Spooky Halloween Reads for Ages 8-12+

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For Halloween this year, we’ve brought you some new reading recommendations to bring all the spooky fun indoors! Instead of trick-or-treating, why not get cosy and get the family together to read some thrilling scary stories? We recommend reading these spooky stories in mysterious candlelight, or for our braver readers, in the pitch-black with only a torch. For our older readers, why not curl up and lose yourself in one of these chilling page-turners. 

Younger readers can check out our other reading list here.

Ages 8-12:

Starfell: Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale, by Dominique Valente, illustrated by Sarah Warburton, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, recently saved the world. The problem is, nobody can remember it – and, to make matters worse, her magical ability seems broken… which is especially troubling now that her friend Sometimes needs her help!

As Willow and her friends piece together what has happened to Sometimes, their adventure takes
them from an enchanted tower to the magical forest of Wisperia and into dangerous new realms…

Can Willow save Sometimes when her own powers are out of control?

The Witches: The Graphic Novel, by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Pénélope Bagieu, published by Scholastic

This full-colour graphic novel edition of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, adapted and illustrated by Eisner Award-winner Pénélope Bagieu, is the first-ever Dahl story to appear in this format. Graphic novel readers and Roald Dahl fans alike will relish this dynamic new take on a uniquely funny tale.

Demon Dentist, by David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Make your appointment with the dentist if you dare!

Darkness had come to town. Strange things were happening in the dead of night. Children would put a tooth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, but in the morning they would wake up to find: a dead slug; a live spider; hundreds of earwigs creeping and crawling beneath their pillow!

Evil was at work. But who, or what, was behind it?

A jaw-achingly funny novel from the phenomenally bestselling David Walliams with illustrations by the artistic genius, Tony Ross.

Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble, by Paul Cookson, illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon, published by Bloomsbury Education

Can you hear the distant dragon’s rumble of thunder? And smell the sweet swampy aroma of the ogre? From magic carpets and wands to unicorns, potions, creams and lotions, Paul Cookson’s brewing a spell of fantastically magic poems.

Beautifully illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon, this enchanting anthology brings together work from a range of classic, established and rising poets including William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Zephaniah, Valerie Bloom, Matt Goodfellow, Joshua Seigal and A.F. Harrold.

The Wizard In My Shed by Simon Farnaby, published by Hodder Children’s Books

Merdyn the Wild is from the Dark Ages. He’s the world’s greatest Warlock, banished to the 21st century for bad behaviour, and he’s about to create a whole load of trouble for Rose, aged 12.

Rose is a totally ordinary girl, on a mission to mend her broken family.

When Rose bumps into Merdyn and discovers what he is, she quickly realises that he could be just what she needs to fix her family. 

Now they just need to hide him in the shed without Rose’s mum noticing, track down Merdyn’s magic staff and find a way to send Merdyn back through time to the Dark Ages. What could possibly go wrong…?

The Ghost of Gosswater by Lucy Strange, published by Chicken House Books

The Lake District, 1899.

The Earl is dead and cruel Cousin Clarence has inherited everything. Twelve-year-old Lady Agatha Asquith is cast out of Gosswater Hall to live in a tiny, tumbledown cottage with a stranger who claims to be her father. Aggie is determined to discover her real identity, but she is not alone on her quest for the truth. On the last day of the year, when the clock strikes midnight, a mysterious girl of light creeps through the crack in time; she will not rest until the dark, terrible secrets of the past have been revealed…

Malice in Underland, by Jenni Jennings & Hannah Peck, published by Scholastic

A gorgeously gothic new series.

Malice is from Underland, land of sorcery and spooks. But, her family live in Topside and mischief is their business. The business of mischief is a very serious matter! Packed with spooky characters and warm-hearted adventure.

Ages 12+:

A Tale of Magic: A Tale of Witchcraft by Chris Colfer, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Brystal Evergreen changed the world, but the journey is just beginning …

Brystal Evergreen and her friends have saved the world from the evil Snow Queen and secured worldwide acceptance for the magical community.

However, when a mysterious new witch named Mistress Mara arrives at the Academy, the celebrations are cut short. As Mistress Mara begins recruiting faeries into her rival school of Witchcraft, it becomes clear she has dark intentions…

The Pure Heart, by Trudi Tweedie, published by Chicken House Books

When seventeen-year-old Iseabail is employed by a wealthy merchant to be his daughter’s companion, her life changes for ever. Transported from her remote island home to the Scottish borderlands, Iseabail is unnerved both by her precocious, unpredictable young charge and the house’s secrets: a hidden chapel, servants who speak in a foreign tongue, a silent stableboy …

And then Plaustrell returns home with a mysterious cargo which changes everything. Why has Iseabail really been summoned here? And will she ever make it back home?

Morgan Charmley: Spells and Secrets, by Katy Birchall, published by Scholastic

Laugh-out-loud, fresh teen comedy with a witchy spin – Sabrina the Teenage Witch for a new generation!

Morgan Charmley is finding it very difficult to keep her witch powers under control and undercover at school. With a fellow secret witch trying to sabotage her and a confusing friendship with a sworn-enemy warlock to navigate, the girl who can spark magic with a click of her fingers knows that trouble always follows fast!