Happy Halloween! (A week early)

Hello Mixed-Up Filers!

Has it really only been two months since my last post? Wow, time flies! At this pace, my next post scheduled for March 27, 2016, will be here before you know it! And by the way, from the rough draft I’ve been doing on that one, it’ll be great!

But, that’s then. It’s time to return to the now. And as for now, as always, I wondered what to write about and with Halloween right upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to probably go out and buy some candy, to make sure that my house wasn’t egged and toilet-papered…again, by those rotten little trick-or-treaters who terrorize my neighborhood each year, with their threats of extortion in order to get back some thirty-five cent piece of candy, which will probably go stale by the time they eat it, and I hope it does. Yes, I’m talking to you, Billy Henderson. Don’t think I didn’t see you egging my house last November 3rd, three full days AFTER Halloween. Next time, I’m calling your mother. Anyway, I digress. Since Halloween was near, I also had an idea write about some of our favorite favorite scary books.

Scary is subjective. What scares me, might not necessarily scare someone else and vice-versa. Some people are scared of monsters, some from clowns, and for people like our own Elissa Cruz, she says it’s looking at the caller ID when her phone rings and seeing my name. Oh, how she kids with me.

Anyway, there are many scary and creepy books out there, which can be read at any time of the year, not just for Halloween, but reading them around now, puts a little extra scary flavor into it. So, without further ado:

Coraline by Neil Gaiman– How creepy is this book? No, seriously, how creepy? Other-world parents sewing buttons into your eyes. Eating children’s bodies and disposing of their souls? Ghost children and moving, severed-hands? This book flies off the creep-scale charts. When Coraline ventures into another world, she has to confront all of these things and it is not just very scary, but also sooooo good. Gaiman to me, is creepy on his own, but in this book, he outdoes himself. Definitely not one to be missed and especially now at Halloween time.


The Witches by Roald Dahl– This is a nice, heartwarming tale about a group of witches who are plotting to get rid of every single child on earth, because basically, they believe that kids smell bad. The story is about a boy, whose grandmother tells him all about how to spot witches and what signs to look for. It will involve turning things into mice, killing witches and lots of creepiness. Even the ending isn’t all happy and sweet. Definitely one of Dahl’s creepier books, which is saying something.


This next book, I’m going to put on here because I do think it’s scary. Don’t know if it is even considered middle-grade, but I read it in school and it is still scary nearly two-hundred years after it was written. I am, of course, talking about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. Published in 1820, this book has an enduring place in our hearts and our fears, not to mention a new TV series based on the legend. School teacher, Ichabod Crane is after the hand of Katrina Van Tassel. But, unfortunately for him, so is Brom Bones. The story is a short one, but filled with scary moments as well as one of the great literary figures of all time, The Headless Horseman! What’s not to love about a headless villain, who throws flaming pumpkin heads at his prey?

sleepy hollow

The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West: Olive and her family move into a mansion, and she is able to enter the paintings on the walls. Villains, from the paintings, who are intent on getting rid of Olive and her family. Creepy cats. Hauntings and witchcraft.  It all makes for another scary story and a must for Halloween.

book of elsewhere

The last story for our handful of Halloween stories, is A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. This is a reimagining of the Grimm Brothers stories, which by the way, are pretty bloody and gory enough on their own. Gidwitz takes Hansel and Gretel and puts them in new tales and basically, well…basically tortures them. But, it’s torture in the funnest sense of the word. Some parts are gruesome, but what kids don’t love gruesome?

dark and grimm

Anyway, these are my scary book picks and that’s it for now. Join me next time, for my list of best Thanksgiving-related stories involving killer turkeys. There are more than you think.

So, Mixed-Up Filers, until next time, Hope everyone has a Happy and more importantly, safe, Halloween!


jack o lantern

And as for you, Billy Henderson…I’ll be watching.

JROSEN on FacebookJROSEN on InstagramJROSEN on LinkedinJROSEN on Twitter
Jonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny, South Florida. He spends his “free” time chauffeuring around his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into, in particular the Choose Your Own Adventure Series, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Jonathan is proud to be of Mexican-American descent, although neither country has been really willing to accept responsibility. He is the author of Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, which is out now, and its sequel, From Sunset Till Sunrise. He is the co-host of the YouTube channels, Pop Culture Retro, Comics and Pop. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, FromtheMixedUpFiles.Com, SpookyMiddleGrade.com, and his own website, WWW.HouseofRosen.com
  1. You really should write more often, as I always enjoy your witty commentary. I like your book selections here. Some out of the box choices (who would’ve thought of Coraline??) and some new ones I haven’t heard of and sound like great choices!

    • Thanks, Galit. By now I’m hoping you’ve read at least three of them. There will be a test later.

  2. Great list! Fabulous covers, especially the cover for A Dark Tale & Grimm.

  3. Great selection of Halloween books. I plan to read The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud to get into the spirit. I’ve heard it’s pretty creepy, but may be more YAish.

    • Haven’t heard of it, Brenda. Will have to check it out!