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.


Don’t Open the Door

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


Dracula vs. Grampa at the Monster Truck Spectacular

Kirk Scroggs
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Sc)
Series: 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.


Rise of the Balloon Goons

Troy Cummings
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Cumming)
Series: Notebooks of Doom; 1

Alexander has just moved into Stermont, but the elementary school is being torn down, his new classroom is located in the hospital morgue, a notebook he finds is full of information about monsters--and everywhere he turns there are spooky balloon men determined to attack him.


Older Elementary

The Black Book of Secrets

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

When Ludlow Fitch's parents cruelly betray him, he leaves the city for a remote village where he gets a job with a mysterious pawnbroker who trades people's deepest, darkest secrets for cash.


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; 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.


Ghostlight

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.


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.


The Jumbies

Tracey Baptiste
(Juvenile Fiction - J Baptist)

In a spine-tingling tale that is rooted in Caribbean folklore, 11-year-old Corinne must call on her courage and an ancient magic to stop an evil spirit and save her island home.


A Living Nightmare

Darren Shan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Shan)
Series: Cirque Du Freak; 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.


The Night Gardener

Jonathan Auxier
(Juvenile Fiction - J Auxier)

Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.


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: Secrets of Dripping Fang; 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.


A Path Begins

J.A. White
(Juvenile Fiction - J White)
Series: Thickety; 1

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.


A Properly Unhaunted Place

William Alexander
(Juvenile Fiction - J Alexand)

In a world full of ghosts, Rosa and Jasper live in the only unhaunted town--but must spring to action when they realize the ghosts are lying in wait to take the town back. (You might also enjoy the sequel, A Festival of Ghosts.)


Raven’s Gate

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


Revenge of the Witch

Joseph Delaney
(Juvenile Fiction - J Delaney)
Series: 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.


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.; 1

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


Serafina and the Black Cloak

Robert Beatty
(Juvenile Fiction - J Beatty)
Series: Serafina; 1

In 1899, a twelve-year-old rat catcher on North Carolina's Biltmore estate teams up with the estate owner's young nephew to battle a great evil and, in the process, unlocks the puzzle of her past.


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.


Spirit Hunters

Ellen Oh
(Juvenile Fiction - J Oh)
Series: Spirit Hunters; 1

Feeling uncomfortable from the moment she arrives in her new home, Harper is dismayed by local rumors that her house is haunted and that every family that has ever lived there has suffered terrible tragedies, a situation that turns sinister when her cheerful little brother begins acting in alarming ways.


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.”