Scary Tales

Some of our favorite scary stories for school-age children.

Compiled by:
Children's Services Staff
A Living Nightmare

Darren Shan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Shan)
Cirque Du Freak ; bk.#1

Two boys who are best friends visit an illegal freak show, where an encounter with a vampire and a deadly spider forces them to make life-changing choices. First in the Cirque du Freak series.

Ask the Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World

Arielle North Olson
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 398.208 Ask)

Ghost dogs, man eating witches, deadly snakes and more horrors from many countries lie between the covers of this book waiting to jump out and grab you.

Crandall’s Castle

Betty Ren Wright
(Juvenile Fiction - J Wright)

Charli's impulsive uncle, Will Crandall, decides to buy the town's abandoned, possibly haunted castle and fix it up as a bed-and-breakfast, but Charli and Sophia, a clairvoyant orphan who has come to stay with the Crandall family, know his plan is somehow dangerous.

Creature Carnival

Marilyn Singer
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54 Si)

A collection of wickedly entertaining poems that are paired with bizarrely detailed, color cartoons to give you a delightful shiver.

Cuckoo Song

Frances Hardinge
(Juvenile Fiction - J Harding)

In post-World War I England, eleven-year-old Triss nearly drowns in a millpond known as "The Grimmer" and emerges with memory gaps, aware that something is terribly wrong, and to try to set things right, she must meet a twisted architect who has designs on her family.

Dare to Be Scared

Robert San Souci
(Juvenile Fiction - J Sansouc)

What would you do if you couldn’t wake up from your scariest dreams? These tales take normal kids with normal lives that twist into a disturbing realm of horror.

Don’t Open the Door

Veronika Martenova Charles
(Juvenile Early Readers - J-ER Cha)
Charles, Veronika Martenova. Easy-to-read spooky tales.

Three young boys on a sleepover tell each other scary stories from around the world that feature goblins, wicked wooden dolls and an evil witch. One of the Easy-to-Read Spooky Tales.

Dracula vs. Grampa at the Monster Truck Spectacular

Kirk Scroggs
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Sc)
Scroggs, Kirk. Wiley & Grampa's creature features ; #1.

When Grampa and Wiley sneak out of the house on a stormy Halloween night to attend Colonel Dracula's Monster Truck Spectacular, they run into trouble from which only Gramma and an F5 tornado can save them.


Robert Lettrick
(Juvenile Fiction - J Lettric)

Chaos ensues at Camp Harmony when a virus turns the animals in the surrounding wilderness into raging, foam-spewing predators.


Sonia Gensler
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gensler)

A summer film project turns spooky when the setting turns out to actually be haunted.

Guys Read: Terrifying Tales

Edited by Jon Scieszka
(Juvenile Fiction - J Guys)
Guys Read

Eleven masters of suspense have come together to bring you a bone-chilling collection of original ghost stories perfect for sharing around the campfire, reading under the covers with a flashlight, and scaring your friends' pants off.

Home Sweet Horror

James Preller
(Juvenile Fiction - J Preller)
Preller, James. Scary tales ; 1.

After the death of his mother, eight-year-old Liam and his father and sister move to a new house for a fresh start, but Liam soon discovers that the old house is haunted. First in the Scary Tales series.

Horowitz Horror: Stories You’ll Wish You’d Never Read

Anthony Horowitz
(Juvenile Fiction - J Horowit)

The nine macabre tales in this book will keep you up at night. From a bathtub you would never wand to bathe in to a camera that can destroy anything it photographs, you’ll find plenty to scare you here.

In a Dark, Dark Room, and Other Scary Stories

Alvin Schwartz
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 398.208 Sc)

See also, Ghosts! : Ghostly Tales from Folklore retold by Alvin Schwartz. These books present seven scary stories to tell at night based on traditional stories and folktales from various countries. They are perfect for camp outs and sleepovers.

Morpheus Road. 1, The Light

D.J. MacHale
(Juvenile Fiction - J Machale)
MacHale, D. J. Morpheus Road ; 1.

Sixteen-year-old Marshall Seaver is expecting a boring summer when his best friend goes away, but instead he finds himself haunted--and hunted--by ghosts that want something from him which he cannot decipher. First in the Morpheus Road series.

Raven’s Gate

Anthony Horowitz
(Juvenile Fiction - J Horowit)
Horowitz, Anthony, 1955- Gatekeepers ; 1.

Matt is an orphan boy with an awesome power he cannot control. He is also a petty criminal. When he is sent to live with Mrs. Deverill in the remote village of Lesser Malling, he finds himself caught in a diabolical web of black magic which might lead to his death and the end of the world. First in The Gatekeepers series.

Revenge of the Witch

Joseph Delaney
(Juvenile Fiction - J Delaney)
Delaney, Joseph, 1945- Last apprentice ; 1.

As the seventh son of the seventh son Tom Ward was born to become the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. First he must endure his apprenticeship to Old Gregory and survive a grotesque and horrifying encounter with a family of witches. This is the first in The Last Apprentice series.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Alvin Schwartz
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 398.208 Sch)

Stories of ghosts and witches, "jump" stories, scary songs, and modern-day scary stories.

