Books to read for spooky season


Sierra Hoeger/ Iowa State Daily

Paige Ahlrichs is a fan of thriller novels, but classifies “It” as too scary. 

Sierra Hoeger

A common genre disliked among people everywhere is horror. Horror movies, haunted houses — Halloween even — are thought of as creepy, gory and straight-up terrifying. The scary effect of music alongside movie scenes, scary costumes and the amount of fake blood and creepy props can be too much for some people. 

Whether you start celebrating spooky season as soon as Labor Day marks the end of summer or prefer to wait until October comes around, watching scary movies is an activity not all college students wish to celebrate by.

Want to get in the spirit of the upcoming season without all of the jump scares and creepy music to psych you out? Reading a horror or thriller novel is the perfect solution. 

“My favorite genre is probably psychological thrillers; I don’t read much horror, but I’ve read ‘The Haunting of Hill House,’ which started as a book. I started “It”, but stopped that one quick — it was too scary,” said senior Paige Ahlrichs. 

Paige is the president of A Novel Idea, Iowa State’s primary book club on campus. This month, the club is reading “Little Wolves,” by Thomas Maltman. “Little Wolves” is a murder mystery with thriller elements mixed in. 


Written by the king of horror novels himself, Stephen King, “It” has gained popularity in the past couple of years due to the release of its first movie adaptation. “It” centers around Pennywise the Clown and a group of children in Derry, Maine. Pennywise makes appearances every 27 years, forcing children to go missing and traumatizing those who stay put. 

With a grand total of 1,153 pages, now’s the perfect time to start reading. 

The Institute

Another novel written by Stephen King, “The Institute” was released just recently, making it a must-read this season. “The Institute” is about children in an institute with powers such as telepathy and telekinesis. 

The staff at The Institute are determined to rid the children of their gifts and talents, rewarding them if they cooperate and punishing them if they don’t. Promising an action-packed thriller, this is one book you won’t want to miss. 

“I like to be scared, I love the adrenaline rush but my twin sister — she does not,” Ahlrichs said. “She doesn’t see it. I hate after the fact if I’m still scared, but in the moment it’s fun.”

The Chain

Written by Adrian McKinty, “The Chain” gained prominence when Jimmy Fallon featured it as one of his contenders for a summer reading challenge on his television show. 

The chain in the story revolves around abductions. A stranger has abducted your child, and to get them back, you must abduct someone else’s child. Your child will be released back to you when the parents of the child you abducted kidnap another child, creating a chain. 

With a review by Stephen King himself, this book proves to be as chilling as it sounds. 

“My favorite [thriller novel] is a classic, ‘The Shining.’ I don’t know why, but I really like it,” Ahlrichs said.