Scary Tales

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

Compiled by:
Children's Services Staff

Younger Elementary

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.

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.

Don’t Open the Door

Veronika Martenova Charles
(Juvenile Early Readers - J-ER Cha)
Series: 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)
Series: 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.

The Ghost-Eye Tree

Bill Martin
(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.

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.

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.

Older Elementary

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.

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

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

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

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 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.

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.

The Curse of the Blue Figurine

John Bellairs
(Juvenile Fiction - J Bellair)
Series: Johnny Dixon and Professor Childermass series; 1

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

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.

The Darkdeep

Allyson Condie, Brendan Reichs
(Juvenile Fiction - J Condie)

Middle-schoolers Nico, Tyler, Ella, and Opal discover a hidden island in a forbidden cove that appears uninhabited, but something ancient has awakened knowing their wishes, dreams, and darkest secrets.


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.

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.

Guys Read: Terrifying Tales

Jon Scieszka
(Juvenile Fiction - J Guys)
Series: 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.

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.

Home Sweet Horror

James Preller
(Juvenile Fiction - J Preller)
Series: 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.

A Living Nightmare

Darren Shan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Shan)
Series: 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.

Morpheus Road. 1, The Light

D.J. MacHale
(Juvenile Fiction - J Machale)
Series: 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.

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.

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.

The Onts

Dan Greenburg
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gr)
Series: 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.

Raven’s Gate

Anthony Horowitz
(Juvenile Fiction - J Horowit)
Series: 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)
Series: 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.

The Screaming Staircase

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

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

Small Spaces

Katherine Arden
(Juvenile Fiction - J Arden)

After eleven-year-old Ollie's school bus mysteriously breaks down on a field trip, she has to take a trip through scary woods, and must use all of her wits to survive. She must stick to small spaces.

A Tale Dark and Grimm

Adam Gidwitz
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gidwitz)
Series: Grimm series; 1

Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering witches, devils, warlocks, kindly strangers, and other helpful folk as they take charge of their own happily ever after.

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 Thickety

J.A. White
(Juvenile Fiction - J White)
Series: 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)
Series: 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.