Halloween is nearly upon us, and there’s nothing like reading some great manga to help get you in the spirit and excitement for the season! There’s a lot of great horror and supernatural manga out there that makes a great choice to read for Halloween, but which ones are really the best? After all, you only have a month; you can’t afford to read something that may be disappointing. Lucky for you, this Halloween season we have created a list of the Top 10 Manga to Read for Halloween.
These manga are what we feel are the most suited to the Halloween spirit. They have demons, ghosts, vampires, curses, and more. Some are classic ghost stories, others are about the occult, and some are even gore-filled slashers. Whatever you’re looking for in the Halloween season, we hope you can find an appropriate manga here. We also tried to focus mostly on manga that do not have an anime adaptation, so that you’re much more likely to be surprised and shocked at the twists and turns that these manga take you on because they will all be unfamiliar stories!
10. Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria (The Empty Box and Zeroth Maria)
- Authors: Mikage, Eiji (Story), Tetsuo (Art)
- Genres: Action, Mystery, Drama, Horror, Romance, School, Supernatural, Psychological, Thriller
- Volumes: 7
- Published: 2009 – 2015
Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria is the story of ordinary high schooler Kazuki Hoshino, who revels in his very ordinary life with his friends. So when a mysterious girl named Aya transfers into his class and declares this to be the 13,118th time she has transferred schools and intends to make things interesting this time, his life gets completely flipped upside-down. With Aya’s appearance comes mysterious happenings in the school and strange “boxes” that begin to show up. They grant people’s wishes with the limitation that they can only grant exactly what you believe will come true - if you don’t believe in the wish it won’t happen, you only get exactly what you can imagine.
Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria is a mystery novel with a dark atmosphere. It forces you to reimagine what exactly “everyday life” means as Kazuki struggles to try to return his life to “normal.” It’s meant to mess with your head by using the wish-granting boxes that turn life upside-down and create a psychological thriller for the reader to enjoy. It’s a bit hard to explain just why Utsuro no Hako to Zero no Maria works so well without just reading it, but trust us when we tell you that it will take your mind on a trip down a very dark, but intriguing, road if you want to give it a try this Halloween.
9. Yakusoku no Neverland (The Promised Neverland)
- Authors: Demizu, Posuka (Art), Shirai, Kaiu (Story)
- Genres: Mystery, Horror, Sci-Fi, Shounen
- Volumes: Ongoing
- Published: 2016 – Ongoing
Yakusoku no Neverland is set at Grace Field Orphanage, a place where orphaned children are actually quite happy. They live with a kind and loving “Mama,” and everyone is always adopted before they’re 12 years old. Sure, the kids have to study every day, but when they finish they can play outside together. The only big rule that Grace Field has is that the kids can never go outside of the orphanage grounds. But one day, two children named Norman and Emma sneak beyond the barrier...and learn the horrible truth. The children are never being adopted; the orphanage is just a farm, raising children as livestock to feed them to demons! Norman and Emma have to devise a plan fast if they want to avoid this morbid fate themselves.
Yakusoku no Neverland is a newer, ongoing manga that is slowly revealing it’s full dark story. It’s got a great twist of starting out seeming so happy and positive, and then shocking readers with the twist of what is actually happening. Told through the eyes of children the story is even more frightening and terrible as you realise how much their innocence is being abused. And there are demons of course! All of these elements make Yakusoku no Neverland a great manga to read in the Halloween season. It’s a horror mystery where the stakes are at their highest, and the tension feels real.
8. Ghost Hunt
- Authors: Inada, Shiho (Story & Art), Ono, Fuyumi (Story)
- Genres: Mystery, Drama, Horror, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural, Psychological
- Volumes: 12
- Published: 1997 – 2010
Ghost Hunt is about an abandoned high school that is an eyesore on the street, but unfortunately any time someone tries to tear it down, people end up hurt or even killed. Rumour has it the building is haunted by ghosts of WWII. Curious about the haunting, Mai Taniyama and her friends go to the school to exchange scary stories hoping to see some real spirits themselves. While no ghosts show themselves, the group does encounter a private investigator, a monk, an exorcist, a priestess, and a woman claiming she can communicate with ghosts. It will take all of their unique skills to discover the secrets that the building holds!
Ghost Hunt is a more classic ghost story manga to enjoy for Halloween. It is a bit older but don’t let that put you off without giving it a try. It’s a great mystery story without being too scary, so it’s best for someone wanting to get into the Halloween spirit without wanting to scare themselves silly. It has elements of romance and comedy alongside the more thrilling paranormal moments, giving Ghost Hunt a good balance. Ghost Hunt also has very likeable, well-developed characters. Because it’s episodic and has a lot of smaller stories inside of a big one, it’s easy to give Ghost Hunt a try this Halloween and see if you like it!