Tales of Terror

Edgar Allan Poe
(Juvenile Fiction - J Poe)

Classic short stories from the master of horror, including “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

The Black Book of Secrets

F.E. Higgins
(Juvenile Fiction - J Higgins)

Forced into being a pickpocket by his parents, Ludlow Fitch rebels, fleeing the city after they attempt to pluck out his teeth to sell for gin money. This thrilling tale thrilling is sure to appeal to readers ready to sidestep the goody-goody Harry Potters of adventure fiction.

The Blue Ghost

Marion Dane Bauer
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Bauer)

At her grandmother's log cabin, nine-year-old Liz is led to make contact with children she believes may be her ancestors.

The Crossroads

Chris Grabenstein
(Juvenile Fiction - J Grabens)

When eleven-year-old Zack Jennings moves to Connecticut with his father and new stepmother, they must deal with the ghosts left behind by a terrible accident, as well as another kind of ghost from Zack's past.

The Curse of the Blue Figurine

John Bellairs
(Juvenile Fiction - J Bellair)

Johnny Dixon is plunged into a terrifying mystery-adventure when he removes a blue figurine called an ushabt from church. Look for more Johnny Dixon titles.

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gaiman)

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

The Nest

Kenneth Oppel
(Juvenile Fiction - J Oppel)

When wasps come to Steve in a dream offering to fix his sick baby brother, he thinks all he has to do is say yes. But yes may not mean what Steve thinks it means.

The Onts

Dan Greenburg
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gr)
Greenburg, Dan. Secrets of Dripping Fang ; bk. 1.

Ten-year-old orphan twins Wally and Cheyenne Shluffmuffin have a had it bad at Cincinnati's Jolly Days Orphanage, but things get much worse when the Mandible sisters offer to share their home in the Dripping Fang Forest. First in the Secrets of Dripping Fang series.

The Orphan of Awkward Falls

Keith Graves
(Juvenile Fiction - J Graves)

Josephine Cravitz, the new girl in Awkward Falls, and her neighbor Thaddeus Hibble, a reclusive and orphaned boy inventor, become the targets of a mad cannibal from the local asylum for the criminally insane.

The Screaming Staircase

Jonathan Stroud
(Juvenile Fiction - J Stroud)
Lockwood & Co.

Follows three young operatives of a Psychic Detection Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.

The Thickety

J.A. White
(Juvenile Fiction - J White)
The Thickety

When twelve-year-old Kara discovers her mother's grimoire in the dangerous forest, she must decide if she'll use it, even though such magic is forbidden.

The Wooden Mile

Chris Mould
(Juvenile Fiction - J Mould)
Something wickedly weird ; 1

This is the deeply strange tale of eleven-year-old Stanley Buggles who moves to Candlestick Hall, the mansion he recently inherited. His new home is in Crampton Rock, an isolated island community that is home to pirates, a werewolf and an intriguing secret. First in the Something Wickedly Weird series.

The Year of Shadows

Claire Legrand
(Juvenile Fiction - J Legrand)

Forced to move into a haunted concert hall with her distant father, "The Maestro," and aging grandmother, Nonna, twelve-year-old Olivia and classmate Henry try to lay to rest ghosts tied to the Hall's past before time and money run out.

Older Elementary

Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery: And Other Haunted Places of the Midwest

Matt Chandler
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 133.1 Cha)
Edge books. Haunted America

Take a ghastly road trip. This book describes ghost sightings and hauntings in and around Indiana.

Curse of the Blue Figurine

John Bellairs
(Juvenile Fiction - J Bellair)

Johnny Dixon is plunged into a terrifying mystery-adventure when he removes a blue figurine called an ushabt from church.

Encyclopedia Horrifica: The Terrifying Truth! About Vampires, Ghosts, Monsters, and More.

Joshua Gee
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 001.9 Gee)

A visual reference that contains true stories of such creatures as vampires, aliens, werewolves, and ghosts, accompanied by photographic evidence, eyewitness accounts, and original interviews.

Headless Horseman Rides Tonight: More Poems to Trouble Your Sleep

Jack Prelutsky
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54 Pr)

Presents twelve haunting poems--each describes a different nightmarish creature--including the Mummy, the Zombie, the Sorceress, the Banshee, and the Abominable Snowman. The poems are accompanied by creepy pen and ink drawings designed to give you nightmares.

Nightmares:  Poems to Trouble Your Sleep

Jack Prelutsky
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54 Pre)

See also: The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight: More Poems to Trouble Your Sleep. (J 811.54 Pr) These shivery collections feature poems titled “The Ghoul,” “The Zombie,” “The Mummy” and more. All are accompanied by creepy pen and ink drawings designed to give you nightmares.

Younger Elementary

Night of the Gargoyles

Eve Bunting
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Bun)

In the middle of the night, the gargoyles that adorn the walls of a museum come to life and frighten the night watchman.

The Ghost-Eye Tree

Bill Martin, Jr.
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Mar)

Walking down a dark lonely road on an errand one night, a brother and sister argue over who is afraid of the dread Ghost-Eye tree.