13 Spooky New Audiobooks to Listen to Before Halloween

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13 Spooky New Audiobooks to Listen to Before Halloween

From creepy monster myths to haunting ghost tales, spooky stories are the most terrifying when someone is telling you every horrifying detail. That makes an audiobook the perfect way to experience a scary narrative, piping terror straight down your ear canal and into your bones.

We’ve featured several of the year’s scariest listens on other lists, from Stephen King’s The Institute to Sara Rees Brennan’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season of the Witch to Dawn Kurtagich’s Teeth in the Mist, so it’s possible you’ve already started your spooky season listening. But whether you listen to frightening audiobooks all year round or are ready to take the plunge into horror now, we have the perfect book recommendations for you. We’ve rounded up 13 of 2019’s spookiest new audiobook releases (ordered by shortest to longest run time) to help you get the most frights during Halloween season.

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thingsshesseen.jpg The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Narrated by: Miranda Tapsell

Run time: 4 hours and 28 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Ghost story, murder mystery, haunting Aboriginal fable—Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina’s The Things She’s Seen checks every spooky box you could want. Protagonist Beth Teller is a ghost with unfinished business, but the mystery of her death doesn’t haunt the listener. Instead, that honor goes the mystery behind Isobel Catching, the unreliable witness who can see Beth and who has a wild, monster-filled story to tell. The Kwaymullinas’ book would be compelling enough on its own, but with Aboriginal Australian actress Miranda Tapsell (Top End Wedding) giving chilling voice to both girls’ journeys, it rises to utterly captivating.

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camp red moon.jpg Camp Red Moon edited by R.L. Stine

Narrated by: R.L. Stine, Ellen Archer, Stephen Bel Davies, Chris Ciulla, Kevin T. Collins, Ramon de Ocampo, Lauren Fortgang, Kevin R. Free, Piper Goodeve, Allison Hiroto, Josh Hurley, Allyson Johnson, Eddy Lee, Thérèse Plummer, Carrie Seim, Gabriel Vaughan, Marc Vietor

Run time: 4 hours and 32 minutes

Audible (Audible exclusive)

In the behind-the-scenes video below, scare master R.L. Stine admits to never having been anything close to an outdoors person, let alone a sleepaway camp person. (“I think I touched a tree once,” he jokes. At least, we hope he jokes.) But he let his imagination run wild in curating this newest Audible Original campfire story collection. Stine’s contribution, “The Werewolf in the Woods,” goes the monster route, but robots, shapeshifters, ghosts and more show up in other stories contributed by Young Adult (YA) authors like Dan Poblocki, Ellen Oh and Justin Reynolds. Between their collective story-spinning clout and the serious voice acting skills contributed by the dozen-plus narrators, this project is reason enough for non-subscribers to check out Audible.

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the babysitters coven.jpg The Babysitters Coven by Kate M. Williams

Narrated by: Phoebe Strole

Run time: 9 hours

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

From Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season of the Witch to These Witches Don’t Burn to The Lost Coast, 2019 has been chock full of fun (and often queer) YA twists on the witch story. This close to Halloween, there’s just something about Kate M. Williams’ The Babysitters Coven, however, that will make you want to queue it up before any of the rest. Is it that rad, dreamy cover? Maybe! Is it the unapologetically self-aware title? Possibly! Is the fact that the narratorial voice bringing Buffy-like superpowers to life is Phoebe Strole, who we’ve loved from The Time Traveler’s Wife to Rayne and Delilah’s Midnight Matinee? Definitely. For chill fun and fun chills, there’s no better place to start than here.

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the bone houses.jpg The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Narrated by: Moira Quirk

Run time: 9 hours and 9 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

If you’re looking for historical horror, you’ll love Emily Lloyd-Jones’ The Bone Houses. The novel follows a teen girl who takes it upon herself to solve the mystery behind the risen corpses (“bone houses”) threatening her family’s gravedigging business…you know, as one does. With a tone that’s as much fairy tale as horror, The Bone Houses is an easy listen thanks to Moira Quirk’s narration. Her rounded-edge accent and storyteller’s pacing pin gravedigger Ryn and apprentice mapmaker Ellis’ journey firmly in quest territory, even as bone houses make ferocious appearances. For a satisfying listen that’s not-too-scary and not-too-tame, give this one a go.

