11 Books Like 'Hocus Pocus' To Get You In The Mood For The Spookiest Night Of The Year

by Kerri Jarema
Walt Disney Pictures

If you have ever been laughed at for your lack of love for horror and all things scary, I can definitely relate. I have never been a fan of scary movies, shows or scary books. I think it was a particularly scarring episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? when I was five or six that really did me in for life; and I have never looked back. No, I am not the person to ask to the premiere of the latest scary movie, nor should you ask me for any creepy book recommendations. But if you want to know about some eerie books that won't keep you up at night overcome with total terror, I'm your girl. And if you ask me, no movie is better suited to a Halloween night viewing party than Hocus Pocus.

Yes, you know it, the '90s Disney movie we've all seen about 1000 times. It's just the right mix of atmospheric, funny, and spooky (I mean, these are witches who suck out children's souls after all) to be the best excuse to spend a night in over the Halloween party weekend. But maybe you're jealous of everyone who can pick up some scary books over October without having to toss them in freezer like Rachel from Friends. If that's the case, look no further than these Hocus Pocus-esque reads that delve into unexpected magic, spooky witches, local legends, and Hallowen fun...with a little middle grade thrown in to fully speak to your inner child.

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'How To Hang A Witch' by Andriana Mather

Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls called The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were? Soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials; and she must find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged.

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'Nightbird' by Alice Hoffman

Twelve-year-old Twig's town in the Berkshires is said to hide a winged beast, the Monster of Sidwell. Twig lives in the orchard with her mysterious brother James and her reclusive mother; because of a family secret, an ancient curse, Twig has had to isolate herself from other kids. Then a family with two girls, Julia and Agate, moves into the cottage next door. They are descendants of the witch who put the spell on Twig's family. But Julia turns out to be Twig's first true friend, and her ally in trying to undo the curse.

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'A Discovery of Witches' by Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of demons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries—and she's the only creature who can break its spell.

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'Spell On Wheels: Volume 1' by Kate Leth

In this graphic novel series, three young witches are robbed of their magical items, and they’ll have to hit the road to track down the mysterious thief before he does any damage to—or with—their possessions in this modern mix of The Craft and Supernatural.

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'Wildwood' by Colin Meloy

In Wildwood, Prue and her friend Curtis uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

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'Labyrinth Lost' by Zoraida Cordova

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation… and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.

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'Akata Witch' by Nnedi Okorafor

Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, Sunny is a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own?

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'The Sparrow Sisters' by Ellen Herrick

The Sparrow sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Patience is the town healer, but when her herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens.

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'When The Moon Was Ours' by Anna-Marie McLemore

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

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'The Witches of Blackbrook' by Tish Thawer

Three sisters escape the Salem witch trials when the eldest casts a spell that hurtles their souls forward through time. After centuries separated, fate has finally reunited them in the present day. One the healer, one the teacher, and one the deceiver. Will their reunion return their full powers, or end their souls journey forever?

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'Practical Magic' by Alice Hoffman

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house, exotic concoctions and crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic.

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