Frighteningly Fun *Scary* Books to Help Kids Laugh, Learn, and Grow; From Bunnicula to Eerie Elementary.

by Kyle Schurman
Originally Published: 
Eerie Elementary Scary Kids Book

Learning how to deal with scary stuff is part of growing as kids. It may start with them sleeping in their own bed without a nightlight. Eventually, they may even be brave enough to clean out under the bed. (There always is some scary sh*t under there.) Helping kids face their fears is part of parenting.

But when it comes to allowing them to read scary books for kids, you may pause. Are they ready? After all, you don’t want them to read some horrifying book and scar them to the point they end up sleeping in your bed until they’re 16.

Some mild scares are good for kids, helping them progress through their mental development and maturation. As an elementary teacher, Katie Carella, M.Ed., gave students the choices of books across all genres, including scary books.

“I’ve specifically been determined to bring horror-lite content to young readers, because I feel strongly that adults should allow — and encourage — children to experience feeling scared through books,” says Carella, who’s now an Executive Editor at Scholastic Inc. “Feeling scared in this way, while in a safe environment, can help children gain the tools they need to better cope.”

She says kids may find some of the things they worry about, both real and make believe, spelled out in scary books for kids. Reading about those things can make them less scary.

Now, we’re not talking about letting your 8-year-old borrow your Stephen King collection (baby steps, people, baby steps), but you can fill your kid’s bookshelf with age appropriate scary children’s stories. Maybe start with some frighteningly fun stories around Halloween, and then migrate to scarier books at any time of the year. They may develop a greater love for reading after an introduction through the horror genre.

Every kid is a little different, so we’ve picked scary books for kids in our list that run the gamut from funny to creepy to frightful. (After all, you don’t want to scare the kid to the point where he wets his pants … especially if he’s sleeping in your bed after your first failed attempt at introducing him to scary children’s stories.)

Best Scary Books for Kids

If you’re looking for books that don’t have as much of a dark side, we did put together a guide to the best books for kindergarteners.


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