7. Mahou Shoujo of the End (Magical Girl Apocalypse)
- Authors: Satou, Kentarou
- Genres: Action, Mystery, Horror, Shounen, Supernatural
- Volumes: 16
- Published: 2012 – 2017
Mahou Shoujo of the End begins with what high schooler Kii Kogami believes is just another day - until he looks out the window and sees a small girl hit a teacher, and that teacher’s head explode! Kii rushes to the toilet hoping to clear his head, but that girl was only the beginning. As she repeats the word “magical” over and over again, she begins to kill all of his classmates. But they don’t stay dead; they rise again as zombies, also repeating the word “magical” over and over again, as they spread through society. Kii and friend Tsukune have to try to live with the other survivors and figure out what has happened.
Nothing quite says Halloween like zombies these days, and of course, Japan would be the one place you could find magical girl zombies. And that’s exactly what Mahou Shoujo of the End is all about - after all, it’s English name is Magical Girl Apocalypse! If you were checking this list to find a zombie manga for Halloween this year, you’ve found it. Mahou Shoujo of the End is a thrilling story about trying to survive a zombie apocalypse told through the eyes of two high schoolers. It has plenty of tense situations leaving you wondering how they will escape and will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what’s going to happen in the end.
- Authors: Hayashida, Q
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Seinen
- Volumes: 23
- Published: 2000 – 2018
Dorohedoro is set in Hole, a dreary and dark district where the laws do not apply. The world of Dorohedoro is ruled by magic users, who have free passage in and out of Hole and are able to use their magic to experiment on torture, and kill the locals there - and that is just a normal part of their society. But some citizens of Hole want to fight back against the magic users, including a reptilian man named Kaiman. Using his resistance to magic and a pair of bayonets, Kaiman fights against the magic users to learn the truth of his origins and his ghastly appearance, hoping to find some kind of “normal” life if he keeps fighting long enough.
Dorohedoro is not for the faint of heart. The setting of Hole is dark, oppressive, gritty and depressing. The people there have given up completely and accepted that they are likely to die at any moment. And Dorohedoro isn’t afraid to use blood and carnage to depict the horrible treatment of these citizens - and of course, in the fights that Kaiman has with the magic users, too. It is balanced out by some healthy comedy to keep things from becoming too much to handle, but the overall feeling of Dorohedoro is a gritty, violence dystopian wasteland story. If you’re looking for a Halloween full of grime, blood, and gas mask-wearing, bayonet-wielding protagonists, look no further than Dorohedoro.
- Authors: Hirano, Kouta
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Seinen
- Volumes: 10
- Published: 1997 – 2008
Hellsing is about a secret British government organisation of the same name that exists to protect regular society from supernatural threats. Typically that means fighting ghouls and vampires, but lately, it has also meant fighting a dark group from the Vatican itself and a group of madmen called Millennium. Hellsing is headed by an ambitious woman named Integra Wingates Hellsing, and her strongest weapon is top vampire executioner Alucard, who happens to also be a powerful vampire himself. Alucard, along with his new minion Seras Victoria, fights for Hellsing to rid the world of these dark evils as the monster war begins.
Hellsing has all the greatest elements of a Halloween monster manga - vampires, the undead, a corrupt church, and plenty of blood. It’s scary without being terrifying; Hellsing is more of a thriller with a lot of intense action and violence rather than a haunting story that messed with your mind. You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you plunge into his all-out supernatural war being fought by a vampire of questionable morality himself. Hellsing was made into a popular anime for a reason - it’s really good, fast-paced and full of intriguing characters and a dark story. Just be warned it’s got quite a lot of violence in it!
- Authors: Yamamoto, Hideo
- Genres: Mystery, Drama, Horror, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 15
- Published: 2003 – 2011
Homunculus is a manga about exploring the idea of trepanation. Trepanation is drilling a small hole in the skull, which is meant to relieve pressure on the brain. It’s the oldest surgical procedure that we have archaeological evidence of, and was used for hundreds of years as a standard medical practise before the onset of modern medicine. Some believe that trepanation can also awaken a person’s sixth sense, allowing them to see ghosts and other spiritual presences, and to have telekinetic powers of objects (and maybe even people). Homunculus focuses on this idea, and what the horrifying idea of trepanation can do to the human brain - specifically one unfortunate homeless man that becomes victim to this experiment.
