It’s spooky season! Time to round up another batch of books perfect for Halloween reading.
I don’t think anybody enjoys being really scared, but a story that sends a little shiver up your spine is just perfect for this time of year. That’s what these will do for you. There are thirteen to choose from and if you want more books with a Halloween creep factor, check out last year’s collection of 13 Spooky Stories for Middle Grade Readers or my 2020 post, 15 Spooky Middle-Grade Books for Halloween.
What’s your favorite scary book? Join me on Instagram and let me know. I’m always up for adding another book or five to my TBR pile.
1. Ravenfall by Kalyn Josephson
The author of the Storm Crow books does it again. This new release is set in a magical inn just before Halloween and there’s a supernatural monster on the loose…what more could you ask for in a Halloween read?
Amazon description: Thirteen-year-old Annabella Ballinkay has never been normal, even by her psychic family’s standards. Every generation uses their abilities to help run the Ravenfall Inn, a sprawling, magical B&B at the crossroads of the human world and the Otherworld. But it’s hard to contribute when your only power is foreseeing death.
So when fourteen-year-old Colin Pierce arrives at Ravenfall searching for his missing older brother and the supernatural creature who killed their parents, Anna jumps at the chance to help. But the mysteries tied to Colin go much deeper than either of them expects. . . .
As the two team up to find answers, they unearth Colin’s family’s secret past and discover that Colin has powers beyond his imagination. And now the supernatural creature, one with eerie origins in Celtic mythology, is coming after him. If Anna and Colin can’t stop the creature by Halloween night, the veil to the Otherworld could be ripped open—which would spell destruction for their world as they know it.
2. Field Guide to the Supernatural Universe by Alyson Noel
I always enjoy stories about kids who go on quests to save someone else. That’s pretty much of the definition of a hero, isn’t it? I also wish I could visit Glimmerville, because enchanted pies and mermaids sound like a lot of fun.
Amazon description: When he first started seeing ghosts, Max mistakenly assumed everyone else could see them, too. Now, after years of being blamed for the pranks of mischievous spirits, Max is determined to do whatever it takes to make himself normal. But when he’s sent to spend the summer with his eccentric grandfather, Ramhart, being normal becomes impossible.
Here in Glimmerville, bakeries sell enchanted pies, the lake is infested with mermaids, the town’s beloved ghosts roam free, and Ramhart himself is celebrated as the world’s most famous monster hunter. At first, all Max wants is to survive the summer, but the more time he spends in Glimmerville, the more he starts to wonder if he’s finally found a place where he can truly be himself.
But when a supernatural attack steals Ramhart’s soul, Max—with the help of a few new friends—must go on a quest to find his grandfather’s renowned Field Guide, an enchanted book that contains all the knowledge Ramhart has gathered about defeating unearthly nemeses. And if they don’t find the book fast, Glimmerville will crumble into chaos, and Max will lose the only person who’s ever made him feel at home.
3. Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
An action-packed adventure about a group of “witchlings” who discover the magic of friendship. Harry Potter fans, you’re going to like this one.
Amazon description: Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.
And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!
Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings—and will lose their magic.
Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.
But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…
4. Riley’s Ghost by John David Anderson
What’s worse than getting locked in somewhere all alone? Realizing that you’re not alone. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Only Riley isn’t sleeping…
Amazon description: Riley Flynn is alone. It feels like she’s been on her own since sixth grade, when her best friend, Emily, ditched her for the cool girls. Girls who don’t like Riley. Girls who decide one day to lock her in the science closet after hours, after everyone else has gone home.
When Riley is finally able to escape, however, she finds that her horror story is only just beginning. All the school doors are locked, the windows won’t budge, the phones are dead, and the lights aren’t working. Through halls lit only by the narrow beam of her flashlight, Riley roams the building, seeking a way out, an answer, an explanation. And as she does, she starts to suspect she isn’t alone after all.
While she’s always liked a good scary story, Riley knows there is no such thing as ghosts. But what else could explain the things happening in the school, the haunting force that seems to lurk in every shadow, around every corner? As she tries to find answers, she starts reliving moments that brought her to this night. Moments from her own life…and a life that is not her own.
5. The Witch, the Sword, and the Cursed Knights by Alexandria Rogers
If you love The School for Good and Evil (are you as excited about the Netflix version of that as I am?) then you’ll enjoy this fun magical adventure, too.
Amazon description: Twelve-year-old Ellie can’t help that she’s a witch, the most hated member of society. Determined to prove her worth and eschew her heritage, Ellie applies to the Fairy Godmother Academy—her golden ticket to societal acceptance. But Ellie’s dreams are squashed when she receives the dreaded draft letter to serve as a knight of King Arthur’s legendary Round Table. She can get out of the draft—but only if she saves a lost cause.
