13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style

Amorette Anderson

Welcome to October! The lazy, hot days of summer are over. Fall is in the air, and Halloween’s right around the corner.

Do you know how you will celebrate this year? In this post I’ve gathered 13 ideas for celebrating autumn and Halloween for those of us who love all things bookish. I had the chance to catch up with fellow Sleuthing Women authors about how they’ll be spending the spookiest season of the year, too! Read on.

1. Dress up like your favorite character

Whether you want to be in costume when you open the door to kiddos trick-or-treating or you’re attending a Halloween party, this one’s fun for us readers. What other day of the year can we don the clothes and accessories that our favorite characters wear?

nancy drew costume 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style
Source: bookbub.com

Dressing up like a character gives us a chance to literally step into his or her shoes. Here are some ideas for book character costumes:

  • Sherlock Holmes (Tweed suit jacket or coat, deerstalker hat, and pipe and magnifying glass props) 
  • Harry Potter, Hermione, or Ron (Hedwig the owl, too!)
  • Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz (We all recognize her iconic look)
  • Pippi Longstocking (Did you read this book as a kid? Bring back the memories...)
  • Nancy Drew (reddish-blond hair, headband, plaid skirt or dress, cardigan, flats. Add a flashlight, magnifying glass, or book of clues to top off the look!)

A few things to keep in mind when you’re choosing: If you go with an obscure character, you’re going to have to do a lot of explaining. Probably best to choose someone who has a distinctive feature or iconic style.

2. Use book pages for your treat bags

Up-cycle pages of a book or newspaper to make cute treat bags. Add a stamp of a ghost, crow, pumpkin, leaves, or another Halloweeny symbol. You could add a black or orange ribbon for a little extra touch, too. Here's a sample of how this might look, thanks to Beth over at her blog, Alyssabeth's Vintage.

3. Curl up with your favorite Halloween Short Stories 

This is a great time of year for reading short stories! In the past I've always grabbed a Halloween anthology or two to stock my Kinde. The shorts from various authors give me glimpses into different fictional worlds, and the more I read about Halloween the more happy and excited I feel.

alisa anton JhxGkGgd3Sw unsplash 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

And I'm not the only one feeling excited about short stories... Here's what author Amy Reade will be up to this Halloween: "My kids are older now and don't go trick-or-treating anymore, so I love to give out candy to the little ones who come to the house on Halloween night. Once the trick-or-treat hours are over, I'll curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book of Halloween short stories. I've got several to choose from, so I'll probably make a schedule of them so I make sure I read them all on the nights leading up to Halloween."

I love the idea of reading Halloween short stories on the nights leading up to Halloween, don't you? What a fun way to enjoy this season.

ghouls night out 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style

Did you know that Amy Reade has a Halloween cozy out? Check out Ghouls' Night Out, book 4 in her Juniper Junction Cozy Holiday Mystery Series.

Halloween is just around the corner and the goblins are out in force in Juniper Junction. 

A crotchety merchant, a malicious next-door neighbor, and some ghoulish trick-or-treaters are causing hair-raising problems for Lilly Carlsen's boyfriend, Hassan Ashraf, and things are about to get much worse. 

When Hassan finds himself at the center of a police investigation following the deaths of two of his tormentors just days apart, Lilly is ready to help in any way she can...

Grab Ghouls Night Out for some spooky reading fun!

4. Add a stack of books to your fall decor

Autumn is filled with stunning visuals. From colorful fall foliage to pretty pumpkins, we get to look at all sorts of sights. It makes sense that those of us who love this season tend to put up decorations this time of year! I love seeing the barrels of orange, yellow, and red flowers out at the end of my neighbor's driveway down the road, and the "Happy Fall" sign that another neighbor posts near her gate. If you're a fan of all things book related, show off your love of literature with your decorations. A stack of books here or there will do the trick! Here's an example from the DIY/decorating blog "Postcards from the Ridge."

5. Host a Halloween-themed book club meeting

One of my favorite ways of socializing is with book club friends. It’s nice to have a purpose for a gathering, and I love hearing other people’s thoughts and comments about a book I’ve recently read. 

