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28th Oct 2021

5 scariest Stephen King novels to read for Halloween

Katy Thornton

He is the the King of Horror after all!

Stephen King has published over 63 novels, and that doesn’t even include his non-fiction and short story collections. He is one of the most prolific writers of our time, and a master of the horror genre. Before Stephen King, I wondered how a book could be scary. I didn’t think it was possible to feel the same level of fear that you might with a horror movie. Well, every single book on this list has been adapted for film, and every single one is terrifying.


There were parts of this novel that made me feel physically ill they were so gruesome. While the newest film, particularly part two, has received mixed reviews, It is considered one of King’s masterpieces. A faceless monster terrorises a small town in Maine, able to transform itself into that which you’re most afraid of. A group of children known as “The Losers Club” band together to try and kill It and the story jumps back and forth in time to when they’re children and when they’re adults.

The Shining

Possibly one of the most classic horror stories of all. A writer takes a job as a caretaker for the Overlook Hotel, taking his wife Wendy and young son Danny. Soon strange things start to occur at the Hotel, and Danny’s affinity for “the shining” begins to take hold while Jack falls into madness. While the film is perfection, considered one of the best horror movies of all time, the book gives the reader a deeper understanding of what’s actually going on, and we really recommend you consider reading it.


What makes Cujo so frightening is that there’s nothing supernatural about the story. While there are hints of the supernatural throughout, the actual story is very simple. Cujo the dog contracts rabies and slowly goes mad, taking out anyone in his path. This novel is quite tragic in the sense that you read from Cujo’s point of view, and it’s clear he wants to fight the rabies, but finds himself unable. You’ll either hug your pet a little tighter after reading this, or not look at them quite the same way.


Stephen King’s first novel set him up as one of the best horror writers of our time. He published Carrie in 1974, beginning a lifetime of writing horror fiction. Carrie is the definition of unpopular. She has no friends, and an overbearing and God-fearing mother. When a school prom approaches, the popular kids at Carrie’s school decide to play a prank on her, unaware that Carrie has some supernatural abilities she has very little control over. This novel has spawned movie and theatre adaptations, and it is brilliant, and horrifying.


Paul Sheldon is a successful writer, known for his famous Misery series of novels. He’s done with that now, he’s looking to start fresh. One night he gets into a car accident, and is saved by his number one fan, Annie. Lucky Paul right? No. Not right. Turns out Annie is pretty upset with the way the series ended, and wants Paul to write another sequel. There are certain villains that will go down in history. Darth Vader, Lord Voldemort, The Joker, Thanos, the monster from It, I could go on. Annie Wilkes should absolutely be on that list. She is terrifying and her character in this novel is what absolutely makes it. Plus if you fancy watching the movie, Kathy Bates plays Annie. Need I say more?

Honourable mentions

King has more than just five scary novels, so we have to include some honourable mentions, including Pet Sematary, Doctor Sleep, The Outsider, and Salem’s Lot. Most Stephen King books deal with the supernatural and the scary, which is why he is the perfect writer to focus on for Halloween.

Header image via Shutterstock

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