Today is one of my favorite days of the year. I don’t have much opportunity to celebrate it this year — but have gotten much more peaceful as a whole about being able to defer it to next year when I won’t have exams. (I know I’ll get a solid Halloween again soon, whether just nestled within the natural flows of a working schedule, or at a later point when I have kids and am responsible for creating that magic myself.) College’s Halloween has a different focus, and ya girl has a chem test to study for instead.
I may simply play “Monster Mash” between classes on my headphones, or wear my “Witch Better Have My Money” socks, or play a cheesy spooky movie or audiobook in the background while I finish my laundry. Adulthood!
I’ve considered building time into my day to snag time for one last Halloween-ish read, but that would be irresponsible with my test coming up.
So instead I’m sharing a few choices with y’all, in case any of y’all end up having a free afternoon and want a quick way to get into the spirit of the season.
(I’m also fully planning on reading many of these in November, because for me, spooky season goes until about Thanksgiving anyways. There’s still the scent of wet autumn leaves, grays and oranges and storms everywhere. You still crave drinking spiced cider and baking pumpkin bread and walking outside to goosebumps.)
If you have time to read a quick Halloween pick this year, do it! Let me live vicariously. I’ve always loved having one of these to read on audio while driving around.
Maggie Stiefvater writes seasonal imagery like no other, and her background as a history major means Ballad is imbued with folky notes.
An irreverent, occasionally shallow, fun, and likable paranormal mystery full of all our favorite high school tropes. So giddy.
Some classic Edgar Allan Poe gothicism, woven through with painful yearning, based on “Annabel Lee.”
A poetic magical realism author who can do any autumnal plot justice — see her others as well! — with a new release about sexual violence.
One of my favorite favorite books — the cover is worn through. It’s underlined incessantly. I could go on about this one for forever.
This has been waitlisted for forever at the library, but I love the tension between science and mysticism at an accessible scale.
An intense + thrilling fallen angel narrative that’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read.
A tight psychological spiral, with a stunning emphasis on place and escape.
A whimsical mystery whose strength erupts from the flowery writing. The overall atmosphere makes it a good Halloween read to sink into.
Children of the Corn-esque. Backwards cult. Cornfield imagery. A complete, startling lack of trust that elevates all of the novel’s events.
A mixture of tender childhood nostalgia — which lends it a storybook style — and notes of fear and urgency that make the conflict radiant.
A dark fantasy with characters who are morally twisted. The imagery pulls no punches.
A charismatic family, complicated spells, and an outsider who just wants to be let inside.
Becca Fitzpatrick returns with a snowy thriller with dislikable characters. Snowy cabin in the woods, little chance for escape.
A weird book with a TOUGH protagonist that narrows in on Irish folklore (with a dystopian twist), structured in an immensely high stakes way. Think The Maze Runner meets dark fantasy.
Each of these books are also ones that start up quickly, that have all-consuming moods, so I’d fully endorse being able to pick them up and read a chapter just to get the Halloween spirit going. They’re ones that aren’t strictly for the night, but could extend easily into November and still just as relished for their creepiness. Some are short enough that you could knock them out in an afternoon, while others are longer but more timeless.