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If you’re a reader searching for Halloween-themed books featuring a young adult hero or heroine, then your search is officially over! See the suggestions below for our Halloween must reads, as these young characters encounter ghosts, paranormal creatures, supernatural entities, and other scary things that go bump in the night.
I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter by Brian K. Henry
Moody sixteen-year-old barista Devin Mulwray is doing his best to ignore bizarre manifestations at his job in the chilly Northern California town of Arcata. Already teased about his recurrent ‘phase-outs’, the last thing he needs is to get pegged as a guy who sees ghosts. It doesn’t help his state of mind that his boss is a sarcastic slacker, his single dad is always on the road with clients and local occult fan girl Nayra is spreading ‘ghost boy’ rumors about him online.
But when violent paranormal activity badly spooks teens at an abandoned estate, Devin’s pushed into investigating by his eccentric friends Clive, a budding composer, and Rex, a tech head excited by ghost hunting gadgetry. At first reluctant to get involved, Devin’s encouraged when Emily, one of the more empathetic girls at Grey Bluff High, is impressed with his daring.
Together the friends explore the creepy Rousten manor. But as the only person able to perceive the manifestations, Devin soon finds himself going one-on-one against a powerful spirit who attacks the locals and infiltrates Devin’s own dreams.
Devin must face his fear of confronting the spirit world and get to the bottom of the hauntings before the specter unleashes more havoc on him and his friends.
Wattpad readers loved I Was a Teenage Ghost Hunter. Here is a sample from fans who read the book when it was featured on Wattpad:
“Best ending ever!!! I loved it, you’ve done a seriously great job and it was such an awesome read. I really love Devin and everything about this book ” Bookworm177
“Done reading this last night, and it was awesome! What a spooky story indeed. Clive and Rex’s bickering moments were also funny!…You have my 30 votes. ” – Chemister
“amazing story I enjoyed it very much…and it kept a mystery element till the end thank you for uploading it! keep up the good work! ” – Sriparnaman
“Thanks for the awesome book. I love ghost stories and I count this as one of the best that I read. Please do write another. ” Robby_Lao
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Devin was left by himself. Could anyone possibly have a weirder batch of friends? Nayra and her obscure historical obsessions, Rex and his habits of jumping to conclusions and spreading stories and Clive with his snobbish attitude, urbane comments and difficult music. And what kind of friends were they, anyway, always bringing up the last things he wanted to hear about? He sighed and stared ahead, but immediately knew he’d made a mistake.
The white figure in the walnut tree was clearer than ever. It formed a fluttering dress and a soft hood of some delicate fabric. Under the hood were the blowing strands of a woman’s hair. She turned and for the first time Devin could see that, not only was there a figure, but the figure possessed a clearly delineated face.
The woman’s head included an uncanny pair of lips, blanched a deathly white, and the lips were mouthing some comment.
Despite himself, Devin leaned forward, as though trying to hear. Hear something that clearly couldn’t be there.
She opened her mouth repeatedly, making a rounded shape, but he couldn’t make out what the accompanying sound might be. Then a techno ringing intruded on his ears.
Cherish by Norma Huss
It’s the annual Local History cemetery visit and sophomore Kayla wishes that strangely dressed teenage ghost would go away. Instead, it’s Kayla who disappears into the 1946 life of a teen who will die in days.
Andrew is a pal who claims a crush on the student teacher, but has eyes for Kayla until she starts acting in a totally weird way—and chasing her best friend’s steady.
Finally, there’s Cherish, a spirit who has waited for this opportunity to live a new life in a new century. This time, she plans to win.
Is this the new reality, or will Kayla, armed with only her cell phone, find her way home before she dies Cherish’s death?
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I’m getting truly sick of finding all the former Mayor Thompsons’ gravestones every October and hearing the story of how the first one named our town after himself. I’m getting even sicker of ghosts. I mean, what is Halloween without sheets flapping from trees pretending to be ghosts? But that’s not the kind of ghost I’m talking about.
Dani taps me on the shoulder. “Is she here, Kayla?”
“Where? What’s she doing?”
I nod in the ghost’s direction. I don’t want to point. Does that make sense? Being careful not to point at a ghost because it might bother her? “She’s sitting over there under that tree. Her skirt is spread all around her like some kind of fan.”
