6 Not-So-Scary Novels Taking Place On Halloween

August 25, 2020

As some of you may know, I love reading. But the quest to find good novels set in the fall or on Halloween is something I struggle with every year. It's easy enough to find Christmas novels: they usually feature a beautiful snowy landscape on the cover, have a title with the words "Christmas" or "Holidays" in it, and are heavily marketed as seasonal reads. But what about Halloween novels that aren't horror? Now that's a little trickier.


So I spent some time hunting for them, asking friends for recommendations and lurking in forums, and finally came up with six novels that fit my specific criteria: they might be spooky, but not scary, they are full of fall goodness, and most of all, they feature Halloween in the story.


So get your chai tea, your warm blanket, and get ready to cuddle up on the couch with a good novel that is sure to put you in the Halloween mood!


P.S. For those of you who wonder if I'm still writing my fall romance novel, the answer is a resounding YES! I've been through three full drafts of it, but this latest one is the right one. I just need to edit it, then start querying agents and get the ball rolling. I'll keep you guys posted on the progress!



Title: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Synopsis: Every October Cara and her family become inexplicably and unavoidably accident-prone. Some years it's bad, and some years it's just a lot of cuts and scrapes. But this accident season, it's going to be a bad one. Cara, 17, is about to learn that not all the scars left by the accident season are physical: There's a long-hidden family secret underneath the bumps and bruises. More details >

Why this book: I've read this one and loved it. Very mysterious, lyrical, with elements of magic realism. The novel builds up towards a big Halloween bash in an abandoned house, and you won't want to miss it.

Title: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Ollie discovers a chilling ghost story about a girl named Beth and a deal made with "the smiling man." The next day, during a school trip to a local farm, Ollie stumbles upon the graves of the very people she's been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie gets her answer quickly. When the bus breaks down on the way back home, her previously broken digital wristwatch begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. Buy on Amazon >

Why this book: I'm currently reading this one and so far, it's perfect! It IS a middle-grade book, but it's written beautifully, and the author isn't dumbing down anything at all. The writing is actually better than most grown-up novels I've read. It takes place in October, close to Halloween, and is the definition of "spooky and eerie but not scary."

Title: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
Synopsis: It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store. When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. Buy on Amazon >

Why this book: I've mentioned this one before but I will mention it again and again because to me, it is the quintessential lighthearted autumn book. I haven't found another yet that surpasses it in terms of amazing descriptions of fall, beautiful storytelling and loveable characters. It also features a Halloween party, but so, so much more. If you haven't read it yet, pick this one up for sure!

Title: Squashed by Joan Bauer
Synopsis: Humor, agriculture and young love all come together in Joan Bauer's first novel, set in rural Iowa. Sixteen-year-old Ellie Morgan's life would be almost perfect if she could just get her potentially prize-winning pumpkin to put on about 200 more pounds—and if she could take off 20 herself...in hopes of attracting Wes, the new boy in town. Buy on Amazon >

Why this book: I haven't read this one yet, so I'm not sure if it has a Halloween party featured in it, but there is a pumpkin festival, which is the next best thing. I've been told it's a beautiful, funny and well-written young adult novel.

Title: The Fall of Candy Corn by Debbie Viguié
Synopsis: Candace never thought she’d sign up for another season at the amusement park, but the allure of working with her boyfriend, Kurt, and her new friends has made the job easier to bear. Though once she finds out her new job is working as Candy in the newest Halloween maze, things don’t look quite as promising. Her friend Josh makes things slightly easier to bear, but soon, dangerous things start happening inside the maze, and Candace wonders if maybe her urban myth is becoming a reality. Buy on Amazon >

Why this book: Even though the summary seems to imply some kind of horror/thriller novel, apparently this is a fun, sweet, spunky YA romance with a light mystery. I'm definitely adding it to my list! Be warned that this is the second book in the series, the first taking place in the summer, but could be read as a standalone.
Title: The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, Allyson Charles
Synopsis: Every autumn, Moonbright, Maine, is the picture of charm with its piles of crisp leaves, flickering jack-o’-lanterns, and a touch of the sweetest kind of enchantment. Between good-natured Halloween tricks, frothy pumpkin lattes, and some very special baked goods, for three Moonbright residents looking for love—whether they know it or not—the spookiest thing will be how magical romance can suddenly be. Buy on Amazon >

Why this book: Not gonna lie, I overlooked this one at first because I thought it was another smut novel (it's just not my thing), but the lovely Lauralee at Autumnfirstbabe recommended it, so I took a closer look. It's apparently a trio of sweet romance short stories based around the same baking shop at Halloween, which is definitely right up my alley! I'm picking this one up next.

Hocus Pocus Movie Night

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