13 Halloween Audiobooks For Your Little Horrors and Teenage Terrors!
It’s not exactly our mission in life to be scaring kids to death, but it is October, right? For your teenage terrors and little horrors, we’ve put together our top 13 Halloween audiobooks for kids.
Happy (and horrible) listening!
1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, narrated by Ilyana Kadushin
There are a few things we know about vampires:
- They’re not keen on garlic (France is vampire-free)
- They can’t come into your house uninvited, which in my opinion is just good manners
- Give them abs and a sense of sexual danger and you’ve got yourself a bestseller
Without a doubt the Twilight series, made up of the eponymous first novel, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn introduced the vampire genre to a new generation of readers and listeners. Combined, the saga has sold over 120 million copies in 38 languages and spawned a successful movie franchise.
So why did it have teenage goths (and young professionals) rushing to read the book? The book focuses on Bella, a human, who moves to Washington with her dad. There she finds herself drawn to Edward, a mysterious, handsome boy, who happens to drink the blood of animals. Naturally Bella and Edward fall in love. At the same time, James – bad-guy-vampire – starts to hunt Bella; Edward and his vampyric family defends her. She’s forced to leave the town for Phoenix, pursued by James. They confront each other and James tries to kill her. Cue Edward to the rescue!
2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, narrated by Bahni Turpin
Everyone at hibooks – and everywhere else it seems – is excited about Children of Blood and Bone. Described as immersive as Harry Potter with the action, twists, and adventure of Game of Thrones. It has the makings of a smash-hit.
There’s a lot of buzz about this book in every bookish quarter. Most of the hype is about the book’s African-inspired setting, mythology, gods etc. It’s a refreshing departure from the well-worn Eurocentric English-village-with-orcs setup that we’ve come to expect from the fantasy genre.
3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, narrated by various
Your family has been murdered. Before social services arrive, you wander into a graveyard, where the local ghosts and other supernatural entities agree to raise you as one of their own. In this perfectly plausible situation, Nobody Owens faces dangers and adventures, but he can’t leave his new home. If he does, he’ll come under attack from Jack, his family’s killer.
The Graveyard Book won the Newbery Medal, the Carnegie Medal, Hugo Award, and basically everything else. The audiobook features an ensemble cast of famous Brits with lovely accents, including Gaiman himself, Lenny Henry, Derek Jacobi, Reece Shearsmith, and many others. Fox are now working on the movie adaptation, with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner onboard. The book is marketed as YA but it’s definitely one for adults too.
4. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White, narrated by Katharine McEwan
Kiersten White’s new book is pitch-perfect for Halloween: a creepy cover, a dedication to Mary Shelley (“For Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, whose creation still electrifies our imaginations two hundred years later.”), and chapter titles taken straight from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Oh, and the word ‘Frankenstein’ in the title. Retelling Shelley’s Frankenstein is a good move, as 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the book’s publication.
In White’s version, Elizabeth Lavenza – the fiancée of Victor Frankenstein in Shelley’s original – is emaciated and mistreated by her ‘caregiver’ and is about to be kicked out onto the streets. Instead of finding herself down and out, Elizabeth ends up being taken into the home of Victor Frankenstein, a lonely, unhappy boy who has everything—except a friend.
Victor is Elizabeth’s salvation and she’ll do anything to make herself indispensable. However, her salvation comes at a price. As their years together pass, Elizabeth’s survival is dependent on managing Frankenstein’s dark temper and indulging his every whim…no matter how depraved.
5. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, narrated by Bahni Turpin
Remember when Jane Austen with zombies was a thing? Now we’ve got them roaming the fields of Gettysburg in Justina Ireland’s Civil War retelling. Dread Nation has the usual Young Adult components: young female messianic protagonist, agility trials and combat, skills training, some sort of school. What makes the book interesting is the often overlooked historical setting and its racial elements and metaphors.
Jane, the book’s protagonist, was born two days before the dead were raised and came to walk the battlefields. In this alternative version of America, survival depends on the few and some children are chosen to enforce laws like The Negro and Native Reduction Act.
