When spooky season rolls around we all get the hankering for lovable monsters, heart-centered hauntings, thrills and chills. From witches we wish we could conjure with to family curses we’re desperate to solve, this list has all the quietly creepy reads your TBR needs this season. Different from a horror list (you can find that here), the Halloween reads are more of a cozy, scary vibe that deserves its own category.
A Tall Dark Trouble by Vanessa Montalban
When a book is described as Practical Magic meets Cuban brujas, let’s face it, we’re already in. In this witchy YA novel told on dual timelines, twins Delfi and Lela are cursed, but their mother won’t let them practice magic. When word gets out that a murderer is hunting brujas, they must take matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, in 1980s Cuba, Anita de Armas begs the spirits for mercy as her mother’s cult awaits Anita’s initiation. As the two stories intertwine, magic, murder and mystery abound.
For Girls Who Walk Through Fire by Kim DeRose
For fans of The Craft, this deep, dark book about revenge will hit for this generation of teens. Elliott is in a support group for sexual assault victims, but she wants more than support. She wants payback. When she finds a book of spells and forms a coven with other members of the group, each hex their assailants. Soon though, they will come to learn the cost of magic and have to decide if revenge is worth the cost.
Cage of Dreams by Rebecca Schaeffer
In book two of the City of Nightmares duology, Ness has faced the people who have been turned into Nightmares. She has survived two assassination attempts and a Faustian bargain with a dream demon. Now she is trying to get by in Newham working in a speakeasy where duals and death are regular occurrences. As she tries to survive, she makes another deal, to become a nightmare herself that will make her bulletproof. However, the scariest thing she may have to face is herself.
No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull
Monsters are real. And now they’re coming out in the open. As creatures pour out of the shadows, they set off a chain of unexpected events. Facing both prejudice and acceptance, the world erupts at the discovery and tragedies ranging from suicides to hate crimes run rampant in a world that has suddenly been turned upside down.
The Unmaking of June Farrow by Adrienne Young
June is haunted by her family’s curse and the decades-old disappearance of her mother. Raised by her grandmother, she exists in the shadows of the tragedy until her grandmother also passes leaving behind cryptic clues. As June pursuits the truth, she enters through a door she once perceived as a hallucination with the chance to change the past and the future.
Midnight is the Darkest Hour by Ashley Winstead
The town of Bottom Springs, Louisiana is a God-fearing place and no one knows this better than Ruth, the daughter of the Holy Fire Baptists church’s leader. A curse is believed to lurk in the swamps. A vampiric being who hunts sinners. When a skull is left in he the woods, it’s up to Ruth and her troubled friend Everett to get to the truth.
Starling House by Alix E. Harrow
Chosen as Reese Witherspoon’s October 2023 book club, this book delivers to readers everything they might want in a fall read. A spooky cursed town, a haunted mansion, a literary-based mystery. From the author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January comes a new dark fantasy centering an orphaned girl and her brother condemned to an unremarkable Kentucky town, but met with a mystery that can’t leave behind.
The Unfortunate Side Effects of Heartbreak and Magic by Breanne Randall
Described as Practical Magic meets Gilmore Girls, this cozy, witchy book is the perfect fall story for those who want to curl up with a cup of tea as the fall leaves drop. Sadie is cursed to receive four heartbreaks in exchange for her magic. As her beloved grandmother grows sick and her crush (and first heartbreak) returns to town, she has to weigh the power of love versus her own magic and decide if the exchange is worth it.
The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre
Iris has never had it together. Her sisters all have, but meanwhile she’s in debt up to her eyeballs. When she inherits a house from her aunt with the intention of making it a B&B, that plan also fails and she ends up renting the rooms one by one to strange people and others who aren’t human at all. When Eli, a reserved, but successful designer, spots his former crush Iris, he becomes one of her residents and is sucked into the unusual word of her occupants.