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As October 31st quickly approaches, you are likely to be bombarded with costume ideas, TikTok trends, and an urge to watch the same Halloween movies you do every year (I’m looking at you Halloweentown). Now, don’t get me wrong, I love all these aspects of Halloween. I have my pumpkins out before the start of October and look forward to planning costumes with my roommates.

Yet, there is one key, often overlooked, element that puts you in the perfect Halloween spirit: reading a spook-tacular book. I’ve compiled a list of books that I have read, or are on my TBR (to be read) list, that you can start reading now to get into the spooky spirit.

First up is Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone series. With an intriguing title like that, how could you resist? Shadow and Bone follows the story of Alina Starkov, a young girl who realizes she is in fact quite extraordinary. Spoiler: she has the power to summon the sun. Using her power, she sets out to destroy a terrible darkness, The Fold, that has befallen her country. Of course, there is also the perfect amount of romance. But, with amazing character development and incredible worldbuilding skills, Bardugo creates a story that will send shivers up your spine (in a good way). An added bonus about this series? It has also been adapted into a successful Netflix show with immaculate scenes that scream of a dreary Halloween night. This is one series you can’t miss.

In the same vein as Bardugo, Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen also explores what happens when a young girl suddenly discovers she has special powers. In a world divided by blood, Mare Barrow must work to overcome the dangers of her new reality. The book has truly shocking (if you’ve read the book, you’ll appreciate the pun) twists and turns. Also, with a name like Red Queen, how could an epic Halloween costume not come to mind? If you’re looking for a book to connect you with supernatural capabilities this spooky season, look no further than this series.

Now, for the series up next on my TBR list: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. I first decided I needed to read this series because of the deep dive I took into Mahurin’s Instagram. If you asked me to define a Halloween aesthetic, I would simply point you to her page. After falling in love with her Instagram, I knew I had to take a closer look at her books. What did I find? The main character is a witch. Do I need to make the Halloween connection clearer? If you’re like me, Serpent & Dove will be a top priority to read for the rest of October.

So, as you continue to fulfill the Halloween checklist, don’t forget to add some of these books to your list. Nothing screams Halloween like curling up with a good book and a few candles on a dark and stormy night.

Kate is an undergraduate student at JMU. She is a Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication major with minors in Spanish and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. Kate loves to travel, read, and spend time with friends.
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