The Lost Lullaby by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, illustrated by Karl Kwasny

Yet another book described as hilariously scary. There seems to be a rise in comedy horror novels for middle grade readers. The Lost Lullaby is the third book in the series, so you’ll probably want to read Nightmares and The Sleepwalker Tonic before you read this.

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Lock and Key: The Initiation by Ridley Pearson

Before James Moriarty grew up to become a famous villain and Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis, he was just a boy from Boston with a large dose of curiosity. Boarding school, a secret society, and a mystery involving a family bible make this book sound wildly interesting. I’ve always enjoyed spinoff stories about famous fictional characters, and this one holds promise.

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

This new ghost story is from the same author as the graphic novel Smile. Also in graphic novel format, this book tells the story of two sisters that move to a town where everyone is obsessed with ghosts.

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The Seer of Shadows by Avi

Avi is one of my favorite authors. He sucks you in and slowly builds suspense throughout the story. You can’t rush through one of his books. This is a reprint edition of an older book of his. If you like Avi, check out his other spooky stories like The Man Who Was Poe and Devil’s Race as well.

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Do your kids like creepy middle grade novels? Do you?

 

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Leave a Reply

  1. I love a good creepy/spooky MG book. Such a fun time of year for them. Great to see your list! I have half of the books you listed on my TBR- but I will have to add some of the others now that I know more about them. 🙂