By Hannah Bennett
It will be a strange Halloween for most New Yorkers this year, as the devastating storm has left so many without power, or even the ability to return to their homes. So for those of you reading by flashlight this Halloween, we hope you have some candy corn and some great Halloween books to keep you occupied!
One of my favorite books of all time for Halloween is a children’s classic—In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories, written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Dirk Zimmer. As a transitional book for kids learning to read, this was one of the first scary stories I ever read on my own. I will forever be haunted by the story of “The Green Ribbon,” and to this day, if I see a woman wearing a ribbon around her neck, a small part of me worries what will happen if she takes it off…
Susan J. Wolfson and Ronald Levao, writers for Publishers Weekly, agree that the best horror novel ever written is Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein. It’s certainly hard to argue with that! In their article, “Why ‘Frankenstein’ is the Greatest Horror Novel Ever,” Wolfson and Levao discuss how incredible it is that the nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley produced one of the most enduring novels of all time, which has never been out of print in two hundred years. As quoted in this article, here are some of Shelley’s own thoughts on the creation of Frankenstein:
I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion… I recurred to my ghost story,—my tiresome unlucky ghost story! O! if I could only contrive one which would frighten my reader as I myself had been frightened that night!
Swift as light and as cheering was the idea that broke in upon me. “I have found it! What terrified me will terrify others”… On the morrow I announced that I had thought of a story.”
If you’re looking for something scary, though, Stephen King certainly wins the popularity contest! Goodreads asked their readers to vote on their favorite horror novels, and King tops the list by a landslide, winning spots 1-4. Take a look at the list to find some great Halloween reading to do by candlelight, as you wait for the lights to come back on!