In the neighborhood I used to live in we had a vibrant club that met once a month. Sometimes the host would use a theme for the gathering, to reflect the story that we all read. Something that we never did during the years I participated in the club (but I wish we did!) was have a holiday themed gathering.

A club could read a story that fits the season, and then the club host could play up the holiday for the gathering with the decor and food choices. Wouldn’t that be fun? 

alexander schimmeck vxJvvlJ0gWc unsplash 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style
Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash

6. Watch a movie that's based on a book

Once in a while the movie version of a book is actually good, or even great. I know, I know.... watching a movie based on a book can be frustrating. Maybe the main character looks all wrong, or a stellar scene from the book is missing in the movie version. But once in a while screenwriters and directors do a fantastic job of taking our favorite stories from the pages of a book onto the screen.

This year, find a movie based on a favorite book and pop it on for a cozy night in. Choose a flick that has ghosts, goblins, or witches to get those good Halloween vibes. Curl up with a bowl of popcorn or candy for some easy evening entertainment. It might be neat to read the book before you watch the movie. Coraline, a novella by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaimon, is a creepy and visually awesome animated movie that was released in 2009. The Witches, written by Roald Dahl, just came out as a movie in 2020. Have you seen it yet? Maybe this is the year!

I've found that writers like myself often love this type of cozy night in. I asked fellow Sleuthing Women author K.E. O'Connor how she planned on celebrating Halloween this year, and here's what she said:

"Halloween in the UK is often a dark and spooky time. We do get kiddies knocking on the door for sweets (candy.) They only knock if you have a pumpkin out of decorations on the porch. I'd love to see an American-style Halloween, though. The movies always make it look amazing.

But our Halloween comes from the Celtic Samhain, which marks the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of a dark, cold winter. The festival symbolizes the boundary between the world of the living and the dead. It was believed that on October 31, ghosts would come to the mortal world, so bonfires were lit to ward off any evil ghosts and keep the living safe.

I won't be chasing Celtic ghosts or dressing up, though! I'll be inside, watching something scary on the TV and pretending not the steal chocolate from the bowl meant for everyone in fancy dress!"

shamrock 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style

Does K.E. O'Connor have any Halloween stories for us to enjoy? Yes! Here's what she says:

"If you want something spooky and weird, enjoy a free copy of Shamrock. Set on All Hallow's Eve, a troubled, enchanted scarecrow is looking for this missing girlfriend while trying to keep his head." [Get it here.]

"Or dive into a bumper set of witchy mysteries featuring a demon-hunting witch and her chatty miniature hellhound. The set is on sale for 0.99 throughout October." [Get it here.]

7. Spend time with fantasy-loving friends

Reading is an activity that draws on our ability to imagine people, places, and situations. We get to step into a fantasy land and live out various adventures! If you’re the type of person who loves fantasty and imagination, why not get together with a few like-minded friends? 

ehimetalor akhere unuabona DP5iZ4qflmU unsplash 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Here's how author Patti Larsen will be spending Halloween this year: "I'm going to a local comic convention with my Dungeons and Dragons group! We're dressing up and I can't wait to spend two days hanging out with this awesome group of women."

book4 colors2sm 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style

Does Patti Larsen have any Halloween stories to share? Yes, she does. Yay! Check out Ghosts and Goblins and Murder, book four in her award-winning Fiona Fleming Cozy Mysteries.

When the psychic leading the seance she's attending ends up dead, Fee can't help but feel like her bad luck yet again put her in the wrong place at the wrong time. With Sheriff Crew Turner ordering her to stay out of it or else, her father, retired from the force or not, egging her on and a string of murders begging to be solved, she can either go home and be a good B&B owner or find out whodunit!

Ghosts and Goblins and Murder is available at all fine retailers.

8. Cover your books for a spooky display

I found these spooky free printable book covers online. Wrap books that you have in paper covers like these for a display that's sure to make your guests or family members look twice!

book covers 1 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style
Source: littlehouseonthecorner.com

9. Give bookmarks

Here in the states it's pretty typical to give out candy to trick or treaters. This year, how about handing out a book mark along with the sweets? Or, if you send out greeting cards to friends, tuck one of these in along with your message. Book marks are easy to make. Cut out poster board paper and decorate with your favorite type of art supplies: markers, colored pencils, paint, whatever you like. Use glitter, stickers, or stamps. You could also cut out a shape and attach it to a paperclip, like this neat example from "Kara Creates".