Enter Caedmon, a boy from Wisconsin struggling with the death of his best friend. He first dismisses the draft as ridiculous; magic can’t possibly exist. But when Merlin’s ancient magic foretells his family’s death if he doesn’t follow through, he travels to the knights’ castle, where he learns of a wicked curse leeching the knights of their power.
To break the curse, Ellie and Caedmon must pass a series of deathly trials and reforge the lost, shattered sword of Excalibur. And unless Ellie accepts her witch magic and Caedmon rises to become the knight he’s meant to be, they will both fail—and the world will fall to the same darkness that brought King Arthur and Camelot to ruin.
6. The Haunting of Elmwood Manor: A Pekin Dewlap Mystery by Pamela McCord
“Who ya gonna call?” Pekin wants to be the ghostbuster on everybody’s speed dial, but her new career may not be as easy as she hoped it would be. This is a good one for readers who like a little romance with their mystery and if you enjoy this book, you’re in luck: there are two more in the series.
Amazon description: Pekin Dewlap hasn’t seen a ghost since she was twelve. But she’d do anything to get them back. Starting a ghostbusting business with her two best friends, Amber and Scout, seems like the perfect way to accomplish her goal. Of course, playing with ghosts isn’t high on their wish list, so Pekin has to do some arm-twisting to get them on board.
Once committed, Pekin and her friends find themselves in deep, trying to solve the disappearance of fourteen-year-old Miranda Talbert. Miranda went missing in 1918, and her spirit has wandered the halls of Elmwood Manor for the last hundred years.
In the midst of finding Miranda, discovering her budding feelings for Scout, and consoling a terrified Amber, Pekin is met by an angry ghost set on thwarting her plans. Will the Ghosties be able to help Miranda, or will Pekin’s business die before she solves the mystery?
7. Archibald Finch and the Lost Witches by Michel Guyon
There’s so much to love about this book. It weaves two stories together, one with Archibald stuck in a fantastical world and one with his sister trying to find him in modern-day England. Bonus: there are dragons! Plus, can we talk about the gorgeous illustrations? And the plot twist near the end? I suppose we shouldn’t talk about that last one. You’ll have to read it and see for yourself.
Amazon description: Archibald is a risk-averse boy with quirks that earn him plenty of eye-rolls, especially from his older sister, Hailee. Things get worse when his parents move the family from London to his grandmother’s creepy manor in the English countryside. Now he has to deal with hairless dolls in the library, weird stone creatures on the roof, and a spooky forest at the edge of the backyard. But these turn out to be the least of Archibald’s problems . . .
One day, as he’s exploring the cavernous house, he finds a curious globe that whisks him away to a secret world, hidden for 500 years. Archibald finds himself on a thrilling adventure full of medieval magic, mysterious symbols, and the strangest beasts, while Hailee—who witnessed her brother’s disappearance—embarks on a daring quest to find him.
8. The Clackity by Lora Senf
Not only does Evie have to face all sorts of scary creatures to rescue her aunt from a creature called The Clackity, she has to battle her anxiety and panic attacks. It’s a deliciously creepy (but not too scary) story that will have you cheering for Evie every step of the way.
Amazon description: Evie Von Rathe lives in Blight Harbor—the seventh-most haunted town in America—with her Aunt Desdemona, the local paranormal expert. Des doesn’t have many rules except one: Stay out of the abandoned slaughterhouse at the edge of town. But when her aunt disappears into the building, Evie goes searching for her.
There she meets The Clackity, a creature who lives in the shadows and seams of the slaughterhouse. The Clackity makes a deal with Evie to help get Des back in exchange for the ghost of John Jeffrey Pope, a serial killer who stalked Blight Harbor a hundred years earlier. Evie must embark on a journey into a strange otherworld filled with hungry witches, penny-eyed ghosts, and a memory-thief, all while being pursued by a dead man whose only goal is to add Evie to his collection of lost souls.
9. The Gingerbread Witch by Alexandra Overy
Isn’t it fun when someone takes a well-known story and turns it upside down? This will give you a whole new perspective on Hansel and Gretel, and might make you a little hungry at the same time. It is almost gingerbread season, isn’t it?
Amazon description: Maud has grown up in a house made of gingerbread, wanting nothing more than to be a witch like Mother Agatha. But just like all of Agatha’s gingerbread creations—from the magical house to the chocolate mousse squirrel—Maud will turn back into crumbs if anything ever happens to Agatha.
This seems unthinkable…until Hansel and Gretel, a pair of witch hunters, push Agatha into the cottage’s oven.
