Halloween, a US holiday so fascinating that it has spread all over the world, even here in Italy. The most mysterious and gloomy night of the year is the perfect moment to undertake slightly decadent readings, which have all the charm of mystery, the unknown and the supernatural. In this article we discover 5 perfect classics to read on Halloween night!

5 classics to read this Halloween

1. “We’ve Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson

We couldn’t start this article differently: on Halloween, Shirley Jackson is the perfect author to have one of her captivating novels on your bedside table. We advise you, if you have not read it yet, “We have always lived in the castle”.

In subdued and delightfully sardonic tones, eighteen-year-old Mary Katherine tells us about the large ancestral home where she lives secluded, in a state of idyllic happiness, with her beautiful sister Constance and an invalid uncle. There would be nothing strange in their passion for minute daily rituals, good cooking and gardening, if it weren’t for the fact that all the other members of the Blackwood family died of poison six years earlier, sitting at the table, right there in the dining room . And when the Stranger bursts into such harmony (in the person of his cousin Charles), a subtly disturbing story unfolds before our eyes, with small witchy touches, which has the deceptive formal characteristics of a comedy. 

2. “The Skin of Shagreen” by Honore de Balzac

Reading not obvious but perfect for Halloween? We recommend a timeless classic that can be read in one night: “The skin of Zigrino” by Honore de Balzac, a story that, due to its atmosphere, mood and events, is truly perfect to read on Halloween night. 

An ambitious young man, fragile and idealistic, he is driven to suicide by poverty and an unhappy passion. After spending his last money at roulette, he finds himself in an antiques shop, where a stranger with demonic traits offers him a talisman, the shagreen skin, which can grant his every wish but will shrink each time it comes. granted one, while the life of the young will become shorter and shorter. The talisman, like any diabolical gift, soon shows his terrible power. 

3. “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins

Here’s another classic that lends itself well to reading during the Halloween period. It is a classic of Victorian literature, “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins.

What terrible secret hides the mysterious female figure who wanders the dark streets of London at night? This is only the first in a series of intrigues, appearances and disappearances, crimes and mistaken identities that make up the plot of the “woman in white”, woven with masterful wisdom by Wilkie Collins.

In 1860 Charles Dickens published the serialized novel in his magazine «All the Year Round» arousing an extraordinary interest in the public, which followed the events of the unfortunate Anne Catherick and those of the other characters for an entire year, described with unparalleled psychological ability, such as the fearless Maria Halcombe, the courageous Walter Hartright and the fascinating and ambiguous Count Fosco. A century and a half has passed and things have not changed. Even the most savvy modern reader can only remain pleasantly trapped in the gears of this extraordinary narrative machine, which has forever marked the tradition of mystery, earning its author the attribute of “father of the modern detective story”. ”

4. “Tales” by Edgar Allan Poe

The stories of Edgar Allan Poe are a great timeless classic, wonderful to read on Halloween. The fortune and fame of Edgar Allan Poe are in fact entrusted precisely to his stories, which range in genres and contents, from horror, to metaphysics, to gothic up to the detective story. A short, intense and nothing short of compelling read!

5. “Coraline” by Neil Gaiman

Finally, for this Halloween we suggest an engaging read, which is good for young and old. It is “Coraline”, which became famous thanks to the beautiful film adaptation. 

In Coraline’s house there are thirteen doors that allow you to go in and out of rooms and corridors. But there’s also another one, the fourteenth, which overlooks a brick wall. What will be beyond that door? One day Coraline discovers that beyond the door there is a dark corridor, and at the end of the corridor there is a house identical to hers, with a woman identical to her mother. Almost.