Once the fog of fairies and angels lift, children seem to develop a taste for horror and scary stories. They find it interesting to learn about monsters and ghosts and graveyards. There is nothing wrong with telling ghost stories to your little ones if the parents only knew the right books depending on their age group. To help the parents pick up the right horror books for their little ones, a list of Best 15 Horror Books for Kids has been provided below. If you think your little ones are ready for something horror you can start from the most basic horror books that intend mainly to entertain them. It is considered good if at the initial stage parents do not just hand-over the book to their kids but rather read those stories to them.
List of best Scary Books for Kids and Children in 2023
Find below the list of some best horror story children should read before their bed time. However, do not forget to read them something funny before you tuck them in.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Author- Alvin Schwartz Age group: 8 – 12 years
Description- This is one of the old but gold scary book published in 1981 that the parents can read to their kids. This book contains 29 different short horror stories that includes all basic elements of a ghost story, say, ghosts, haunted houses and more. One of the best horror books for kids, this book adds another two classics to its series- More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones which you can read to your kid.
Beneath the Bed and Other Scary Stories
Author- Max BrallierAge group: 5 – 7 years
Description-Max Brallier is among the bestselling authors and he presents a really scary books for children that is definitely going to entertain the children.The story revolves around John who visits the old house on the hills with his sister only to find something scary hiding under the bed. This book is the perfect read for kids of aged between 5 to 7 years.
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories
Author-Alvin SchwartzAge group: 4 – 8 years
Description-Released in 1984, Alvin Schwartz brings back another entertaining horror book for children. This book has collection of stories, urban legends and poems and comprises a total of 7 stories- The Teeth, In the Graveyard, The Green Ribbon, In a Dark, Dark Room, The Night It Rained, The Pirate and The Ghost of John. If your kid is really a fan of horror stories, this is a must-read for them.
The House With a Clock in its Walls
Author-John BellairsAge group: 8 – 12 years
Description-This classic horror story from 1973 revolves around an orphan boy named Lewis Barnavelt whose uncle is a wizard. Story is how he accidently releases a ghost who with his husband is planning something evil and now Lewisbravely stops them. The book is the first of the twelve novels revolving around Lewis Barnavelt. So, if your kids like this book, without any trouble you can find another eleven books for them.
Author-Neil GaimanAge group: 8 – 12 years
Description- One of the most-awarded children’s novel, that tells the story of Coraline Jones who discovers a mysterious room in her house. She likes the house and the parents in this room initially but when they become obsessed with he, she must try and escape. From starting to the ending, this book is going to bind your children with its various twists.This 192-pages novel is the right read for children between 8 and 12 years of age.
Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery
Author-James and Deborah HoweAge group: 8 – 12 years
Description-A cute pet bunny has been introduced in the form of a vampire who is chased by the pet cat (Chester) and pet dog (Harold) who know his identity.Scary, interesting and entertaining- the book holds all these qualities. This book would really be a great addition to the book shelf of your kid. Based on Bunnicula, a whole series and universe has also been launched to keep your kid entertaining for a long period of time.
Night of the Living Dummy
Author- R.L. StineAge group: 8 – 12 years
Description-This one is a really fine scary novel that is sure to entrain your kids and give them goosebumps.Night of the Living Dummy is the seventh book in the original Goosebumps series. The book tells the story about a bad dummy ‘Mr. Wood’ who wants to enslave the twin sisters, Lindy and Kris.This book is followed by Night of the Living Dummy II and Night of the Living Dummy III and combined would make a perfect gift for you kid.
Author- Roald DahlAge group: 7 – 9 years
Description- For children who are really a fan of scary stories, this 208-pages dark fantasy novel is the best read for them. The story is about a boy who goes to live with his grandmother and has an encounter with witches.The book was included among the top 100 all-time children’s novels. Do not keep your child waiting any more for this and make this the best birthday present for them.
Eerie Elementary: Classes Are Canceled
Author- Jack Chabert (pen name of Max Brallier)Age group: 6 – 8 years
Description-Max Brallier brings another super scary and entertaining book for horror-loving children, Eerie Elementary: Classes Are Canceled. It is the seventh book in the Eerie Elementary series along with eight other books in this series. The series tells the story of Sam Graves studying in Eerie Elementary, who finds out that his school is alive and it eats children. Although this is one on the scariest books of the series, it is suggested that you gift your kid the whole series in sequence to help him/ her understand and enjoy the story in a better manner.
The Graveyard Book
Author-Neil GaimanAge group: 12 – 14 years
Description- A book that your children will definitely love, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman has a great plot and a series of twists enough to keep anyone binding.Children from 10 to 12 years would make the best reader group for this story. The book is about a boy named Nobody ‘Bod’ Owens, raised in a graveyard by ghosts who must recall his past before he can embark the journey to the future.
City of Ghosts
Author-Victoria SchwabAge group: 9 – 12 years
Description-Victoria Schwab writes one of the most amazing horror stories for the children in the name of City of Ghosts. In this book, a story is told about a girl named Cassidy Blake who has ability to see ghosts. The book introduces Veil- a place where the ghosts and demons belong and how it is up to Cassidy to make sure they end up there. Make this a gift for your kids for their next birthday.
The Halloween Tree
Author- Ray BradburyAge group: 8 – 12 years
Description-The Halloween Tree is a head scratching scary story that includes travel through time and space and has a shadow-like character Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud. Story here begins with trick-or-treating on Halloween where a group of eight boys discover that their ninth friend has gone missing. What far they can go to bring him back?Ray Bradbury has presented the whole story in a manner that is sure to bind you child from beginning to the end.
The Night Gardener
Author- Jonathan AuxierAge group: 8 – 12 years
Description-Jonathan Auxier brings the story of two Irish children in The Night Gardener who start working at an English manor where not everything is as simple as it seems. The house, the family, everything seems to be haunted. Apart from being scary, the book also brings some moral message about greediness, courage and empathy.The story is very-well spun and it certainly is one of the best horror books for children.
Hansel and Gretel
Author-Neil GaimanAge group: 9 – 11 years
Description-Neil Gaiman never fails to write amazing horror storiesand an excellent work is presented by him in the form of Hansel and Gretel. It is a story of two sibling, Hansel and Gretel, who are left to die in the forest by their father. How they face the scary forest and make a living there? The book explains each part with amazement and binds the children from start to end. Not gifted already, this book can be a great present for the horror-loving kids.
Ghosts in the House
Author-KazunoKoharaAge group: 3 – 6 years
Description- This is a scary and funny story about a cute little witch who knows how to take care of the ghosts present in her house. The story is perfect for even very small kids who the parents think have just developed taste for spooky stories. Parents wondering how to read the first ever scary story to their little ones must start with this book. KazunoKohara has undoubtedly done a very fine piece of work here.