50 Scariest Books of All Time: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Halloween is near, and if you’ve been following along I’m reading and reviewing my way down one site’s list of the 50 scariest books of all time. Today I bring to you a classic from my childhood –

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
By – Alvin Schwartz


It seems that people who are really drawn to horror as adults, got into it as young children. I really cannot explain to you what it is about horror that I love so much, but what I can tell you is that I have memories of watching Night of the Living Dead, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Pet Semetary, It, The Amityville Horror, etc. for the first time as vividly as I remember what I ate for breakfast today. I was 6 years old and it was New Years Eve, mom let me stay up late and Night of the Living Dead was playing on TV – I remember that but I don’t remember meeting my sister for the first time and I was 6 when she was born…  priorities, right?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is classic to kids who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s – they scared us to death!

Light, cheerful nighttime reading.

Light, cheerful nighttime reading.

There are three volumes in total, and they are all amazing. The stories are urban legends and folk tales all adapted by the author, and the illustrations that came with these tales are the things of my nightmares to this day. Sadly the publishers have taken the terror out of the artwork for the newer generations. It’s a tragedy!


Original on the left, tame new version on the right.

If you can get a copy of the original version of these three books, do so and don’t let go! If you can only find the newer versions that’s fine too, the stories are all amazing still, it’s just the illustrations that have been changed.

Regardless, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a must have for anyone who loves horror, adults and kids alike!

50 Scariest Books of All Time (3 down, 47 to go)

  1. It – Stephen King
  2. Piercing – Ryu Murakami
  3. The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty
  4. Ghost Story – Peter Straub
  5. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
  6. Hell House – Richard Matheson
  7. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  8. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  9. The Best of H.P. Lovecraft – H.P. Lovecraft
  10. The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
  11. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
  12. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
  13. The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
  14. Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
  15. The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson
  16. The Trial – Frankz Kafka
  17. Books of Blood – Clive Barker
  18. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy
  19. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill
  20. Carrion Comfort – Dan Simmons
  21. The Complete Tales and Poems – Edgar Allan Poe
  22. Dawn – Octavia Butler
  23. We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
  24. The Girl Next Door – Jack Ketchum
  25. The Painted Bird – Jerzy Kosinski
  26. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  27. The Cipher – Kathe Koja
  28. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  29. The Ruins – Scott Smith
  30. Ghost Stories of an Antiquary – M. R. James
  31. Naomi’s Room – Jonathan Aycliffe
  32. The Ritual – Adam Nevill
  33. Johnny Got His Gun – Dalton Trumbo
  34. Incarnate – Ramsey Campbell
  35. The Woman in Black – Susan Hill
  36. The Great God Pan – Arthur Machen
  37. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – Alvin Schwartz
  38. The October Country – Ray Bradbury
  39. White is for Witching – Helen Oyeyemi
  40. Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist
  41. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream – Harlan Ellison
  42. The Collector – John Fowles
  43. The Store – Bently Little
  44. Penpal – Dathan Auerbach
  45. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  46. Swan Song – Robert R. McCammon
  47. The Wolfen – Whitley Strieber
  48. The Hot Zone – Richard Preston
  49. The Killer Inside Me – Jim Thompson
  50. 1984 – George Orwell


8 thoughts on “50 Scariest Books of All Time: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

  1. I read the Woman in Black about a couple of years ago. Very good and very chilling. Poe is an outstanding horror writer who can’t be missed. Other than that, I don’t tend to read horror, but I do like paranormal. It’s the gore I can’t stand.

  2. The Woman in Black scared me. And anything by Edgar Allen Poe. Love that your reading your way through this whole list!

    • I found the Poe free for Kindle, I’m excited to get into it. My dad use to tell me the Tell Tell Heart when I was a kid, and he’d do it with sound effects and spooky voice and stuff…those were the days!

      • I kinda miss being read to like that. With all the sound effects and stuff. I don’t think audiobooks would compare to that. 🙂

  3. Pingback: 50 Scariest Books of All Time: Dracula | Cheesecake Summer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s