Jane is one of these few and must attend combat school to learn the skills necessary to destroy the dead. Jane is also given the ‘opportunity’ to become an Attendant — a protector of the well-to-do. It’s a chance at a better life ‘for Negro girls like Jane’.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, narrated by Allan Corduner
Markus Zusak’s international bestseller, and undoubtedly a modern classic, is narrated by Death himself. It’s 1939 in Nazi Germany, and, as the book’s blurbs says, Death has never been busier. Liesel’s story is related by Death as he tries to make sense of World War II. Liesel’s parents have been taken away to a concentration camp and she now lives with her foster family on Himmel Street.
Liesel steals books and tells stories to provide for her family and the Jewish man she’s hiding. A quick scan of readers’ reviews makes it clear that The Book Thief is, amongst other adjectives, a masterpiece, a page-turner, and a total tear-jerker.
7. Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, narrated by Jesse Bernstein
School settings are a mainstay of middle-grade and YA fiction but there’s always room for a twist on the familiar backdrop. Following a horrific family tragedy, Jacob travels to a remote Welsh island where he discovers the ruinous remains of Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children.
Jacob comes to realize that the epithet ‘peculiar’ is an understatement: the children may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted Island for more sinister reasons. There are similarities to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters from the X-Men series, but Riggs has cast his rendition in sepia tones and Victoriana.
The first in a series, Miss Peregrine’s School was a smash-hit amongst YA fans and BookTubers, and it makes a perfect fall or Halloween listen.
8. Coraline by Neil Gaiman, narrated by the author
Neil Gaiman seems to have a thing for spooky houses (but who doesn’t?!) and alternative parents. There’s something weird about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist or the cat that’s always watching her, nor the danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible read in their tea leaves. Nope, what’s weird is the fact that behind the old door in the drawing room is another house. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them…and stay with them. She knows that to step through the doorway means she may never come back.
Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials, and another lover of things beyond mysterious doorways, calls Coraline, ‘A marvellously strange and scary book.’
5 Spooky Books For Your Little Terrors
9. The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt
The late Sir Terry Pratchett might not be widely known Stateside but he was a bestselling, multi-award winning novelist in the UK for decades. He was the creator of the Discworld series, as well as a range of childrens and young adult books. He’s also really funny.
In these pages, new Pratchett fans will find wonder, mayhem, sorcery, and delight—and loyal readers will recognize the seeds of ideas that went on to influence his most beloved tales later in life.
Gaiman (him again!) says, “a Terry Pratchett book is a small miracle.” I second that, Neil.
10. The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman, narrated by the author
The third Gaiman book to make the list, The Wolves in the Walls is a cute little tale about Lucy. Lucy’s convinced there are wolves in the walls of her old house. Her family aren’t so sure. Then one day, the wolves come out.
Turn the lights down, find some howling sounds on YouTube, and listen to this short spooky story together on All Hallows Eve (before heading out to annoy the neighbors.) The audiobook is narrated by Neil himself.
11. The Witches by Roald Dahl, narrated by Miranda Richardson
More witches, more Brits!
Luke’s Grandma Helga isn’t keen on witches. They are, in her estimation, the most dangerous creatures on earth. They hate children, and they cast horrible spells in order to get rid of them. Too bad for Luke when he comes face-to-face with the Grand High Witch herself. I remember seeing the 1990 film adaptation starring Anjelica Huston and being mildly terrified when the ordinary looking women gather and unmask themselves, revealing bald heads, hook noses and square toes. It’s all also full of fun and giggles. The Witches audiobook is narrated by British actress Miranda Richardson.
12. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud, narrated by Miranda Raison
But they’re not your everyday sleuths. Meet the dashing, scatty Anthony Lockwood; his loyal, book-loving deputy George Cubbins; and their newest agent, brave Lucy Carlyle. Together they make up Lockwood & Co. psychic investigators. In The Screaming Staircase, the dead are back to haunt the living and evil spirits crowd the streets after dark.
Are you in danger of being ghost-touched?
13. The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, narrated by Kirby Heyborne
Best known for his dystopian hit Fahrenheit 451 (best kept for adult ears only), Bradbury also wrote this spooky tale for kids.
On Halloween night, eight trick-or-treaters gather at the haunted house by the edge of town, ready for adventure. But when Something whisks their friend Pip away, only one man, the sinister Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, can help the boys find him.
“If you want to know what Halloween is, or if you simply want an eerie adventure, take this mystery history trip. You couldn’t ask for better than master…Ray Bradbury.” – The Boston Globe.