Halloween Reading List: Reading in the Dark

Halloween is just around the corner and we’re counting the days. Literally.

UPM has published a surprisingly large amount of books on the frightful topics of horror film, ghosts, witches, and zombies. In the days leading up to Halloween, we’ve asked our staff members to choose their favorite Halloween-themed book. And every day until Halloween, we will post a new staff pick

Follow along here for our curated Halloween reading list.

Today, Marketing Aide Drew Henry selects Reading in the Dark: Horror in Children's Literature and Culture  -- a collection of essays that investigates both the constructive and the troublesome aspects of scary books, movies, and television shows targeted toward children and young adults.

I’ve had a penchant for the macabre ever since I was little. I was always allowed to stay up to watch the scary creature feature on late night TV because my parents knew nothing could scare me into their bed or give me nightmares. I think, in some ways, all kids have a fascination with horror if, for any reason, because so much of horror is the fear of the unknown, and children have a natural predisposition to make the unknown knowable—to understand the world around them.

I think some of the best children’s authors know this—from Roald Dahl to Maurice Sendak to J.K. Rowling. They fascinate us by taking us to some of the darkest places of our imaginations, and (usually) show us the light at the other end of the darkness.

Jessica R. McCourt’s edited volume Reading in the Dark analyzes our childhood fascination with horror while respecting the genre as a legitimate part of a child’s cultural experience.