Halloween Thrillers for Tweens and Teens - October Book List

Halloween Escape Room themed book list curated by CLP's Reader Advisory Team

By Emily Papa, Macaroni KID South Hills Publisher October 12, 2023

Halloween and spooky season are fast-approaching, and Pittsburghers are looking for engaging, family-friendly fall events to add to their calendars over the next few months. But for some Pittsburgh kids, teens, and tweens, their perfect idea of fall fun is snuggling up with their favorite blanket on the couch with an exciting new book filled with mystery and suspense. Thanks to CLP's Reader Advisory Team, we have a Halloween Escape Room-themed book list that should do the trick to get your young readers in the fall mood!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll - A collection of five spine-tingling short stories in comic book form

Clown in a Cornfield by Adam Cesare - Quinn Maybrook and her father have moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs, to find a fresh start. But what they don't know is that ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can. Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It's a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now.

White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson - Believing her new home to actually be alive, especially when her brother almost dies, Marigold and her new blended family won't be safe until she brings the truth to light once and for all.

Hide and Seeker by Daka Hermon - Justin knows that something is wrong with his best friend. Zee went missing for a year. And when he came back, he was . . . different. Nobody knows what happened to him. At Zee's welcome home party, Justin and the neighborhood crew play Hide and Seek. But it goes wrong. Very wrong. One by one, everyone who plays the game disappears, pulled into a world of nightmares come to life. Justin and his friends realize this horrible place is where Zee had been trapped. All they can do now is hide from the Seeker.

The Maze Runner Sixteen by James Dashner - year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.

Ghost: Thirteen Haunting Tales to Tell by Blaise Hemingway - A collection of thirteen original ghost stories, some in rhyme.

Living Ghosts and Mischievous Monsters Chilling American Indian Stories by Dan C. Jones (Ponca Nation) - Thirty-two short stories chosen from the tradition of ghost stories from American Indian cultures across North America, featuring witches, walking dolls, hungry skeletons, skinwalkers, and other supernatural beings

There's a Ghost* in This House by Oliver Jeffers - The story of a young girl who lives in a haunted house but has never seen a ghost. Includes tracing paper pages that make ghosts appear on each page.

Thirteens by Kate Alice-Marshall - Neil Gaiman's Coraline meets Stranger things in a dark and twisted story about a sleepy town with a dark secret-and the three kids brave enough to uncover it.

Root Magic by Eden Royce - It's 1963, and things are changing for Jezebel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. The local police deputy won't stop harassing her family. With school integration arriving in South Carolina, Jez and her twin brother, Jay, are about to begin the school year with a bunch of new kids. But the biggest change comes when Jez and Jay turn eleven and their uncle, Doc, tells them he's going to train them in rootwork. Jez and Jay have always been fascinated by the African American folk magic that has been the legacy of their family for generations--especially the curious potions and powders Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out that her family's true power goes far beyond small charms and elixirs... and not a moment too soon.