Not-So-Scary Books for Your Halloween TBR

Halloween is nearly upon us, and between here and my bookstagram, I’ve been recommending spooky books left and right. Part 3 of my Spooky Book Recommendations is coming up this weekend, but for the time being, I wanted to focus on a slightly different category.

You see, I love everything spooky and scary. Ghosts, vampires, haunted houses, Ouija boards, whatever—sign me up. But periodically, it is brought to my attention by a friend or acquaintance that not everyone enjoys scaring the crap out of themselves for fun. I mean, I don’t know why, but okay. Fair enough.

But just because you don’t like being scared stiff doesn’t mean you don’t want to get your Halloween vibes on! I mean, Halloween is awesome, and not just for the scary stuff. So if you’re looking for some books that will make you feel excited for Halloween and get that jack-o-lantern juice pumping through your veins but that won’t have you looking over your shoulder for ghosts or monsters or just super weird things creeping around the corners, here are a few recommendations!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

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Or literally any of the Harry Potter books, really. Witches, wizards, magic, spells, creatures, pumpkin everything…there’s no shortage of amazing autumn/Halloween vibes in the Harry Potter books! But Sorcerer’s Stone, with the introduction to everything Wizarding World, our first taste of pumpkin juice, and an epic Halloween bathroom troll battle (I mean, isn’t that what everyone does on Halloween…?) strikes me as especially All Hallow’s Eve-ish, and is the perfect book to get you in the mood for the holiday! And while the later books in the series definitely have some darker and scarier moments, there’s nothing too terrifying in the first book of the series, so you won’t have to sleep with the lights on or watch out of the corner of your eye for dementors. *shivers* Plus, if you read Sorcerer’s Stone for Halloween, you can spend the rest of the late Fall season completing the series.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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To be fair, I already included The Graveyard Book in my second entry into my list of Spooky Book Recommendations for this year, and that’s because it has major spooky vibes. I mean, the main character lives in a graveyard and is raised by ghosts. It doesn’t get much more spooky than that. But it is more of a middle grade book than an adult or even a young adult book, which means it’s not extremely scary! I think anyone who is a self-proclaimed chicken or who covers their eyes even when watching Nightmare Before Christmas would be able to read this and not be too scared…while still getting super-spoopy-hyped for Halloween! Plus, it’s Neil Gaiman, who is amazing. So there’s really no downside here.

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

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The Hearts We Sold is a YA fantasy novel with some really careful and realistic world building that I adore. If you want to read an entire love-fest of me just falling apart over how much I loooove this book, click here to read my full spoiler free review of this novel. But if you’re looking for something to add to your Halloween/leading up to Halloween TBR that has a touch of the paranormal/supernatural but won’t scare your pants straight off, this would be a really good pick. For one thing, it’s truly an amazing and enjoyable read. Seriously just so, so good.

The Hearts We Sold tells the tale of Dee, who sells her heart to a demon in exchange for tuition money (I did the same thing, ironically, except my demon was far less beautiful the Heartmonger featured here and was named FedLoan. Ba dum tsss…no? Okay). But while this fantasy novel features demons, other realms, and even a monster or two, the focus is largely on the personal struggles and relationships. It’s less about literal monsters and more about love, trust, happiness, sadness, and growing up. The demons are are not ugly gross beings, and in fact look like very pretty humans, and the only monsters we encounter are certainly not anything that would keep you up at night. Overall, this is a great book to give you some slightly spoopy Halloween vibes without blatantly scaring you. It’s pretty much perfect for a late October TBR.

The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

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I cannot even tell you how much I love Katie Crouch’s adult novels Girls in Trucks, Men and Dogs, and especially Abroad, but The Magnolia League is her foray into the world of young adult magical realism. I don’t adore The Magnolia League in exactly the same way I love Crouch’s adult novels, but I think it’s a good book for a Halloween TBR if you want some supernatural vibes without being totally terrified. The Magnolia League follows Alex, who moves in with her grandmother in Savannah, Georgia (already a city with a pretty spooky reputation, honestly), and discovers that the debutante society her grandmother is so adamant about her being a part of is about more than just white gloves and social standings. As she delves further in, she finds that illustrious Magnolia League is deeply involved with magic, hoodoo, and the supernatural. As a result, it’s a great book to get some spooky/magical action in your TBR without being scared, as there’s really nothing outright scary about this novel.

I hope you found an idea for something to read if you’re not looking to get too scared this Halloween! What about everyone else? What book would you recommend for a Halloween TBR for those who don’t like getting scared for fun? Let me know in the comments! You know I’d love to talk. <3

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