“And she always looks the same? Wow! If I were a ghost, I’d get tired of wearing the same stuff all the time.”
“I don’t really want to talk about her.” But I think about her anyway. Back when I was in first grade I thought she was a lady, but by fifth grade I could see she was a teenager. Now I just wish she’d go away.
A Town Bewitched by Suzanne de Montigny
It’s tough for Kira, growing up in the small town of Hope as a child prodigy in classical violin, especially when her dad just died. And to make matters worse, Kate McDonough, the red-haired fiddler appears out of nowhere, bewitching the town with her mysterious Celtic music.
Even Uncle Jack succumbs to her charms, forgetting his promise to look after Kira’s family. But when someone begins vandalizing the town leaving dead and gutted birds as a calling card, Kira knows without a doubt who’s behind it. Will anyone believe her?
This phenomenal story will lure you into the magic of the bewitched town and make
you care more about the main character than you ever have before. Author –Madeleine McLaughlin
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The Night the Jack O’ Lantern Went Out by Alexander S. Brown
Halloween. A holiday that inspires memories, excitement, and a little bit of fear in everyone. A single day where all the ghosts and ghoulies come out to play and sometimes its hard to tell which of the creepy crawlies are human and which ones truly rise from beyond seeking unsuspecting souls. Author Alexander S. Brown explores all the wonderfully terrifying possibilities Halloween has to offer in THE NIGHT THE JACK O’ LANTERN WENT OUT! Brown delivers new tales of terror in this collection laced with just enough nostalgia to make us all hope Halloween comes sooner…and stays far enough away that the monsters don’t get us!
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It’s so simple to burn cornhusk dolls. You light a matchstick, apply it to the doll and within minutes, the thing is up in flames. The material is so flammable, you don’t need anything else to encourage the fire. Just light a match, touch it to the doll, and the doll is no more. In my final moments, I wish I would have never made the cornhusk dolls, because now fire won’t even destroy them.
Days ago, I was a mother of a happy daughter. My heritage is from the Cherokee bloodline. My husband was also of Cherokee descent. We would still be together today living, laughing, and loving, if he hadn’t been killed two years ago in a railroad accident. Until his death, we envisioned ourselves with multiple children. We would watch them grow old and produce children of their own. I think back on all of our dreams and realize dreams aren’t meant for everyone.
All I had left was my Sena, my child of seven years. I think about how my husband hoped one day to survive the poverty of the 1930’s. Although he never saw that day, I hoped Sena would be able to see this country advance. She would grow, marry, and have children of her own. She would be able to live the dream I was denied. Again, dreams aren’t meant for everyone.
Haunted Hijinks: A Family Plotz Adventure by P.S. Witte
Life can be a little topsy-turvy when your family owns and operates a haunted house year-round, but it is never boring! Teenage twins Victor & Ivy Plotz are fearless; they’ve grown up around mummies, ghosts, possessed toys & giant aliens, and they know every nook & cranny of the mansion, from each mechanical monster arm to every 3-D apparition. However, all bets are off when the house’s “brain” takes a direct lightning hit and all the haunted employees go rogue.
Bumbling thief, Virgil, is drawn to the Plotz mansion after reading an article about their extensive and valuable art collection in the half of the house the family lives in. Trying to prove that he has the chops to be a proper thief, he breaks into the house without realizing the other half is a haunted attraction, nor that his movements are being tracked by more than one entity. He is about to have a very, very long night…
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“The twins raced their scooters up and down and around the hallways, laughed and sped over the bug bots and any other obstacles in their way. Not far away, Virgil was on a mission. He walked determinedly down a hallway, but it looked a little different than his previous visit. The carpet had changed to a darker blue and the wallpaper had become a light, yellowish-green with large blue cornflowers. The wall trim was butter yellow. Virgil slowed down, confused.
“Whoa! Someone must’ve forgotten about this hallway. For about twenty-five years. Maybe they use it for storage.”
He continued down the hall and stopped at a door that resembled a hotel room. He tried to open the door but it didn’t budge. He held his goggles over his eyes to study the door.
“Number two thirty-seven? Is this a hotel, too? Did i miss the other rooms?”
