The nights are drawing in and there’s a distinct chill in the air. Time to curl up with a spooky book to stay in good ‘spirits’. Our pick of scary stories for children of all ages is sure to get your spine tingling. So gather round, turn on all the lights and prepare for all things that go bump in the night.

    AGES 3 – 5

    FUNNY BONES – Janet and Allan Ahlberg

    A childhood classic, this engaging picture book is more silly than scary. The timeless tale of the Skeleton family who “live in a dark dark cellar of a dark dark house on a dark dark hill” is a lighthearted story for early readers. Beautifully illustrated to ignite little imaginations, the word repetition also helps children to easily pick up the words. Just don’t blame us when you’re asked to read it at bedtime, repeatedly.

    AGES 5 – 7

    THE WITCHES – Roald Dahl

    How do you recognise a witch? They always wear gloves to hide their disgusting claws. They possess no toes on their feet. Their heads are bald so they always wear wigs – oh! and they absolutely, terrifyingly HATE children. Roald Dahl’s wickedly engaging tale is the story of a little boy who must save himself, and children everywhere from witches worldwide.
    THE WORST WITCH – Jill Murphy

    Now a BBC childrens TV series, The Worst Witch follows hapless student Mildred Hubble as she discovers she’s a witch – but not a very good one. Mildred’s antics at Cackle’s Academy for Witches predates Hogwarts by a few decades and is sure to get your little witches and wizards in the mood for Halloween.

    AGES 8 – 12

    WAIT TILL HELEN COMES – Mary Downing Hahn

    Not for the easily scared  – Wait Till Helen Comes is bound to have your little ones reading by torchlight under the bedcovers. Molly and Michael’s new step-sister, Heather, befriends a sinister ghost-child named Helen. As the three struggle in their new blended family, Heather keeps warning her step-siblings that when Helen comes, they will get what they deserve!


    THE GRAVEYARD BOOK – Neil Gaiman

    Bestselling author Neil Gaiman does not disappoint in this Newberry Medal award winning book. It follows the life of ‘Bod’, a baby who is raised in a graveyard by the ghosts and vampire who reside there. Bod’s entire family has been wiped out by the assassin Jack, who is searching for Bod to finish the job. But when you’re raised by a bunch of lively spirits – you’re bound to learn a lesson or two about life and death. A great introduction to Gaiman’s work.


    THE WOMAN IN BLACK – Susan Hill

    This eerily atmospheric ghost story will have you sitting on the edge of your seat from the outset. Gripping and utterly unnerving, it tells the story of young solicitor Arthur Cripps, sent to Eel Marsh house to attend the funeral of a Mrs Drablow. There he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black who seems to have a terrible purpose.

    FRANKENSTEIN – Mary Shelley

    This classic English Gothic horror has engrossed readers for over two centuries. Written by Mary Shelley, she intended the story would ‘curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart.’ Her poetic narrative begs the question, What makes us human? What turns us into monsters?

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