13 Scary Banned Books to Read for Halloween

Banned and Challenged Books, General Interest

By: OIF Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll

Everywhere we look today we will see skeletons, skulls, pumpkins, ghosts, bats, vampires, mummies and witches. Today is meant to enjoy delicious chills and festive thrills. Whether you like Freddy, Michael and haunted houses with chainsaws and bloody corpses, or kindergartners in costume and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown while eating fun-size Snickers bars, there is something for everyone — unless your favorite spooky story has been censored.

On all Hallow’s Eve, my favorite festive day, I share with you lucky 13 books that have been challenged or banned because of “demonic possession,” “promoting mischief,” or because they “interest little minds in the devil with all of his evil works.” But of all the things to be scared of, the scariest of all is BANNING BOOKS.

All the entries you see below are pulled from a fantastic resource by Robert P. Doyle titled Banned Books: Defending Our Freedom to Read.

1) Daughters of Eve
by Lois Duncan

Daughter of Eve

Lois Duncan Robert P. Doyle

2) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Alvin Robert P. Doyle

3) The Shining
by Stephen King

The Shining

Stephen King Robert P. Doyle

4) Die Softly
by Christopher Pike

Die Softly

Christopher Pike Robert P. Doyle

5) Goosebumps series
by R.L. Stine


R.L. Stine Robert P. Doyle

6) The Witches
by Roald Dahl

The Witches

Roald Dahl, Robert P. Doyle

7) The House of Night series
by P.C. and Kristin Cast

House of Night series

Kristin Cast Robert P. Doyle

8) Halloween ABC
by Eve Merriam and illustrated by Lane Smith

Halloween ABC

Merrium Robert P Doyle

9) The Exorcist
by William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist

William Blatty Robert P. Doyle

10) Sandman
by Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman Robert P. Doyle

11) Rosemary’s Baby
by Ira Levin

Rosemary's Baby

Ira Levin Robert P. Doyle

12) Witches, Pumpkins and Grinning Ghosts
by Edna Barth

Edith Barth Robert P. Doyle

13) The Headless Cupid
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Headless Cupid

Snyder Robert P. Doyle



Kristin PekollKristin Pekoll is the Assistant Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Kristin communicates with state library associations on current book challenges and publications that deal with censorship, privacy, ethics, and internet filtering. She organizes online education and training on the freedom to read and how to navigate reconsideration requests and media relations. Kristin started her career as a youth librarian in West Bend, Wisconsin. In 2009, over 80 YA LGBTQ books were challenged over 6 months. While the library board voted to retain all of the books in this case, she learned the indispensable value of support and education for librarians. She continued to fight against censorship in Wisconsin as the Intellectual Freedom Round Table Chair. Kristin’s husband and kids have joined her in Chicago but they all remain true Green Bay Packers fans. She enjoys zombies, knitting, and the Big Bang Theory. Find her on Twitter @kpekoll.

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