Homunculus is a psychological horror manga that takes an idea based in reality and turns it into a terrifying fiction. The main character is a man named Nakoshi that sees the world in a terrifying new light after the operation is performed on him. He can see the inner hearts and minds of other people in a surreal and abstract way portrayed through dark imagery, allegory, and symbolism. Nothing about Homunculus is beautiful and that’s what makes it the perfect manga to read for Halloween. It explores the darker side of the human brain and shows humanity through a terrifying new lens. If you like psychological terror, you’ve come to the right place.
3. Uzumaki (Uzumaki: Spiral Into Horror)
- Authors: Ito, Junji
- Genres: Dementia, Drama, Horror, Romance, Supernatural, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 3
- Published: 1998 – 1999
Uzumaki is set in a small town on the coast of Japan called Kurozuchou. Unlike most sleepy little towns, Kuruzuchou is cursed. It’s a unique curse that takes the form of a mysterious spiral called “Uzumaki,” which manifests itself in ways both big and small. The design shows up in everything from the leaves on trees and seashells on the shore to markings on people’s bodies. One high school boy named Shuichi Saito knows Uzumaki intimately well because it has been driving his father into insanity and obsession. And that madness is just continuing to spread, slowly smothering the whole town.
Uzumaki is a creepy, psychologically haunting manga to enjoy for Halloween. It’s split into a lot of short stories that all centre on the idea of the spiral curse, and they all connect together to tell the larger story of Kurozuchou. Each short story builds on the previous ones to create a feeling of suspense and terror, so we suggest reading them slowly and letting the feeling build up for you over the Halloween season. The ending is climatic and intense, so it’s a great goal to work towards, and guaranteed to leave you at least a little bit unsettled.
- Authors: Kakizaki, Masasumi
- Genres: Action, Horror, Psychological, Seinen
- Volumes: 1
- Published: 2010
Seiichi and Mika Kirishima have lost their only son at the start of Hideout, and leave for a beautiful tropical island vacation in hopes of forgetting the tragedy. And while that may indeed be Mika’s plan, Seiichi has something much darker in mind. He feels he has lost everything with his son being the final straw, and now he has lost his grip on reality, too. Now, he wants to kill Mika and hide her body in the jungle! Mika is able to escape and run to a cave in the jungle, but when Seiichi follows her, they unleash something even more terrifying - a monster hungry for human flesh!
Hideout is a short, scary read perfect for a Halloween night. You can finish it in less than two hours at only one volume, and despite that short length, it weaves a twisting and scary story. It has two main focuses that build its dark atmosphere; the first is Seiichi’s downward spiral into depression and madness that lead him to attempt horrible acts, and as the manga is written from his perspective, you can experience that spiral first-hand. The second is the mysterious creature that awakens in the cave that exists to create terror and tension throughout the story. Combined with great art, Hideout is a quick read sure to leave you feeling chills for Halloween.
- Authors: Ryou, Haruto
- Genres: Horror, Seinen
- Volumes: 2
- Published: 2009 – 2010
Ibitsu begins with a university-aged young man named Kazuki taking out his rubbish on what he thinks will be a normal evening. At the rubbish bins, he encounters a woman wearing Lolita-style clothing who asks him a simple question - “Do you have a little sister?” Kazuki answers and quickly returns to his home, a little unsettled. He soon learns that this Lolita is part of an urban legend that a girl wearing Lolita fashion appears at midnight in the streets of Tokyo, and if you answer her question, you will die a horrible and twisted death. And now it’s too late for Kazuki, as he already answered her, but that doesn’t stop him from desperately trying to escape his seemingly sealed fate.
Ibitsu is a great manga for Halloween because it’s based on an urban legend, which is always a great basis for a good Halloween story. It genuinely captures the dark atmosphere that makes reading it with the lights out properly creepy, and at only two volumes long you can finish it pretty fast. It is a bit predictable for fans of horror and visits all the typical “scary” settings like a school and a hospital. But because of Ibitsu’s short length, it always keeps the plot rushing forward to keep you at the edge of your seat none-the-less. And it just might make you wary of Lolita girls in the future after you read it for Halloween!
Have you found the manga you’ll be ready for Halloween this year? Are you ready to be scared, for sleep to evade you, and to take a thrilling ride through a new story? Do you dare to read any of these manga by flashlight or candlelight while you celebrate Halloween or get into the mood of the season? Whatever level of thrill you’re looking for, whatever supernatural element is your vice, we hope you have found at least one great manga to try here!
Did we miss your favourite manga to read at Halloween? Have you read any of these before, or are you going to read one this year? What is your favourite kind of manga to read at Halloween? Drop us a comment below!