Ghosts and ghouls and spirits, oh my! Blame it on my early obsessions with Halloweentown and the Addams Family, but I just can’t get enough of the creepy, kooky, and ghostly every year when fall comes around. I want some frights, but I want them in a sort of cute and tame way, you know? Which is exactly what these 10 ghostly middle grade books are perfect for. They’ve got chills and thrills, sure, but nothing that’ll keep you up at night. (Well, probably. I guess I’ll let you be the judge of that.) And whether you’re a young reader or an adult looking for some spooky season nostalgia — like me! — these ghostly middle grade books are just the thing for some good fall reading.
From ghost girls trying to prove they can be just as terrifying as any other spirit to amateur sleuths piecing together clues to solve a haunting, these middle grade mystery and horror novels have all the spooky delights you could ask for this fall. You might even find a few witches and exorcisms in their midst! And if you’d rather read about witches or zombies or vampires, I guess that’s okay, too. But you and I both know there’s nothing quite like a ghost story on a fall night.
Happy haunting, readers! And maybe keep the nightlight on, just for good measure.
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
Having a ghost for a best friend might sound like a dream come true for a shy girl like Suraya, but the pelesits she inherited from her grandmother — who she names Pink — has a dark side. And when she makes a human friend for the first time, Pink’s jealously gets the better of him, finally forcing Suraya to confront the possibility that the ghost she loves might be doing more harm than good.
Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
Ghosts are part of the family business for Lucely Luna, whose father runs a ghost tour and has breakfast with her family’s spirits that reside in a backyard tree. But when she and her best friend Syd accidentally cast a spell just before Halloween that awakens malicious spirits, they have to reverse the curse and save the town they love along with Syd’s witch grandmother, Babette, and a cat named Chunk. It’s a wonderfully fun story with all the best parts of a Halloween tale from ghosts to witches to curses.
The 2nd Best Haunted Hotel on Mercer Street by Cory Putman Oakes and Jane Pica
The Ivan has been the best — and only — haunted hotel on Mercer Street for hundreds of years. But when a new location of the popular Hauntery chain opens just down the street, Willow and her family have to convince the public that the authentic ghosts at the Ivan are better than the spooky shows being put on at the Hauntery. And with a new ghost joining their ranks, a girl with aspirations of being a Terrifying Phantasm, they might just be able to pull it off.
Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko
A girl who can see ghosts suspects their new principal is up to something sinister after a terrible storm brings with it a wave of creepy occurrences, including missing teachers, terrifying hounds that talk, and the appearance of ghosts. Zee inherited her mother’s gift for seeing spirits but the only people who believe her are her sister, her best friend Elijah, and mean girl Nellie, the same one who gave her the nickname “Ghost Girl.” They’ll have to work together if they want to save their town from the dark forces at work, which means finally accepting her gift and maybe even befriending her longtime nemesis along the way.
Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
In this creepy middle grade mystery, the new girl in town must face off against the ghosts haunting her brother after they move into a house that’s supposedly haunted. Harper doesn’t believe the rumors at first, but when her brother begins acting strangely, she knows she’ll do whatever it takes to keep him safe. And if she could just remember why this house and her brother’s odd behavior keeps giving her a sense of déjà vu, maybe everything would fall into place. But until then, she’ll have to try to solve the mystery of her brother’s possession with only the clues around her.
The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco
The author of The Bone Witch trilogy and The Never Tilting World duology pens a horror novel about a murdered girl who haunts child killers like the one who threw her down a well some three hundred years ago. But when a new boy covered in strange tattoos moves into town, they’re both drawn into a world of Shinto exorcisms and terrifying doll rituals. This is a young adult novel with crossover appeal, so probably more suitable for older middle grade readers who are up for some serious haunting rather than younger readers looking for something cozily spooky.
Trace by Pat Cummings
After losing his parents in a terrible accident, Trace Carter doesn’t know how to move on. His aunt’s brownstone in New York is homey but it doesn’t feel like home. And he can’t stop seeing flashbacks of the accident that killed his parents. But when Trace runs into a crying boy in the library that might just be a ghost — a ghost with ties to Trace’s own past — he discovers that he himself might be the key to setting the past to rest.
Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland
Is there any better setting for a ghost story than an atmospheric historical tale? In 1920s Pittsburg, Ophie works as a maid at Daffodil Manor, where memories of a haunted past as well as literal ghosts lurk the halls. With a gift for seeing spirits, Ophie hopes to help some of the ghosts who were wronged in life. But the Manor holds many secrets beyond its ghosts, and they may just prove more than Ophie bargained for.
The Haunting of Henry Davis by Kathryn Siebel
When pale, shy Henry Davis moves to town, Barbara Anne is more than just a bit intrigued — especially when she learns Henry is being haunted by the ghost of a boy who died during the 1918 Spanish Flu Epidemic. But why is this ghost named Edgar haunting Henry? And what can they do to help him finally be put to rest?
The Ghost in Apartment 2R by Denis Markell
Danny thought his brother moving off to college would be the worst thing to happen to him this year, but when a ghost starts haunting his brother’s old room, he realizes just how wrong he was. Along with the help of his friends, Danny begins interviewing all his neighbors to try to figure out if this ghost is a Polish spirit or a Korean gwishin or maybe even the sort of Jewish mythological ghost his bubbe told him about. Whatever it turns out to be, Danny’s ready to help this phantom find rest.
These aren’t the only spooky reads and ghostly middle grade books we think you might enjoy. Check out even more great options with these lists: