15 Frightful Favorites: A Fifth Grader’s Horror Booklist

Spine-tingling books like these can be perfect companions in dark times.


Five frightful favorites

The Ghost of Fossil Glen by Cynthia DeFelice. Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. 1998.
After meeting the ghost of Lucy Stiles, Allie is determined to prove what led to Lucy’s death, putting her own life in peril. A fast-paced mystery.

The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight: More Poems to Trouble Your Sleep by Jack Prelutsky. Greenwillow. 1980.
Deliciously creepy poems about the abominable snowman, zombies, and more will make you think twice about turning out the lights at night.

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStafano. Bloomsbury. 2016.
Lionel thinks he sees a blue fox in the woods near his foster home, but it’s something more sinister. His best friend is possessed by a blue spirit she can’t control.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. HarperCollins. 1981.
These classic monster tales, creepy stories, and jump scares are mandatory reading for upper elementary and middle school horror enthusiasts.

READ: Don’t Read These After Dark: A Horror Book List for Tweens

The Stone Child by Dan Poblocki. Yearling. 2009.
Three kids must close an evil portal created when their favorite author’s stories leap off the page.

Daring to read next...

Bloom by Kenneth Oppel. Knopf. 2020.
Three tweens infected with alien DNA must save the world from an unworldly enemy.

The Longest Night of Charlie Noon by Christopher Edge. Delacorte. 2020.
Charlie and Dizzy try to learn who’s been leaving mysterious messages in the forest. They partner with a bully while navigating time lapses and a crippling storm.

The Puppet’s Payback and Other Chilling Tales by Mary Downing Hahn. Clarion. 2020.
Dare to open this story collection packed with ghosts, witches, and creepy puppets by a master of horror.

Scare Me by K.R. Alexander. Scholastic. 2019.
The Happy Hills haunted house contest turns deadly when three kids accidentally waken the ghost bride.

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian Heidicker. Holt. 2019.
Fox kits demand scary tales in this 2020 Newbery honoree that delivers an increasingly sinister narrative.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. Disney-Hyperion. 2015.
In the Asheville, NC, mountains, catlike Serafina must discover who’s stealing the children of Biltmore.

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden. Putnam. 2018.
A mysterious book, scarecrows, and a broken-down bus lead to a nightmare field trip that Ollie and classmates can only escape if she matches wits with “smiling man.”

The Stitchers by Lorien Lawrence. Amulet. 2020.
After her policeman dad’s death, Quinn and Warren strive to understand why Quinn’s creepy neighbors never age. Then the neighbors try to silence them.

Watch Hollow (Book 1) by Gregory Funaro. HarperCollins. 2019.
After Lucy and Oliver Tinker’s dad gets a job to fix the cuckoo clock of Blackford House, the tweens must team up with enchanted statue animals to outwit evil.

Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski. Margaret K. McElderry. 2020.
Missing teens from Whispering Pines turn back up, without eyes. Two tweens investigate in a town where ghost hunting thrives.


Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing