I’ve never been one to take Halloween too seriously. When I was 16, I dressed up as a monk for my church’s fall festival and told everyone “Happy Reformation Day!”
However, one of my very best friends is the Queen of Halloween. She’s a bona fide, pinterest-recipe maker, decorative Fall-banner-sewing, Halloween movie connoisseur.
She was my roommate my last year of college. When you’d enter our apartment on October 1, you’d enter a world of lighted owl figurines, glittery orange pumpkins, scary cobwebs in the ceiling, and a delicious fall scented candle burning.
Under her watch, I baked sugar cookies to look like pieces of candy corn, dressed up like Charlie Brown for the annual Famous Maroon Band Halloween Rehearsal, and indulged in candy corn frappes from StrangeBrew Coffee House while watching Hocus Pocus for the 10,000th time. (Let’s be honest, can you watch that movie too many times? I don’t think it’s possible.)
She even convinced me to watch Halloween with her in the dark one time.
Although I will never be up to her Halloween standard (though I did make a fall centerpiece for my dining room table this year), fall is, and has always been, my favorite time of year.
I love the cooler weather, leaves changing colors, and getting to wear a sweater. I love sweaters. Cardigans. Hoodies. Sweatshirts. Yes.
I love crock pots of chili cooking all day, baking scones, watching football, and feeling cozy under a blanket.
And I may be the only white American 20-something female who doesn’t like Pumpkin Spice Lattes (I like pumpkin and I like coffee, but the two flavors are way too strong together), but I always enjoy drinking coffee more when it’s cold outside.
My birthday is always around Thanksgiving, so usually my birthday cake consists of an entire Thanksgiving feast.
And all you fall-haters out there, did you forget you get an extra hour of sleep soon? Come on, people.
So what could you add to Fall to make it even better?
Here’s a list of 13 books for you to read during the Halloween/Thanksgiving season.
13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
If you haven’t read Harry Potter yet (watching the movies don’t count), Fall is the perfect time to start. You’ll be finishing the series around Christmastime, which is already the most magical time of year. You can buy the paperbacks at a really inexpensive price, or dust off your library card and get to work. You won’t regret it; the hype is real.
12. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know I’m shamelessly addicted to Gillian Flynn’s novels. Be warned: Dark Places is scary. And disturbing. And CRAZY GOOD. Dark Places lives up to its title, and it’s an excellent story to get sucked in during Halloween.
11. Night Film by Marisha Pessl
I wrote a review on this book in an earlier post. It’s about a horror-film maker and the mystery surrounding his family and his daughter’s death, and you’ll be up all night trying to finish it.
10. Carrie by Stephen King
If you’re excited to see the new remake of Carrie, I encourage you to read the book first. I read Carrie for the first time when I was in high school, and later fell captive to Stephen King’s books. Read the book and be creeped out before the movie.
9. Nancy Drew and The Password to Larkspur Lane by Carolyn Keene
Reading Nancy Drew as a child was a life-changing event for me. Why? Because Nancy Drew made me love books. These books were the first “real” books I ever read. I felt like I achieved a huge accomplishment when I finished them, and for a first/second grader, it was a huge accomplishment. Nancy Drew laid the foundation for my love of a good mystery. The Password to Larkspur Lane is my favorite, if I absolutely had to just pick one favorite. You can read it in a day.
8. Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
This is about a hidden pregnancy and murder among an Amish farm community. It’s like reading a novel-length episode of “Law and Order: SVU.”
7. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
I read this book in high school so I would understand all the brouhaha surrounding this book and Christianity. The book is fiction, as indicated on the cover. The conspiracy theories in the book are just that–conspiracy theories. As a Christian, I read this book and was not offended or upset…in fact, I loved it, and I’ve probably read it twice since. It’s a murder-mystery treasure hunt intertwined with history, religion, conspiracy theories, and a tiny shred of romance.
6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Again, this would be a great book series to start during the fall (and in time for the spring movie). The third installment comes out next week, so get busy!
5. The Green Mile by Stephen King
This book is probably my favorite Stephen King novel. It’s one of the few books out there that made a movie adaptation equally as good. Even if you have seen the movie, I encourage you to experience this story the way it was intended.
4. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
My husband got me to read this book a few weeks ago, and I could kick myself for waiting this long to read it. If I were a teacher, this book would be required summer reading. It’s packed with literary elements and social commentary.
3. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
This is my favorite of Flynn’s novels, and probably in my top 5 favorite books of all time. This is a story about a journalist recovering from her addiction to cutting herself, investigating murders in her hometown, and facing her troubled past. I stayed up until four in the morning trying to process this book after I finished it.
2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This book is brilliant. It’s fun, light-hearted, witty, and adventurous. I can’t say too much about it because I’m waiting on my husband to read it and I don’t want to spoil anything. I will say this: it’s like National Treasure meets The Social Network. Only better.
1. Goosebumps: The Haunted Mask by R. L. Stine
Does anyone else remember how CRAZY MESSED UP this story was? Especially for an 11-year-old! I remember vividly picking up this book at the library and finishing it so fast it made my head spin. This, like Nancy Drew, was foundational for me: it scared me, and I liked it. I like reading books that made my heart pound. So this fall, pick up a Goosebumps book for old time’s sake and re-live your fourth grade nightmares.
Happy reading, and Happy Fall, y’all.