Spooky stories to read around an autumn campfire

Staff PicksSoutheast Library

Spooky stories to read around an autumn campfire

(or under a blanket fort with a flashlight)

As the leaves begin to yellow at the edges and the wind begins to blow a little cooler, it becomes the perfect time of year to settle in with a good ghost story. If you're taking an early fall camping trip, be sure to tote along one of these haunting middle grade books (grades 3-7) to pass the time. Or just read them at home with a flashlight under the covers--as long as you don't stay up too late.

A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander
Rosa Diaz and her mother are ghost appeasement specialists. The only problem is that they just moved to a town that doesn't seem to have any ghosts. With her new friend Jasper, Rosa decides to figure out what on earth is wrong with the town, and why no one seems to pay attention to some new spirits who have been sneaking in.

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel
When the baby is born, Steve knows something is not right. A mysterious angel-like creature promises that she can help the baby, but her help comes with costs for Steve and his family. This haunting read includes monochromatic illustrations by Jon Klassen.

Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch
Is it a mystery? A ghost story? An action packed adventure? Bad Magic is a great multigenre choice for the reader who is not really ready for big scares but still wants an exciting read. What better way to slowly ease into the more thrilling tales than a book that just hints at haunts. 

One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn
The master of children's ghosts stories delights again with a ghost story set during the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic. Annie Browne is the new kid in school and classmate Elsie Schneider quickly claims Annie as a best friend. When Elsie contracts deadly Spanish Influenza, she swears she will be Annie's friend...forever.

Shadow House: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki
Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus and Azumi have all made their way to Larkspur but don't know what they have gotten into. As the giant mansion shifts around them and strange children appear nearby, they are forced to figure out the mystery of Shadow House. This is the first in a trilogy and is accompanied by an interactive choose your own adventure style app.

The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Patricia C. McKissack
Somewhere between legends and horror sits this wonderful collection of original supernatural tales. The tales are inspired by McKissack's growing up years in the South, when the half hour before nightfall was devoted to her grandmother's terrifying tales (which typically served the purpose of making the grandchildren less interested in staying out at night). 

Curse of the Boggin (The Library, Book 1) by D.J. MacHale
A strange and disturbing course of events bring Marcus and his two best friends a mysterious key to unlock the door to an out of this world library where spirits keep unfinished tales. Can they uncover the mysteries behind this spectral place and keep their own world safe from a rogue spirit trying to destroy both them and the library? Find out in this new series by the author of Pendragon.

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
When Harper moves with her family to an old Victorian house in D.C., her brother Michael starts acting strangely. Harper just wants to get out of this creepy house and visit her grandma. Maybe then she'll be able to figure out why she's getting this strange sense of deja vu and why Michael has inexplicably started acting like someone else. Ellen Oh of "We Need Diverse Books" fame has created a glorious haunting, locally set story with a powerful protagonist.