This Halloween, crack open a terrifying book

By Jessica Cabe

While watching horror movies is a popular tradition around this time of year, I would argue that the right book is even scarier. With movies, what you see is what you get. But with books, you’re free to imagine the most horrifying monsters you can. Here are my top three picks:

3. Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

What college student has never read a Goosebumps book? If you happened to live under a rock for the first 11 years of your life, use Halloween as an excuse to catch up with the rest of us. R. L. Stine caused half of my nightmares growing up. Though revisiting his novels now results more in laughter than fear, the stories are still appropriate for the season. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few of my personal favorites: Say Cheese and Die A camera predicts horrific events regarding the people it photographs. The Haunted Mask A young girl buys a mask for Halloween, but the more she wears it the meaner she gets and the harder it is to take the mask off. Stay Out of the Basement The children of an ex-botanist notice their father’s strange behavior after discovering a half-human, half-plant monster in their basement.

2. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk

This series of stand-alone short stories also creates a larger narrative, resulting in a hair-raising reading experience. The Fight Club author is notorious for his graphic descriptions, and Haunted may be the greatest offender. A fan in the audience at Palahniuk’s promotion tour actually passed out during a reading of “Guts,” the first short story in the novel. I didn’t pass out, but I wanted to. Haunted is not for readers with a weak stomach, but Palahniuk brings depth and dimension to the horror genre by exploring how each character is haunted and how that relates to the greater scheme in life.

1. Dracula by Bram Stoker

This classic novel may seem to be a slow burner to some, but Stoker artfully builds suspense and mystery around the most popular vampire to date. Put down Twilight this Halloween and pick up a truly blood-chilling novel. Dracula is told by a series of letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings and so on. It is the story of a clever, terrifying vampire and his effect on the protagonists Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, Lucy Westerna and Abraham Van Helsing.