Spooky-Not-Scary Books for Halloween

If you’re like me then you can’t handle anything but the smallest amount of horror but still want to be a part of the scary-book mood everyone goes through this time of year. I see dozens of booktubers and bloggers put Stephen King and other horror authors on their October TBRs in the spirit of Halloween and honestly, I get a little jealous. Not to the point where I want pick up It or The Haunting of Hill House and join them in reading those books, but I want to join in on the festive reading without feeling paranoid for months after.

This is why I have decided to put together a list of books that fit the Halloween spirit but aren’t necessarily terrifying. I won’t lie, some of these books did scare me a bit, but more in a “omfg what’s going to happen next” kind of way than a “I might die from reading this” kind of way. Some of these books fit the spooky atmosphere of the month while others better fit the supernatural aspect. Either way they’re bomb and I love them.

Gilda Joyce: The Dead Drop – Jennifer Allison

GJ the dead drop

This series is about a girl who believes she has the ability to see and talk to ghosts, and uses that ability to be a psychic investigator. This is the fourth book in the series, but each book is a separate story so reading the previous books aren’t necessary (though I highly recommend them!). In this book she goes to DC and works at a Spy Museum, while there she discovers a decades long mystery that she uses her psychic abilities to solve. This is a middle grade book, but don’t let that deter you from reading it!

Gilda Joyce: The Bones of the Holy – Jennifer Allison

GJ bones of the holy

This is the most recent installment of the Gilda Joyce series and, in my opinion, the spookiest of all the books in this series. It takes place in New Orleans, which is known for a rich history involving ghosts and hauntings, and involves a family mystery, a possible possession, and, of course, Gilda using her psychic abilities to figure out what exactly is happening.

Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones

howl's moving castle

Although not spooky in the slightest, I put Howl’s Moving Castle on this list because of its content. The characters in the book include a girl cursed to be an old woman, a vain wizard, an evil witch, and a “powerful fire demon” as Calcifer likes to call himself. If you want to start getting yourself in the Halloween mood I highly recommend this book. Though, really, I recommend this book for any time of the year because it’s amazing.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

the night circus

The Night Circus is one of the most atmospheric books I have ever read. The descriptions of the food, the rooms of the tent, and basically everything else involved in creating the setting transport you straight into the world of the book. It creates a cozy and magical ambiance that completely encompasses you throughout your journey in the book. #fallvibes

The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafron

the shadow of the wind

This is another book that really encapsulates the spooky yet cozy fall atmosphere that everyone, including me, loves this time of year. The Shadow of the Wind is set in 1940s Barcelona and follows this man who discovered a book when he was younger that had a huge influence on him growing up. As an adult he realizes that someone is trying to destroy all the books written by that author, pulling him into a complex mystery spanning several decades. While I was reading this book, I felt that there were slightly paranormal elements of the mystery that added a lot to the spookiness of the story.

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness


This book definitely falls into the Halloween vibes through the paranormal/magical elements of the book rather than the atmosphere of the book. It involves witches, vampires, and a lot of other fantasy creatures. It also takes place at Oxford during the school year for part of the book, so it has slight #fallvibes I guess. I wrote a spoiler-y review of the book here if you want to check it out and don’t mind some of the plot being spoiled for you. If you like books about witches, especially this time of year, I would definitely check this book out!

The Paper Magician – Charlie N. Holmberg

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Here’s another book involving witches and magic! Can you tell I’m really into this type of book? I feel like it’s not that noticeable but idk. Anyway, this book is about a girl who starts an apprenticeship as a paper magician, a type of magician she is kind of forced into being, and accidentally finds herself part of a fight against dark magicians despite being very new to magic. Certain elements of this book really surprised me and while being whimsical, it’s a lot darker than you would think.

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

name of the wind

Yet another fantasy book about magic!! God I love this book. The story is too complex for me to describe quickly but in a very general and vague gist of the book, it follows Kvothe throughout his life and his road to becoming a well-known and very talented wizard. He faces many hardships and is one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever read. The story involves evil beings, a magic school, music, and so much more it’s insane. If you haven’t picked up this book yet, WHY NOT??? It’s a long read and a bit daunting to start but 100% worth it.

The Witches – Roald Dahl

the witches

I feel like this book is somewhat necessary when creating lists like this. I read this book when I was still in elementary school and it TERRIFIED me, but in the best way possible. If that is a thing. If you somehow managed to grow up and not read this book I’m honestly a bit impressed. But you should read it. Roald Dahl is an amazing author that does a fantastic job of pulling you into his stories. While this book probably won’t scare you now as much as it did me when I was 7, it’s still a great read. Especially this time of year.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women – Laurie R. King

a monsterous regiment of women

Do you like mystery books? Sherlock Holmes? Reading about cult activity and murders? Well this is the book for you! It’s the second book in the Mary Russell series, which follows a girl who becomes the apprentice of retired Sherlock Holmes. I do recommend reading the first book before this one because I believe this one contains some spoilers for the first book, but it’s not absolutely necessary. The writing is very descriptive and does a great job setting the atmosphere of the story. It’s been a while since I’ve read it but I remember being somewhat scared while reading it. The best time to read it is when it’s foggy and drizzling out, which helps set the mood of the mysterious autumn-in-England setting of the book.


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