To save herself and the other creations, Maud will have to go into the dangerous forest of the Shadelands to find the First Witch’s spellbook. But with witch hunters on her trail and others interested in the book for their own means, can Maud bring back the only mother she’s ever known…or will witch hunters capture her before she can save her gingerbread family?
10. Dust & Grim by Chuck Wendig
Here’s a perfect Halloween read: a story about a mortuary for monsters run by a cosplaying thirteen-year-old kid and her brother. The characters are surprisingly relatable for people in that kind of business and watching their relationship grow is half the fun. The other half is the snarky, creepy, zany story.
Amazon description: Thirteen-year-old Molly doesn’t know how she got the short end of the stick—being raised by her neglectful father—while Dustin, the older brother she’s never met, got their mother and the keys to the family estate. But now the siblings are both orphaned, she’s come home for her inheritance, and if Dustin won’t welcome her into the family business, then she’ll happily take her half in cash.
There’s just one problem: the family business is a mortuary for monsters, and Molly’s not sure she’s ready to deal with mysterious doors, talking wolves, a rogue devourer of magic, and a secret cemetery. It’s going to take all of Dustin’s stuffy supernatural knowledge and Molly’s most heroic cosplay (plus a little help from non-human friends) for the siblings to figure it out and save the day…if only they can get along for five minutes.
11. The Island Scaregrounds: A Middle Grade Ghost Story by Eldritch Black
Do you love a spooky carnival? Honestly, most carnivals are a little spooky at the best of times, but this one has a little extra creepy thrown in. I enjoyed the way Dylan and his friends work together to stop the bad guys and save their island.
Amazon description: A spooky carnival. A Haunted House that isn’t what it seems. A dangerous truth waiting to be uncovered…Something terrible is haunting Dylan Wylde; an ominous figure in the woods that could ruin his life forever.
Just when he thinks things can’t get worse, a strange carnival comes to town, and something dark lurks behind its bright twinkling lights. Something sinister. Something that has the ghosts of Weirdbey Island seriously spooked.
Phantoms run rampant as a dastardly plot unfolds, one that will push Dylan and his friends to their limits. Can they face their deepest fears and strike back before the wicked forces plunge the island into eternal darkness?
12. The Memory Thief (Thirteen Witches Book 1) by Jodi Lynn Anderson
I can’t imagine how awful it would be to be Rosie and “know” that your mom didn’t love you. No wonder Rosie is determined to do whatever it takes to break the curse.
Amazon description: Twelve-year-old Rosie Oaks’s mom is missing whatever it is that makes mothers love their daughters. All her life, Rosie has known this…and turned to stories for comfort. Then, on the night Rosie decides to throw her stories away forever, an invisible ally helps her discover the Witch Hunter’s Guide to the Universe, a book that claims that all of the evil in the world stems from thirteen witches who are unseen…but also unstoppable. One of these witches—the Memory Thief—holds an insidious power to steal our most precious treasures: our memories. And it is this witch who has cursed Rosie’s mother.
In her quest to save her mom—and with her wild, loyal friend “Germ” by her side—Rosie will find the layers hidden under the reality she only thought she knew: where ghosts linger as shades of the past, where clouds witness the world, and a ladder dangles from the moon leading to something bigger and more. Here, words are weapons against the darkness, and witch hunters are those brave enough to wield their imaginations in the face of the unthinkable. The knowledge of her beloved stories is an arsenal in this world, but to unlock their power, Rosie must dare to have hope and believe in herself in the face of daunting odds.
13. Double, Double, Twins and Trouble by Luna Graves
As I’ve said before, I like stories with twins. I even put a set of twins front and center in my books: Welcome to Superhero School and the prequel, Journey to Superhero School. Like my Oliver and Jessica, Bella and Donna have to go to a “special” school and try to learn something while also just trying to stay alive.
Amazon description: There are monsters among us…and they’re just trying to survive middle school! In Peculiar, Pennsylvania, the supernatural kids attend Y.I.K.E.S.S.S. (Yvette I. Koffin’s Exceptional School for Supernatural Students), run by Yvette herself. From goblins to ghosts to werewolves and witches, the students learn the ins and outs of doling out the scares and blending in with the humans they live among.
Mostly, the system works, but there’s occasionally a young monster who shakes things up—a pubescent werewolf who displays some suspicious body hair on the community basketball court or a scatterbrained ghost who goes through a door instead of opening it. But Peculiar has never seen a potential PR disaster quite like the Maleficent twins!
While Bella and Donna’s magic is powerful, they don’t quite have a handle on their (witch)craft yet. Can they get through the sixth grade without turning the mailman into a toad, burning down the town with hellfire, or turning all the liquid on earth into Cherry Lemonade Jell-O?
Hope you enjoy these spooky books for Halloween! Happy reading!