Virgil’s gaze scanned the area and he approached a shelf on the wall. He picked up a matchbook from the shelf and read the cover.
“WELCOME TO THE OVERLOOK HOTEL”
Virgil studied the cover, turned the matchbook over, then put it down, puzzled.
“Strange thing to have in a hallway. A matchbook. It’s gotta be trash. There’s lots of junk in here, even papers all over the floor. These people are pigs. Oughta clean up once in a while. Might have people check in if it was clean. Filthy idiots.”
Virgil crouched and shuffled through the crumpled papers piled on the floor. He picked up a piece of paper, stood, and read it through his goggles as he walked.
“What’s this say? All work and no play makes Jack a…”
As he passed a wall sconce, a small sensor flashed at the bottom. Two juvenile voices sounded faint through the built-in speakers. Virgil barely heard it.
“Come and play with us.”
Virgil stopped to look around, but couldn’t find the source of the sound. It was eerie. He continued on and looked through his goggles again. A blue Big Wheel toy, knocked on its side, rested near the wall. Dark droplets of some kind formed a path that led around the corner. He walked slower and slower, then heard the voices again, but this time they were louder.
“Come and play with us.”
Spooked, Virgil looked over his shoulder and walked faster and faster. They were children’s voices and they got louder and more insistent.
“Come and play with us. Forever…”
Virgil jogged down the hall.
He broke into a full out run. The twins laughed, sped around the corner, and rode their scooters in a zigzag pattern. They met Virgil who ran into the same hall. They all froze, stared at one another, and screamed.
Helens-of-Troy by Janine McCaw
“The Gilmore Girls meet Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Fifteen year old “Goth-Chic” Ellie has a lot of explaining to do. She’s just moved to the small town of Troy, fought with her uptight mother Helen, met the boy of her dreams and found a dead body on her sexy “new-age” grandmother Helena’s porch
But Ellie’s not alone. Helen is hiding something. Helen knows all about the kind of eerie dreams her daughter is having, the dreams that show the whereabouts of the missing children of Troy, because she’s had them herself. But she’ll never admit it. Not while Ellie’s sex-crazed friend Ryan is safely behind bars for the murders. Helen knows what it’s like to be attracted to dangerous men.
Then there’s the little matter between Helena and Gaspar BonVillaine, the teenaged vampire. Now that he’s caught Ellie, he doesn’t know whether he wants to kill her or turn her to the dark side and keep her forever. Helena should have finished him off when she had the chance.
To survive the vampire feeding frenzy surrounding them, mom Helen needs to come to terms with her own insecurities and deal with the gifts she has. Helena must learn to ground herself for the good of mankind and more importantly her own family. And Ellie has the toughest choice of all. Ellie must decide whether it’s time to let her own childhood go and become the woman she is destined to be, one of the ageless and timeless “Helens of Troy”.
Author Janine McCaw (Olivia’s Mine, Feb. 2006,) has written this 100,000 word novel, the first in a fantasy series about “the Helens”. The three generations of gatekeepers will take the reader on a trip to a realm mere mortals fear to visit alone, and they’ll make her want to stay a while.
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SEER: The Ghosts of Gray Fable Kindle Edition
by Eli Bloom
Fifteen-year-old Grace “Gray” Fable can speak to the dead. When her dad moves from Los Angeles to be with his mysterious girlfriend, Gray must attend notorious Willowbrook High School, the scene of a mass shooting five years earlier. When she meets the ghosts of those who died that tragic day – including the school shooter himself – she must uncover a dark secret to lay the victims to rest, and find peace for their families before it’s too late to stop another tragedy.
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1. Misfortune Teller
“That closet would be a good place to hang yourself,” I said. I was six years old.
“Okay,” my dad replied, leaning over the bed to tuck me in. He didn’t seem overly concerned, or even fearful; he just looked at me with a kind of puzzled love. Which I’d take, because there was something nice about puzzled love.
“She’s nice,” I said.
“Who is?” he asked.
“The woman who lives in the closet.”