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five midnights.jpg Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Narrated by: Almarie Guerra

Run time: 9 hours and 33 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Based on the El Cuco myth and set in a modern Puerto Rico, Ann Dávila Cardinal’s Five Midnights follows the they/won’t they pair of Lupe Dávila and Javier Utierre as they solve the mystery behind a series of grisly murders plaguing the island. Prepare for chills, as it becomes increasingly clear the mystery might be tied to a legendary curse. Narrator Almarie Guerra might initially seem too bright to bring the chills, but don’t be fooled; her frank, easy pacing is all a front for the creepiness that lurks, like Lupe and Javier’s monsters, just under the surface. As an added bonus, Guerra’s precise Spanish pronunciation lends necessary authenticity to Cardinal’s story. This is an author/narrator pair you’ll be seeking out for spooky seasons to come.

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a cosmology of monsters.jpg A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill

Narrated by: Sean Patrick Hopkins

Run time: 10 hours and 47 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Between its stamp of approval from Stephen King (“If John Irving ever wrote a horror novel, it would be something like this. I loved it.”) to its family-run Halloween experience at the center of the narrative, horror fans are likely to pick up Shaun Hamil’s A Cosmology of Monsters no matter what we say. But we’ll sing the audiobook’s praises anyway. On the narration front, Sean Patrick Hopkins’ dread-filled reading brings the Turners family’s nightmares to unsettling life. On the production front, the pulsing undercurrent of monstrous sound that haunts the family across generations (and chapter tracks) is pitched so low, you’ll need the best headphones you can find to pick out anything more than a deep and unceasing sense of unease. It’s the gold hearse standard of spooky audio experiences.

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rules for vanishing.jpg Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall

Narrated by: Jesse Vilinsky, Robbie Daymond, Rob Shapiro

Run time: 11 hours and 4 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Kate Alice Marshall’s Rules for Vanishing, which follows a teen girl who journeys down a haunted forest road to rescue her sister from a vengeful ghost, is a classic on all fronts. Classic high school ghost story? Check. Classic contemporary YA thriller? Check. Classic multi-cast YA audiobook recording? Absolutely. Taking on the story’s Blair Witch Project-style narrative framing, YA audio stalwarts Jesse Vilinsky, Robbie Daymond and Rob Shapiro put in dependably solid performances. The teens’ voices are as alternately disaffected, hormonal and terrified as they need to be; those of the officials investigating the case after the fact are as serious as one would want when putting the haunting events of the story together. There are no musical flourishes or a stable of sound effects here, just a good old-fashioned ghost story.

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grave importance.jpg Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw

Narrated by: Suzannah Hampton

Run time: 11 hours and 7 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Grave Importance, the latest installment in Vivian Shaw’s charming Dr. Geta Helsing series, is perfect for readers who want to just dip a toe into spooky audio waters. In this installment, Dr. Helsing (doctor to the undead, naturally) finds herself conscripted into the service of an exclusive, “highly secret” French spa for mummies—a dream job, save for the fact that her work vacation evolves into a murder mystery. If that set-up isn’t enough to sell you on the book, don’t worry. There are demons, witches, vampyres and, of course, a British Museum curator. The audio version boasts narrator Suzannah Hampton, who breathes valorous life into Greta’s mummified misadventures, charming the listener in equal measure. This is a fun listen no matter the season.

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salvaged.jpeg Salvaged by Madeleine Roux

Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller

Run time: 12 hours and 3 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Salvaged, Madeleine Roux’s science fiction thriller, is not for the faint of heart. If you can’t stomach a character trudging through “ankle-deep corpse sludge,” don’t click on any of the audio preview links above. But if you can handle gore, this alien parasite horror story is the right listen for you. The audio version has Emily Woo Zeller on board, lending her resonant and dramatic narratorial skills to the unsettling space zombie proceedings. There are few worse ways to go out than what Roux has imagined for humanity in Salvaged, and it’s wonderfully haunting with Zeller’s narration. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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toil and trouble.jpg Toil & Trouble: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

Narrated by: Anne Bobby, Augusten Burroughs, Gabra Zackman, Robin Miles

Run time: 12 hours and 10 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Not to be confused with Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft (an excellent YA collection edited Jessica Spotswood and Tess Sharpe and read by Amy McFadden), Toil & Trouble: A Memoir chronicles Augusten Burroughs journey into finding power over helplessness by reaching back into his own personal, witchcraft-filled family history. It’s a compelling conceit, to be sure, but the audiobook doesn’t stop at conceit. No, on top of everything else, the audiobook features a multi-textural and atmospheric full-cast performance. Anne Bobby, Gabra Zackman and Robin Miles’ voices interweave with Burroughs’ own alongside eerie ringing, ominous crackling and other witchy sound effects. This is a wild, spookily engaging take on a memoir from an iconic writer. (You can read an excerpt here.)

