It began as an ancient Celtic festival to ward off ghosts, before being adopted into the Christian calendar as All Saints (or Hallows) Eve. Eventually the secular and sacred festivals merged to become the Halloween that we celebrate today, and this spooky night of frivolity is a welcome autumn interlude for many. It is also the perfect time to scare yourself witless with the best gothic and horror literature, so we’ve rounded up our favourite Folio editions to make this Halloween the ultimate fright night.
The Haunting of Hill House
Is this the scariest book ever written? Shirley Jackson’s most celebrated novel has terrified readers for more than 60 years and now it’s your turn to enter this house full of supernatural secrets. Angie Hoffmeister’s sinister illustrations add further frights in this unique illustrated edition.
The ultimate vampire story is a must-read for gothic horror fans. Dripping with atmospheric detail and awash with repressed Victorian desire, this is surely the greatest undead novel with the most memorable characters and, as such, the perfect literary accompaniment to Halloween. Gather the garlic and keep the lights on.
A psychological thriller that unnerves throughout and will haunt your thoughts long after you’ve finished reading. Bringing together a whirlwind romance, drama and mystery, Daphne du Maurier whisks the reader from the moneyed environs of Monte Carlo to the strikingly beautiful wilds of rural Cornwall in her best-selling novel which has never been out of print.
The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories
Step inside the weird and wonderful fictional universe of H. P. Lovecraft in this collection of dark and otherworldly short stories. Not for the fainthearted, these tales of insanity, desolation and macabre goings-on are ideal fright-night fodder.
The Turn of the Screw
One of the most widely known and masterful ghost stories of all time features a disturbed governess convinced that an evil force is preying on her young charges. With all the ingredients of a perfectly petrifying tale – a remote country house, mysterious apparitions and a chilling cliffhanger – this should be on every Halloween reading list.
Utterly terrifying and absolutely gripping, you’ll stay up all night to finish this book … and for many nights afterwards thinking about it. Indeed, if Annie Wilkes doesn’t haunt your thoughts for many months to come, then it’s unlikely that any horror character ever will.