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A Little Fright Can Be All Right: Children’s Books for the ‘Spooky Season’

October 26, 2022

It’s the scariest time of the year! And we’re not just saying that because of the proliferation of pumpkin spice everywhere. It’s Halloween time! And the scary books are out in droves.

Given the enduring popularity of such book series as R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” and “Fear Street” and, more recently, “Last Kids on Earth” and Neil Gaiman’s works for children such as “Coraline” one shouldn’t be surprised to find many voices in support of scary kids’ literature.

Why should any kid be interested in scaring the candy corn out of themselves? Well, the “why” may not be as big a point as the fact that they do want to scare themselves. The scary subgenre of children’s literature has been steadily popular, especially in recent decades.

One advantage to books over other media is the ability to control how one intakes the story. According to British illustrator, Curtis Jobling: “Unlike movie frights, which can feel all-encompassing and leave a mark on young viewers long after the last scene, book scares are easier to manage. A book won’t chase you. It won’t leap out and make you jump. Tasting terror from within the confines of a book provides the reader with a vicarious thrill, one which they’re in complete control of.”

According to Cavan Scott, author of “Attack of the Necron,” one thing going for the stories is teamwork. “Kids reading the series will understand a little bit more about the importance of working together to find solutions for seemingly insurmountable problems, or how to dig deep to find the courage to get through something that usually makes their palms go clammy.”

And as with many stories for kids, there is often a lesson to be learned. “(A lady) told me how much she had loved “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” but how the White Witch had given her nightmares. The funny thing was that as she described the bad dreams, she smiled, and then explained how she’d learned about the dangers of going with strangers from Edmund’s experiences with the Witch,” author Cavan Scott said.

There is much to be mined from these stories, and much truth to be shared through them. So pick up a scary book with your kid this Halloween season. We could all use a good fright.

Books about Being Scared and Bravery