The season of pumpkin spice lattes, horror movie marathons and graveyard strolls with your Grandma is upon us. Some of us, however, want to get into the fall mood without having our polka dot socks scared off. If you’re the person currently hiding under your pillow during spooky season, then these not-so-scary fall reads might just be for you.

Fiction

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Richard is starting his first year as a Classics major at an elite New England college. No, unfortunately, he is not a wizard. Richard quickly finds himself in a clique of five rich Greek scholars and soon learns the deadly secret that keeps them together.

This book will make you want to own a tweed coat with patches on the elbow. It’s very atmospheric and the imagery is so vivid that you can skip a trip to New England and spend that money on your new coat instead.

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Autumn by Ali Smith

It’s literally called Autumn, so I don’t know what more you want from me!

The first novel in Ali Smith’s seasonal series follows the friendship between Daniel, a 101-year-old man, and Elisabeth, a 32-year-old art lecturer.

Ali Smith’s ability to create compelling and complex characters will leave you wanting to read more. And yes, you will even want to read Winter. They say “Winter is coming” after all…

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Depending on how you feel, the end of the world might sound pretty scary. Life isn’t great with everybody and everything being dead and what not, but those who did survive are trying to make the best of it. Even in these troubled times, the words of Shakespeare still manage to live on thanks to a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony.

This book follows the fate of five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend and a young actress.

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Looking for Alaska by John Green

Miles, aka Pudge, is starting his first year at Culver Creek Boarding School. No, unfortunately, he is not a wizard either.

Miles is determined to find “The Great Perhaps,” but instead finds friendship with the interesting girl that lives down the hall, Alaska Young. All is good and well in the land of unrequited love until Alaska goes missing one day.

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Nonfiction

From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty

As far as I’m told, we all die. I have yet to die so I can’t confirm that we all die with 100% certainty, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. As scary as death can be, Caitlin Doughty somehow makes your own looming mortality interesting. She takes us around the world to explore different death rituals. Yes, it turns out that not all cultures embalm their dead and then bury them in a wooden basket that is worth more than your house.

P.S. Read it if you would like to find out what exactly a sky burial is. Spoiler, it is as cool as it sounds.

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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

In the heart of Savannah, Georgia, Danny Hansford, a local male prostitute, is murdered. Respected antiques dealer, Jim Williams endures four murder trials for Hansford’s death but the question remains: was it murder or was it self defense?

If you’re a fan of true crime podcasts like Serial or To Live and Die in L.A., then you will love this book. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that it’s nonfiction because it reads more like fiction, and you will find yourself racing toward the end to find out what happens.

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Artful Halloween: frightfully elegant projects by Susan Wasinger

Need something to do while you’re inside hiding from the evil spirits at your doorstep? Do a craft! Maybe knit a blanket to hide under while the ghouls gather outside of your house.

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Graphic Novels

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks

Every fall, Deja and Josiah reunite when they work at the world’s best pumpkin patch. This year is different, though. They are seniors now and this is their last year at the pumpkin patch. They are determined to end things with a bang (and food, lots of food).

This lighthearted graphic novel will make you want to drink pumpkin spice lattes. It might even make you want to become a pumpkin spice latte.

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Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth

This story starts the same way that all good stories do: with an evil ex-boyfriend (actually let’s face it, all exes are evil) and a trio of witches. When Claire’ ex breaks into their home trying to steal a spell that could awaken dangerous magical powers, the witches aren’t going to take that nonsense. They embark on a road trip to seek revenge when they end up uncovering more than they imagined.

Spell ya later, evil ex-boyfriend. Sorry, this might be my only chance to say that.

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Movies

Dead Poets Society (1989)

Despite the title, there are no actual dead poets that come to haunt your dreams in this movie. Sad, I know. However, it takes place somewhere just as scary: an elite Vermont boarding school named Welton Academy. I don’t know about you, but I think that should be pronounced with a British accent.

Dead Poets Society tells the story of an unorthodox English teacher, John Keating played by Robin Williams, who inspires a love of poetry and life in his students.

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Good Will Hunting (1997)

Robin Williams is back at it again, but this time as Dr. Sean Maguire opposite a young Matt Damon.

Everyday Chuckie Sullivan hopes that his friend Will Hunting has finally moved onto bigger and better things. And everyday he is disappointed. Will Hunting has a genius level IQ, yet he works as a janitor at MIT. Little does he know, however, that Dr. Sean Maguire is about to enter his life and help him live up to his full potential.

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