10. Read a book that gets you into the Halloween spirit

What do readers love the most? Reading, of course! Even if you have to wait until the kids or grandkids have scrubbed off their face paint, traded costumes for PJs, and finally go to bed, you can hopefully carve out some quiet time with a great book. Grab a Halloween-themed book that you're excited about diving into and crack it open that night… in a bubble bath? Under a cozy blanket on the couch? Anything goes. As long as it's time with a book, it'll be lovely.

If you choose to read, you're in good company! Author Michele Pariza Wacek will be reading on Halloween night, too. I asked her what she'd be doing to celebrate the holiday, and here's what she said: "I'll be celebrating the launch of my newest Halloween book ("The Murder of Sleepy Hollow") and watching a scary movie or two and reading a scary book. I love a good ghost story or something that's a little creepy, but I avoid gore as much as possible. (I don't write gore or violence either.) But there's nothing better than a crisp, fall evening with a glass of wine and a good, clean, scary story."

I totally agree:)

the murder of sleepy hollow 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style

Okay, now we have to know more about Michele Pariza Wacek's The Murder of Sleepy Hollow, right? Here are the details, straight from Michele:

"I have a Halloween new release called "The Murder of Sleepy Hollow," which is Book 5 in the Charlie Kingsley Mystery series. I love Halloween and I especially love it combined with mysteries. (Who doesn't love a little scare in their mystery?)

I've always loved Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," so I thought I would do my own take and have Ike Krane and the headless horseman visit Redemption, Wisconsin, in a humorous (and maybe a little scary) take of the story."

[Get it here.]

11. Jack-o-lanterns as tributes to our favorite books

I have a confession to make. I get serious when it comes to carving pumpkins! My husband and I don't have children, so we can't pretend our pumpkin carving habit has anything to do with entertaining kids. We carve pumpkins every year because it's fun. I get such a kick out of the moment when we put the jack-o-lanterns out under the night sky and see how they look, all lit up from within.

Every year our designs get a little more complex. Maybe we're getting better at this art form, haha. Last year my husband carved a group of stone towers from a place where he loves to go rock climbing. Talk about details! He was silent with concentration as he worked on getting every line and angle just right.

This year I'm going to aim for a book-themed design. Of course, researching this blog post got me a bit fired up. I found this ode to Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, and my jaw just dropped. I'm not sure I'll manage to create anything this cool, but I'm going to try!

fangirl pumpkin 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style
source: booktrib.com
Witches of Halloween BUBBLES final 13 Ways to Celebrate Halloween... Book Lover Style

I'm Amorette, and I'm happy to share that I have some Halloween fun for ya! Witches of Halloween is a collection of four cozy mystery short stories. All four stories feature witches from the series that I've written over the years. You can grab it here.

12. Visit your local book store or library

I am betting that you love book stores and libraries, just like I do. These days about half of the books I read are on my Kindle. I like how light it is to carry my Kindle in my purse and have hundreds of books at my fingertips, wherever I go.

And yet... there's still something so appealing about physical books. I love walking into a book store and checking out the colorful, artful displays. It's nice to hold a book in my hands and feel the weight of it, flip the pages, read the covers. And I like wandering through libraries, seeing if any of the new titles will jump out at me, saying "read me, please!" If you're a book lover, I bet you can relate, haha. This autumn, treat yourself by browsing shelves at your favorite bookseller, or spend an hour or two in the library just for fun.

13. Take part in a virtual community

If you want to celebrate Halloween with the Sleuthing Women community, hop on over to Facebook! Are you part of our private group? If not. we'd love to have you. We're authors and readers who like to get together online and chat about books, and whatever else comes up. See ya there!

I hope you've come away from this post with some inspiration for your own holiday fun. What will you do this year to celebrate autumn or Halloween? Drop a comment below:)

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