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11 Bloodcurdling Books For A Haunted Halloween Reading List

Classic Literature for Your Halloween Reading List

Spooky season is one of the best times of year to light a candle, curl up with a cup of tea, and read a good book. But what to read?

We did some research into our favorite authors. We think this list will satisfy any lover of classic literature. Whether you’re in search of a macabre Victorian novel or a unique historical fantasy -- this list has something for you. 

We’ve included several short stories, too. Why not read one every evening leading up to Halloween?

Indulge yourself in beautifully written prose this spooky season. You should enhance your reading experience with each book’s recommended literary candle. 

Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

First published in 1819 as part of a collection of essays and short stories, Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow -- and its companion piece Rip Van Winkle -- are benchmarks of early American literature. 

Irving set these stories in the fictional countryside town of Sleepy Hollow, near historical Tarrytown, New York. In Irving’s storytelling, Sleepy Hollow is a bewitched place renowned by locals for its hauntings and ghost stories.

In other words, the ideal setting for Irving’s eerie tale of schoolteacher Ichabod Crane and his encounter with the Headless Horseman. 

Why not reacquaint yourself with this American Gothic horror classic this Halloween? 

Pick up our Halloween candle inspired by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow here

Bram Stoker’s Dracula 

The original Victorian vampire novel. This book has inspired countless horror writers -- from Anne Rice to Joss Whedon -- since its publication in 1897. Stoker invented the archetype of the seductive and aristocratic Transylvanian vampire. 

Written over the course of the 1890’s, Stoker used Transylvanian history and folklore to give the story of Count Dracula depth -- and to give the novel’s imagery dimension. 

There is debate among Dracula scholars about the origins of Stoker’s story. Was Count Dracula inspired by Vlad the Impaler? Or Countess Elizabeth Báthory? 

Stoker’s notes indicate that he found the name Dracula in an English public library while on holiday. He thought it meant devil in Romanian. 

Wherever Stoker found his inspiration for Dracula, he succeeded in creating one of history’s most iconic horror stories -- spawning countless adaptations and an entire vampire genre. 

Go back to the beginning of the vampire genre. Read Bram Stoker’s Dracula this October.

Set a macabre mood for your Halloween reading with our Stoker candle. Sultry Merlot + Clove represent Dracula’s quest for new blood. 

The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe

Because how do you choose between The Raven, The Tell Tale Heart, and The Cask of Amontillado at Halloween?

Short stories and poems mean that you can enjoy one per evening leading up to Halloween!

Published in the early 1840’s, these short stories form the core of Poe’s most prolific writing period. And contain some of Poe’s most macabre and iconic imagery. 

From the raven croaking “nevermore” -- to the beating heart underneath the floorboards -- we all remember chills running down our spines when we first discovered Edgar Allan Poe. 

Rediscover these spooky classics this Halloween. 

Need a unique gift -- or a stocking stuffer -- for a Poe fan? We have a candle for that!

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 

First published in 1819, Mary Shelley’s classic Victorian Gothic novel has two titles -- Frankenstein OR The Modern Prometheus

Frankenstein was written during the summer of 1816 when Mary, her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and her stepsister Claire Clairmont visited Lord Byron in Geneva, Switzerland. 

On the journey to Switzerland, the party traveled down the Rhine and passed within 11 miles of Frankenstein Castle. They learned the local tales of alchemists and spirits. 

As the summer was unusually dreary -- and inspired by the spooky local folk tales -- Lord Byron suggested that the assembled authors each “write a ghost story” -- writer of the best horror story wins. 

Mary won the contest with Frankenstein

This macabre tale examines the themes of humanity’s scientific arrogance, inherent cruelty, and fear of the other -- while also grappling with the question of nature vs. nurture. 

Many mistakenly believe that the novel’s title Frankenstein refers to the Creature, rather than his creator. 

Over the course of the novel, Mary Shelley reveals that man is the true monster. 

Every Mary Shelley fan should have a macabre Frankenstein candle. Also fantastic as a Halloween gift or bookish stocking stuffer.  

Shakespeare’s Macbeth 

Double, double -- toil and trouble -- fire burn and cauldron bubble. 

It is one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines. Which is saying something. 

This Halloween season, kick back with a cup of tea or glass of wine and enjoy a performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Patrick Stewart and Kenneth Branaugh both star in excellent adaptations. 

Set the Shakespearean mood with Witches’ Brew, a literary candle inspired by Macbeth’s Three Witches.

The Complete Works of HP Lovecraft

Why pick just one?

The work of HP Lovecraft contains enough short stories and novellas to satisfy any fan of horror fiction. 

Lovecraft is best known for his “Cthulu Mythos,” a series of short stories written during the 1920’s that share a fictional universe. Cthulu is the main character in Lovecraft’s 1928 short story The Call of Cthulu -- an excellent introduction to Lovecraft’s work for the uninitiated. 

Lovecraft authored many spine-tingling stories to turn your dreams into nightmares. His terrifying Shadow Over Innmouth or The Lurking Fear will make your heart pound. 

Light a Lovecraft book candle to comfort yourself.

Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party

What could be more delicious than an Agatha Christie murder mystery set at Halloween?

The victim is found drowned in an apple bobbing tub. Naturally.

Curl up with a cup of tea, a cozy sweater, and Hallowe’en Party this spooky season. 

Our Hercule Poirot inspired candle adds ambiance to your mystery novel reading experience. 

Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree 

Black cat against spooky Halloween sky

First published in 1972, The Halloween Tree is a historical fantasy exploring the origins of Halloween. 

A group of boys are out trick-or-treating. Instead of collecting candy, they find themselves on a journey through space and time. The characters visit several cultures -- from Ancient Egypt to Celtic Druids -- from Medieval Paris to old Mexico -- and learn about the history of Halloween.

Burn this Smoked Pine + Parchment candle inspired by Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451 while you’re reading!

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown

Set during the Salem Witch Trials, this short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne is not your typical Halloween fare. It is a surreal tale full of dark and disturbing imagery -- that also offers a scathing critique of Puritan society and faith. 

Young Goodman Brown has been praised by the literary likes of Herman Melville and Henry James. Stephen King has called it “one of the ten best stories written by an American.” 

Why not add it to your Halloween reading list?

Set the mood for reading Nathaniel Hawthorne with this bookish candle inspired by The Scarlet Letter.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Many of us are familiar with the dark imagery and classic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. First published in 1866, this Victorian Gothic novel explores the battle between good and evil that exists in each of us. 

Robert Louis Stevenson’s disturbing testament to the power of evil has become a Halloween classic. Knock the original off your “Classic Literature Bucket List” this spooky season.

Create a cozy fall ambiance in your reading room with this Spiced Rum candle -- inspired by another Robert Louis Stevenson classic -- Treasure Island!

Charles Schultz’s It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Spooky Halloween Jack-o-lanterns lit at night

How’s this for vintage Halloween nostalgia?

Yes, it’s a book, too! Share this classic story with your kids this Halloween in a whole new way!

Set the mood for story time with this yummy Great Pumpkin candle.