Ever since we’d moved into the apartment a couple months before, I’d seen stuff moving in the closet. I think she was testing me to see how afraid I’d get. It should have been terrifying, but it wasn’t. Part of being able to see ghosts is the ability to cast aside some of the eeriness and abject fear. At six years old, I hadn’t yet learned I was supposed to be afraid. Maybe all closets had a visitor, I thought at the time. Which might have been incredibly naive, but maybe all people should be open like this, because there are a lot of dead people out there, waiting to talk.
She seemed as much a part of my bedroom as the color of the walls. Ghosts are like wild animals, and if that twig crunches in the forest, it’s not because they’re trying to freak you out: they’re just walking around. So I wasn’t fearful. The hangers moving about seemed no different than if they’d been blown by the wind, or a live hand. What did I know about death and the afterlife at 6? I didn’t even know what “hanging” was. I had never heard of suicide. I’d just heard a voice in my mind saying, “I hung myself,” and then I saw a woman suspended in my closet like clothing. She was only there for a split second, and I went back to getting ready for bed; sort of sad that she wasn’t there anymore. More concerned that she’d never come back than she had been there at all.
My dad looked over at the closet, partially to humor me, but also with a little fear that he might see something. I think he believed that little kids could see things that adults couldn’t.
“Which closet?” he asked, as if one closet was less creepy than the other.
“The one on the right,” I answered. There were two closets with my desk in between, littered with drawings. I wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it.
“Then we’ll shut it,” he said, and promptly shut both doors. The room felt instantly quieter.
I couldn’t read what he was thinking (that skill would come later), but I could read his mood, and he was all right with me telling him about the dead lady hanging in my closet. He’s not completely sane either. A writer of horror and sci-fi and stuff I’m not allowed to read yet, even at 15. He just thought an imagination, even a dark imagination, was a sign of intelligence, so he was fine with it. Which is probably why I didn’t lose it completely throughout my childhood. Note to parents: accept your kids, especially the weird ones.
My dad gave me a hug, said, “Night, Gray,” and kissed me on the forehead: the ritual. Then he left the room, and I was alone in the dark.
The closet door slowly opened again.
“You can come out now,” I said.
The Town Halloween Forgot, The Curse of Willow Creek by K. A. Hambly
A Young Adult Novel
Sometimes Halloween is all trick, and no treat.
Danny Hallows is no ordinary fifteen year old. After his parents’ divorce, he relocates to a small Welsh town called Willow Creek where he accidentally sets off the beginnings of a 600 year old prophecy. Discovering his family are related to the last witch of the 1656 witch trials in Wales, he is faced with protecting his family’s legacy and saving Halloween from the dark sorceress Morwenna,
Can Danny stop the prophecy before it’s too late?
The Madman of Lake Mongawonga by Eric Mosher
Fledgling vampire hunters David Gale and Arvid Johansen are taking a few days off to relax at a leadership camp they received an invitation to. They expected campfire stories and trust falls and a little vacation from the undead. Instead, it looks like one of the local legends has come to life when campers start disappearing. Add in a beautiful vampire with a grudge against them and it looks like this will be one sleepaway camp they might not walk away from.
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They all looked up and saw John’s fireplug frame trembling as he huddled against the wall and pointed at the window.
“What is it?” Dave asked, pausing the movie so he could hear the explanation and also so he wouldn’t miss anything.
“There’s something out there,” John said, his voice quavering with fear. He looked like he was a step away from pulling the sheet over his head for protection.
“You’re going to have to be more specific than that. Is it a wolf? Is it a bear? Is it a ghost?”
“It was a person.”
“Like a pervert or a killer?”
“I don’t know. His face was all scarred and he was just glaring in the window at me.”
“Well that doesn’t sound good at all,” Dave said with a nervous sigh. “Perverts and monsters are always ruining my fun.”
He got up from his spot on the bed next to Arvid and Alanah and approached the window with great caution. Slowly he walked up to the wall alongside it and then pressed his back to it before leaning over, lifting the curtain and sneaking a peek out.
There was nothing out there. Anymore, at least. Just tree branches rustling in a breeze. He wasn’t about to go and check to be sure, not without knowing what the hell it was and if he had the right weapons for the job. Also, it was dark and he didn’t have a flashlight. Movies had ingrained in him that going outside to investigate was always a bad idea.
“It’s gone now, whatever it was.”
Need more Halloween reading recommendations? See the 31 Nights of Haunted Reads Master List!