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Staff Picks: Halloween Books and Movies to Scare You Silly!

Vintage Halloween 23Halloween Staff Picks

Check out the library staffs' favorite scary books and movies. Take one home tonight—if you dare!

MOVIES

It by Stephen King: Nobody writes about growing up better than Stephen King, especially if you are a bit of an outcast. That’s what makes It so scary! The book flows from situations that all kids face as they are growing up—scary enough—then puts those same kids in unimaginably menacing situations. Pennywise is one of the scariest clowns ever! —Brenda

Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein (Not Rated): Two bungling baggage handlers find themselves face-to-face with Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, and the Wolf Man—with hilarious results. This film is recognized by the American Film Institute and the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. —Mary

Shadow of the Vampire (Rated R): A real vampire is secretly hired to play Dracula in a 1920s film—with terrifying results. A dark and genuinely creepy award-winning film that earned Willem Dafoe an Academy Award nomination. —Mary

Hocus Pocus (Rated PG): Family-friendly Halloween movie about three sister witches who are resurrected in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween night. It’s up to two teenagers, a young girl, and an immortal cat to put an end to the witches’ reign of terror once and for all. —Mary & Shannon

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Not Rated): Classic animated film that follows Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, and the gang on their Halloween night adventures. The music alone (provided by the Vince Guaraldi Sextet) is reason enough to watch! —Mary

One of the scariest movies I have ever seen was Misery, based on the book by Stephen King. I couldn’t watch the part with Kathy Bates using the sledgehammer; yet I still was compelled to finish it. It really grabbed hold of me. Even the ending was hard to shake off! —Jean

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: I’m not easily scared by movies, but for months after watching this one I had to fall asleep listening to music because I was convinced I heard a chainsaw revving up outside! —Theresa

Wait Until Dark: A cat-and-mouse thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. —Theresa

Michael Jackson’s Thriller: Not exactly a movie, but this music video scared me when I was a little kid. I loved the dance sequence (of course) but I could barely watch the werewolf transformation scene at the beginning, and the zombies rising from their graves was terrifying! —Theresa

Practical Magic: Sally and Gillian Owens, born into a magical family, have mostly avoided witchcraft themselves. But when Gillian’s vicious boyfriend, Jimmy Angelo, dies unexpectedly, the Owens sisters give themselves a crash course in hard magic. Rated: PG-13 —Shannon

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, has become bored with his routine of frightening people in the “real world.” He accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colors and warm spirits; he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. Rated: PG —Shannon

Psycho!!! I couldn’t take a shower for years. —Jan

BOOKS

Intensity by Dean Koontz: A novel that lives up to its name. It’s the only time I can remember holding my breath while reading, because there were parts of this book that were so intense. —Theresa

I have read some of Ruth Rendell books that are pretty scary, psychological thrillers, such as The Water’s Lovely—Jean

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving: A tale of haunting set in the 1790s countryside of a Dutch settlement (what is now New York). An American classic. —Mary

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain: Delightfully “scary” children’s book that tells the tale of three adventurous little bears who happen upon a “spooky old tree.” —Mary

It’s been a while since I’ve read any, but I always loved R. L. Stine teen horror books. One that sticks out in my memory in particular is Beach House. Basically, a group of teens are all hanging out at a beach house together and suddenly they all start getting killed one-by-one, and no one knows who the killer is. It’s a good level of mild suspense for younger readers, but I feel like I would enjoy reading it now, too, even just for nostalgic reasons. —Morgan

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