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the bone witch book 3.jpg The Bone Witch Trilogy by Rin Chupeco

Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller and Will Damron

Run time: 12 to 13 hours

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive

Emily Woo Zeller returns as one half of the narratorial team for Rin Chupeco’s necromancy-centered fantasy trilogy, The Bone Witch. And if you’re feeling hesitant to dive into a series, don’t worry! You can thankfully binge-listen to the entire series now, since book three, The Shadow Glass, finally hit the shelves in June. Will Damron joins Zeller in narrating the story of Tea, a teen girl ostracized from her community for her ability to raise the dead. (Damron is also one of the narrators for Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies, one of Paste’s 40 best novels of the decade.) With Chupeco’s riveting mythology and three full books of Tea’s darkrot-filled story available at the click of a button, your month of spooky listening could easily be filled with this series.

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his hideous heart.jpg His Hideous Heart: 13 of Edgar Allan Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined edited by Dahlia Adler

Narrated by: Amanda Lovelace, Caitlin Davies, Caleb Roehrig, Dahlia Adler, Emily Lloyd-Jones, Fran Wilde, Hillary Monahan, James Fouhey, Jeanette Illidge, JorJa Brown, Kendare Blake, Robin Miles, Natalie Naudus, Tessa Gratton

Run time: 14 hours and 13 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

A spooky audiobooks list has to include something Edgar Allen Poe-related, so thank goodness for editor Dahlia Adler’s collection of reimagined Poe stories. Featuring 13 of YA literature’s most well-known names, including Kendare Blake (taking on “Metzengerstein”), Rin Chupeco (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue”), Lamar Giles (“The Oval Portrait”), Tessa Gratton (“Annabel Lee”), Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Cask of Amontillado”), Stephanie Kuehn (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), Emily Lloyd-Jones (“The Purloined Letter”) and Fran Wilde (“The Fall of the House of Usher”), His Hideous Heart is an audiobook dream. Half of the stories are read by their authors and the other half are read by professional narrators; all are delightful and, of course, haunting.

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Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill

Narrated by: Zachary Quinto, Wil Wheaton, Kate Mulgrew, Neil Gaiman, Ashleigh Cummings, Joe Hill, Laysla De Oliveira, Nate Corddry, Connor Jessup, Stephen Lang, George Guidall

Run time: 15 hours and 45 minutes

Audible | Libro.fm | Overdrive | SoundCloud

Listeners looking for a bit more fright in their audiobook queue will want to listen to Joe Hill’s Full Throttle, a collection of 13 short stories that includes a story co-written by Stephen King (“Throttle,” soon to be a Netflix film). It features a cast of stunning narrators, from Zachary Quinto to Kate Mulgrew to Neil Gaiman and others. Generally darker and more disquietingly tuned into the unsettling vagaries of human psyche than His Hideous Heart above, Hill’s Full Throttle will stick with you long after Spooky Season turns into the winter holiday hype—and maybe all the better for it, if that’s your cup of lukewarm, haunted highway coffee.

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the lost causes of bleak creek.jpg Bonus Halloween Eve-Eve Release: The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek (Audible exclusive) by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal

Narrated by: Vikas Adam

Run time: unknown

Release date: October 29

Audible (Audible exclusive)

YouTubers Rhett and Link (Good Mythical Morning), who partnered with Audible for their Book of Mythicality back in 2017, are back with the Audible-exclusive debut of their new ‘90s teen novel, The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek. Set in a small Southern town, the book follows freshmen horror filmmakers Rex McClendon and Leif Nelson as they investigate a mysterious history both tied to and hidden by their school. Vikas Adams (Life of Pi), who has a talent for slipping into the self-aggrandizing and self-conscious modes native to teenage boyhood, narrates the audio version, and the audiobook also includes an exclusive interview with Rhett and Link conducted by Stevie Levine (host of the Good Mythical Morning recap show, “Let’s Talk About That”). This ensures The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek is a must-listen for Audible-subscribers.


Alexis Gunderson is a TV critic and audiobibliophile. She can be found @AlexisKG.

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