While I usually mourn the ending of summer, this year I stepped out into the first briskly cool morning since summer began and I tasted fall and wanted more. I craved apple picking, costume designing, spooky decor, pumpkin bread, and cozy ghost stories. I must admit though that I scare pretty easily. I’m one of those people who closes her eyes during movies like The Mummy with Brendan Fraser. When Halloween rolls around each year, you’ll more likely find me rewatching The Office’s Halloween episodes rather than a scary movie. So while typical horror novels are not particularly my cup of cider, middle grade ghost stories are just right for me. I need a happy mix of feel-good, friendship, and adventure in my spooky book choices. Interested in some middle grade ghost stories too? Get cozy with a big bag of apple cider doughnuts and check out the following books!
The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills
Steeped in Cree folklore and drawing inspiration from her grandmother’s life, Allison Mills weaves a spellbinding tale of ghosts, family, grief, and love. All of the women in Shelly’s family can ensnare ghosts within their hair and help the spirits move on. Shelly gets to know all sorts of ghosts this way, including a boy with good music taste who lives in a graveyard. When Shelly’s mom dies unexpectedly, Shelly begins stashing ghosts in her room rather than sending them off on their journeys. And yet, she hasn’t found her mom’s ghost.
Just South of Home by Karen Strong
Nostalgic for the fading fragments of summer while simultaneously looking forward to the spooky thrills of fall? Check out Karen Strong’s middle grade ghost story, Just South From Home. Sarah and her little brother Ellis’s summer takes a turn when their cousin Janie visits and asks them to take her to an allegedly haunted local church. Once there, the kids stumble upon a supernatural mystery rooted in the town’s painful history.
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
If you loved Victoria Schwab’s Shades of Magic series (those parallel Londons were pretty cool), check out her middle grade ghost story City of Ghosts. Unlike her ghost-hunting parents, Cassidy Blake really can see ghosts. She’s an In-betweener, gifted with the ability to help ghosts transition to the afterlife. When Cassidy, her parents, and her ghost best friend Jacob move to Scotland, Cassidy finally meets another In-betweener. But within Edinburgh’s picturesque streets, a sinister supernatural presence lurks.
Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
Looking for that cozy Goonies meets Halloweentown feel in your middle grade ghost stories? Look no further than Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega. After Domincan tween Lucely Luna and her BFF Syd accidentally unleash a horde of evil spirits on St. Augustine days before Halloween, they’ll do whatever it takes to set things right. Plus, they’ve got the cutest cat sidekick of all time.
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Completely charmed by the detective duo Mo and Dale in Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky? I know I was. Check out its spooky sequel, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing! Even if you haven’t read the first in the series, you can jump right in to this new ghostly adventure. After Miss Lana takes on ownership of an old haunted inn, Mo, Dale, and a new friend band together to figure out the identity of the inn’s ghostly occupant.
Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
Craving a little more spine-tingle in your middle grade ghost stories? If ghost stories ranked scares like salsas measure heat, Spirit Hunters would fall closer to the medium side versus the mild. Korean American Harper has a gut feeling something’s not right with her new home, and she can’t shake the strangest sensation of having memories clinging to these feelings. When her little brother starts acting strangely, it’s up to Harper to get to the bottom of it!
The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand
Described by Goodreads as “gently gothic,” (just about the coziest ghost story descriptor I’ve come across) this sweet middle grade ghost story follows Olivia as her maestro father moves them to an old concert hall. Despite her cat Igor’s company, Olivia can’t escape her loneliness. That is, until she befriends the concert hall’s four ghosts. When Olivia learns from her new otherworldly friends that their fates are tied to the concert’s hall, she’ll do whatever it takes to save them.
The Thief Knot by Kate Milford and Jaime Zollars
If you’re a fan of the Greenglass House series, check out Kate Milford’s latest standalone installment in the Greenglass House world. After Marzanna’s parents begin investigating a peculiar kidnapping, Marzanna gathers together her own special crew of kid detectives to get to the bottom of the mystery. Her team isn’t completely earthly, though. One of her fellow detectives just so happens to be the ghost of a ship captain’s daughter.
Want to snuggle up to some more cozy yet spooky books this fall? Check out these Paranormal Cozy Mysteries. Looking for a little more of a scare in your middle grade reads? Browse through these 50 Must-Read Scary Books for Kids!