Want a sinister saga? A frightening fable? A mysterious myth? These all make good options for hair-raising stories.
You’ve already hit every house in your neighborhood while trick-or-treating. The kids are amped up on candy and it’s too cold to run around outside. All this and its only 6:30 p.m. What to do? Sit them on the couch and press play on one of these nine audiobooks.
The Dark by Lemony Snicket, Read by Neil Gaiman
This fable tackles one of childhood’s most ubiquitous fears—the dark—in such a heartwarming and creative way that you won’t mind when your tot asks to listen to it on repeat. For ages three to six years.
To Buy: $2, audible.com.
The Little Shop of Monsters by R.L. Stine, Read by Jack Black
The Goosebumps author tames scary monsters into pets in this entertaining tale. Jack Black’s kooky narration is pretty much guaranteed to evoke giggles from listeners of all age, size and species. For ages three to six years.
To Buy: $4, audible.com.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams, Read by Barbara Rosenblat
A ghostly presence follows an old woman, but she feels more confidently clever than afraid. Though Halloween is not mentioned once in this not-so-scary parable, expect to hear “clomp clomp” and “wiggle wiggle” around the 31st for years to come. For ages four to eight years.
To Buy: $7, audible.com.
If You Find This by Matthew Baker, Read by Bryan Kennedy and Robert Petkoff
Follow Nicholas, a misfit boy with a mathematical and musical mind, through his trials with moving, bullies, and all things spooky while he searches for his grandfather’s lost treasure. For ages eight to 12 years.
To Buy: $22, audible.com.
Nightmares! By Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, Read by Jason Segel
Charlie thinks his new stepmom’s a witch, and in his nightmares she’s planning to kidnap his brother! So he stops sleeping. Slowly the line between dreamland and reality fades. This eerie story is a great conversation starter about tough topics like insomnia, grief, and the importance of self-care. For ages eight to 12 years.
To Buy: $34, audible.com.
Guys Read: Terrifying Tales by Jon Scieszka, Read by Vikas Adam, Paul Boehmer, Andrew Elden
The whole family can enjoy the suspenseful stories in this anthology. Listen to one in the car, another after school, and another before dinner. Just don’t save a listen for right before bed. For ages eight to 12 years.
To Buy: $18, audible.com.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, Read by Eric Michael Summerer
Sixteen people from all walks of life are chosen to live in a new apartment complex. And on Halloween, one of them comes across the estate owner. Well… his dead body. What unfolds is a Newberry Medal winning murder mystery that’s as witty as it is suspenseful. For ages eight years and up.
To Buy: $13, audible.com.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Read by Neil Gaiman, Derek Jacobi, Robert Madge, Clare Corbett, Miriam Margolyes, Andrew Scott, Julian Rhind-Tutt
Meet Bod: a (living) boy raised by ghosts and werewolves, growing up in the only cemetery he’s ever known. But life among the dead’s not so peaceful. Beyond the graveyard, his family’s murderer is waiting to finish him off. This full-cast recording of the Newberry Medal winner will make you feel like you’re sitting along the headstones, too. For ages 10 years and up.
To Buy: $20, audible.com.
Carrie by Stephen King, Read by Sissy Spacek
Are you and your family real horror buffs looking for a scare? Listen to the classically terrifying tale of teenage nastiness mixing with telekinesis. With Sissy Spacek (Carrie, herself) recounting the legend, you’ll be pretty sure she’s narrating your nightmares, too. For ages 13 years and up.
To Buy: $34, audible.com.