Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

All Hallow’s Read

October 10, 2011    Tags: ,   

A year ago, Neil Gaiman blogged about the lack of traditions involving books and proposed starting a brand-new one: Giving each other scary books for Halloween.   Other bloggers replied (some of them recommending The Shadows, which in turn was tangentially mentioned on Mr. Gaiman’s blog, making me squeal with delirious delight), the idea spread, reading lists were generated, and websites were born.  Behold:

I will jump all over this bandwagon.

And so, without further ado, here is my completely unsolicited list of 2011 All Hallow’s Read recommendations for young readers.


Bunnicula, by James Howe.  Its sequels, Howliday Inn, The Celery Stalks at Midnight, and Nighty Nightmare (the titles alone should tell you how awesome they are) are also fabulous, funny and scary — my favorite combination.  As kids, my brothers and I read the covers off of these books.

The Witches.  This may be my favorite book by Road Dahl, which is sort of like saying “This is my favorite cup of coffee” when there’s a whole pot of the delicious stuff sitting right beside you.  But this is Dahl at his darkest, twisted-est best.

The House with a Clock in its Walls, by John Bellairs.  Mysterious old houses.  Unexpected magic.  Edward Gorey illustrations.  Enough said.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, retold by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Steven Gammell.  My fourth grade friends and I pored over these books.  We read them aloud at slumber parties; we shuddered over Gammell’s artwork — to this day, I don’t think I’ve seen a still image that has frightened me more.  This book and its two sequels left a serious scar on my already overactive imagination.  (“The Wendigo”?  I can’t even type that title without looking over my shoulder.)

Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury.  This feels to me like the dark counterpart to Dandelion Wine: gorgeous, eerie, and wonderful.

(Or, of course, you could get my books.)

And speaking of All Hallow’s Read: Karma Gifts, a great indie shop in downtown River Falls, Wisconsin (about 40 minutes drive from the Twin Cities, for you urban folk) will be hosting me for a special Halloween event on Saturday, October 29, at 1:00 p.m.  The Shadows and Spellbound will be available (though it wouldn’t hurt to pre-purchase or reserve your copy), and I’ll be signing books, reading aloud, chatting, and answering questions.  See or for more information.  Fall treats!  Art projects!  Local business!  Come on down!


2 Comments (Leave a comment)

  1. Awesome idea! I LOVE Bunnicula; my husband and I both still have our copies from when we were kids. And a suggestion for little kids: the picture book The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey.

    Comment by Laura Madsen on October 11, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  2. I’ve heard great things about Dav Pilkey — I’ll have to check out The Hallo-Wiener. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Comment by JacquiWest on October 11, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

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