It’s Grace here to talk about my FAVORITE time to read. To be fair, I start reading/prepping for Halloween in July just because I’m so psyched. And when I’m on Black Island, surrounded by all the creaky wood and old photos, it seems like the perfect time to start reading horror books.
I love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday, probably because I love paranormal and odd books. I love the shivery-ness of it, and the childlike excitement. The candy and the dimming lights and oooh.
Plus, autumn is such a lovely time of year. While I hate the dead of winter, autumn is when I’m actually experiencing the fresh joy of putting on a chunky sweater for the first time in a while. Watching the leaves change, running around the streets of Lexington. Last year, one of my friends and I went to the drive-in theater on a night when they were trick-or-treating — and passed out Milky Ways to the kids going from car to car. Adorable.
Although some people might not love Halloween as much as I do, I figured I’d put together a reading vibe with a book to capture each side of the holiday.
I’ve done a ton of variations on this post, and lots of them mention the titles without going into depth. So here you go.
When I was a kid and used to go trick-or-treating, my sister and I would come home at the end of the night and dump out all our candy to sort by type. It was methodical and organized — and we were usually covered in glitter, with a cheesy Halloween movie playing in the background. I’d be lying if I said I weren’t still weak for Halloweentown.
These are books to capture the fun bits of Halloween. The putting up fake cobwebs and shopping for Halloween and everything orange and black. School parties! Scouring for costumes. All the gimmicky, louder-than-life stuff.
For this feeling, I picked several fun, indulgent reads that sparkle despite having a little bit of that paranormal edge.
Novel: Dead Is the New Black by Marlene Perez | Goodreads
Release Date: September 1, 2008
Publisher: HMH Teen
Welcome to Nightshade, California—a small town full of secrets. It’s home to the pyschic Giordano sisters, who have a way of getting mixed up in mysteries. During their investigations, they run across everything from pom-pom-shaking vampires to shape-shifting boyfriends to a clue-spewing jukebox. With their psychic powers and some sisterly support, they can crack any case!
Teenage girls are being mysteriously attacked all over town, including at Nightshade High School, where Daisy Giordano is a junior. When Daisy discovers that a vampire may be the culprit, she can’t help but suspect head cheerleader Samantha Devereaux, who returned from summer break with a new “look.” Samantha appears a little . . . well, dead, and all the most popular kids at school are copying her style.
Is looking dead just another fashion trend for Samantha, or is there something more sinister going on? To find out, Daisy joins the cheerleading squad.
One of the best parts of Halloween is also it feeling like fall for the first time, really. Last year, I went to Providence and spent the weekend with one of my best friends. The sun set early and red, we ate pumpkin pancakes, and we wore a lot of brown. I also love the coziness of being in Lexington and the air smelling spicy — spending a night with a blanket and a good book. But then again, I drink apple cider tea year round.
Or, although I love where I ended up, I miss doing college visits so much. I loved layering up for autumn (being Floridian) and getting pumpkin spice lattes from funky little shops in cities I tried to picture myself in.
So here are some books if you want a more crisp vibe. Think a little bit of schoolhouse thrown in there. Those days when I’m grateful to live in a small town and have a cozy, condensed life.
(This year, I’m making it one of my goals to be more in the moment — to relish the holidays while I have them. Fully planning on baking pumpkin bread while I watch a creepy movie marathon.)
Novel: Conversion by Katherine Howe| Goodreads
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane comes a chilling mystery—Prep meets The Crucible.
It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.
First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.
Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .
Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Timesbestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?
And then, finally, there’s the final vibe: the dark, Gothic spine of Halloween. If you’re in it for the thrill, these are for you. Haunting feels. The actual part of Halloween as a holiday.
For these books, I picked some chilling horror or thriller books that hit the spot for those who aren’t satisfied with dancing around the subject. If you want something to scare you, or unsettle you with a spot-on eerie atmosphere, this is for you.
Novel: The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé | Goodreads
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Something is wrong with Marianne.
It’s not just that her parents have split up, or that life hasn’t been the same since she quit dancing. Or even that her mother has checked herself into the hospital.
She’s losing time. Doing things she would never do. And objects around her seem to break whenever she comes close.
Something is after her. But a first attempt at an exorcism calls down the full force of the thing’s rage. It demands Marianne give back what she stole. And Marianne must uncover the truth that lies beneath it all before the nightmare can take what it think it’s owed, leaving Marianne trapped in the darkness of the other side.