Book Club Nominees

5 Horror Books to Get You Excited for Trick-or-Treating!

by @illychilly, curator of HOWLS Book Club nominees for October’s “High Blood Sugar” category

We’ll be reading the books in this category in October, so I wanted to think of something Halloween-y or Halloween adjacent. Besides Horror, when I think of Halloween, my brain goes to candy—Trick or Treat. I selected books where candy, sweets, and treats are at the center of the terror, like razor blades in Halloween candy.

Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke

At first glance, Phil Pendleton and his son Adam are just an ordinary father and son, no different from any other. They take walks in the park together, visit county fairs, museums, and zoos, and eat together overlooking the lake. Some might say the father is a little too accommodating given the lack of discipline when the child loses his temper in public. Some might say he spoils his son by allowing him to set his own bedtimes and eat candy whenever he wants. Some might say that such leniency is starting to take its toll on the father, given how his health has declined.

What no one knows is that Phil is a prisoner, and that up until a few weeks ago and a chance encounter at a grocery store, he had never seen the child before in his life. (StoryGraph)


This book is kind of the inspiration for the entire list. It has been on my TBR list for quite a while. We have some sort of imposter child holding a man hostage, and I just imagine him constantly eating candy. I should also note that sour candy is my favorite kind of candy and that may or may not play a role in the selection of this book.

Bookshop* | StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon

Tastes Like Candy by Ivy Tholen

Everyone at Pritchett High wants an invitation to the Senior Scavenge. In 2020, Violet Warren and her friends are the lucky ones. Eight girls will break into the Poison Apple Carnival after hours for a scavenger hunt, then at sunrise they’ll gather for a celebration in honor of their upcoming senior year.

But someone else has another game planned. Minutes after the girls sneak into the carnival, a madman in a rubber mask begins slashing his way through the group and Violet quickly realizes his motives are personal. As she watches her friends die in a series of increasingly bizarre attacks, she must fight to survive while trying to answer the question: What could she have done to earn a fast-pass for a roller coaster ride straight to hell?


So, I’ll admit, I mostly chose this book for its gorgeous cover. That cotton candy skull chef’s kiss However, I also appreciate the location of this slasher—The Poison Apple Carnival. Seems very fitting for a Trick or Treat Theme.

Bookshop* | StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon

Sweet Treats by Jeremy Megargee

There’s a human monster stalking the streets in the little town of Greyfield. He has a taste for lollipops and he keeps a collection of terrible secrets locked away in glass jars. His addiction is the suffering of others and he’ll go to any lengths to get that fix. The police don’t suspect him. He hides in plain sight, the wolf among sheep. The only one that can stop him is a young boy named Jack, his latest victim. Jack is hopeless and dying when an unlikely savior comes to him, offering a deal that will aide him in exacting his vengeance against his kidnapper. All Jack has to do is invite the wicked visitor inside…and sacrifice a piece of himself in the process. Will Jack have his vengeance and put an end to Greyfield’s gruesome killer once and for all? Or will the pact Jack made with the visitor come back to haunt him? Reach down into the jar of Sweet Treats and find the answers for yourself. (StoryGraph)


What is a treat? A lollipop? A cupcake? What is a treat to a killer? Whatever the killer in this book has in those jars I’m guessing. There’s plenty of sugar in the books, but I’m expecting plenty of spice, too.

Bookshop* | StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon 

The Wicked Baker by Helena Garcia

Give your baking a wicked twist with eerily clever ideas for all manner of cakes, cookies, pastries, breads, desserts and even drinks to spook up your cooking repertoire and make Halloween an occasion to remember. Whether you’re a curious witch, a Halloween fiend or you just want to add a creepy touch to your baking, Helena Garcia will give you all the inspiration you need.

Try her mummified eclairs, some cinnamon buns that look shockingly like brains, a batch of cookie bats, or a scarily impressive haunted tree cake and before you know it, every day will seem like Halloween. Helena wowed the Great British Bake Off judges and audience with her surprisingly ghoulish interpretations of the baking challenges and now, with her amazingly inventive recipes, you too can become the ghostess with the mostest. (StoryGraph)


I’ve been part of a cookbook club before, and it’s really fun to share recipes. This category seemed to really lend itself to that, so I thought I’d include this fun little cookbook with Halloween treats. Bake something, chow down, and then tell us how it was!

StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon 

Sugar and Other Stories by Joy San

A devoted yet amoral creature ensures a girl’s blood sugar stays up. A gory ritual creates a charming woman’s perfect smile. A neglected and overworked wife is slowly subsumed by violent fantasies. In this collection of short horror comics, cartoonist Joy San masterfully explores the ways in which we contort and control ourselves, balancing the bloody and brutal with unexpected levity. (StoryGraph)


I would feel remiss if I didn’t include a graphic novel in my selection, and Sugar & Other Stories is an amazing anthology.

Bookshop* | StoryGraph | Goodreads | Amazon 

And The Winner Is…

Out of these five books, HOWLers voted to read Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke. Discussion starts on October 16th, and you can read along by joining the Discord!

*The HOWLS affiliate storefront pays a 10% commission to HOWL Society and gives a matching 10% to independent bookstores

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