As the calendar moves closer and closer to Halloween, I always have a tendency to read some old favorites for scary thrills. So I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite picks if you want something creepy to have you looking over your shoulder and jumping at every little noise.

One of my must reads is It by Stephen King. I was in high school the first time I read this book, and pretty much devoured it, finishing it late at night, and then being almost too scared to sleep. Pennywise is one of the most horrifying characters in literature, and, as if clowns aren’t scary enough, he’s a pretty much immortal clown who likes to kill kids.

My family will say the quote, “We all float down here, Georgie” at random times, including whenever we step over a storm drain. The first time my oldest daughter, Renee, fell into a storm drain partway (I say first time because she’s done it more than once) I can remember telling her to pull her leg out before the clown got her. Renee had no idea what I was talking about but when I told her about the book she couldn’t wait to read it. I made her wait until her thirteenth birthday and gave Renee her own copy as a present.

It is one of those books that will always have a place on my bookcase and gets pulled out every year or so when I want a familiar and terrifying read. The movie is a treat as well; especially since I had a little bit of crush on Richard Thomas since he was on The Waltons and nobody does a horrifying clown better than Tim Curry.

Séance for a Vampire by Fred Saberhagen is another delightfully creepy read, which features not only Dracula, but also Sherlock Holmes. I am a big fan of both, so when you combine the two, it’s a book that I can’t miss out on. Sherlock goes missing during a séance, and Dr. Watson calls on Dracula to help find him. When you throw in a pirate legend and buried treasure, it promises to be an entertaining read. I have to admit that I’ve read a lot of the mash-up books featuring these different characters, including one where Sherlock Holmes meets the Phantom of the Opera. These books can be a little hokey but are still a fun read, especially at this time of year.

For what I probably consider one of the scariest books I’ve ever read, that would be Where Are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark. This is another one that I read as a teenager and was creeped out, but reading it as a mom, I’m always downright terrified. The main character had her life destroyed when her two children died, and she was considered guilty. She has rebuilt her life, found a new love, and has two beautiful children. Until she looks outside one day and they’re gone. Just describing this book has chills running up and down my spine.

While I don’t limit my horror books to just this time of year, there is something about being curled up on the couch, listening to the wind blow and the leaves rustle on a dark, fall evening that makes a scary book all the more deliciously dreadful. These books, plus lots more frightening reads, can be found at the Joplin Public Library.

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