I did a post at the end of 2017 recommending a bunch of fall and winter holiday romance, that included Halloween and Samhain romances. Starting in 2018 I began doing a separate post just for Halloween romance, focused on romance fiction where Halloween or Samhain play a major role in the story. I tried to give all new recs, but couldn’t resist including some from my prior Halloween/Samhain list. You may also be interested in my Valentine’s Day themed recs lists from 2018 and 2019, my New Years themed rec list, or my list of witchy books on my TBR.
I tried a bunch of Halloween romances to get to this list of faves (41 if I count correctly). They generally follow my tastes, in that they aren’t so spooky and aren’t horror, and generally lean toward cute, funny or sexy contemp or paranormal. Most are novella length or shorter; I link to reviews where I have written them; that’s the place to find content warnings.
I’m listing marginalized rep at the end of my descriptions. If you spot something incorrect, please do feel free to let me know. Also, I am not intending to out anyone; I get author info from the web and the book bio. If an author would like me to remove any info listed, please do let me know. I want to note that I use the word fat as a neutral descriptor when listing rep, and use the word queer when a character or author identify that way or when I am unclear about their identity but know they fall under the LGBTQIAP+ umbrella.
For folks looking for romance with no on-the-page sex, I am putting three asterisks*** at the end of the description.
- Second Chance by Audra North (2014 paranormal m/f romance novella)*** This adorable second chance romance between a librarian and the guy she had a crush on in high school includes an overly helpful match-making ghost. (Rep: Biracial Asian American author)
- Halloween Boo by Sarah Spade (2018 paranormal m/f romance novella) I enjoyed this romance about a ghost who falls for the woman who moves into his old apartment after he’s gone. It was rather lighthearted, funny, and had some lovely heat to it.
Bringing the Heat and the Humor
- Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert (2018 paranormal m/f romance novella) This is my most favorite of all the Halloween romances I’ve ever read. I adore the heroine so much, and found it hilarious, smoking hot, and full of heart. It disrupts shifter romance tropes in wonderful ways and is deeply about the importance of consent. I also just love how much the hero adores the heroine for being bloodthirsty and violent and strong. (Rep: Black woman MC. Black, Anglo-Romani, disabled autistic queer woman author.)
- Her Halloween Treat by Tiffany Reisz (2016 contemporary m/f romance novel) Full of 80s references, this brother’s best friend romance balances heat, heart, and humor beautifully, and culminates in an 80s costume party queer wedding. The MCs have truly amazing chemistry, and I could not put this down. (Rep: Mexican American biracial heroine. Gay secondary characters. Bi woman author.)
- October Spice by KL Noone (2019 contemporary m/m erotic romance short story) This is a beautifully written story with a baker MC and a very appreciative fireman customer and just a bit of kink in a spur of the moment heated encounter that turns romantic by the end and I wish it would become a novel because I would so read that much more of these characters and this prose and the beautiful food descriptions. (Rep: Queer man MC. Black queer man LI. Bisexual woman author.)
- Frosted, Whipped, Buttered by Christina C Jones (2019 contemporary m/f romance short story) This friends to lovers story centers two longtime friends who run a bakery together, secondary characters from her Equilibrium series. They were fuck buddies in the past, but this time they begin to contemplate a romantic relationship on one of the busiest days of the year at the bakery: Halloween. (Rep: Black MCs. Black woman author.)
- The Southern Gothic Halloween Special by Magen Cubed (2019 free paranormal m/m romance)*** This story revisits the heroes from the Southern Gothic series, an angsty grump of a vampire and his sunshiny human lover, on Halloween, which is also a vampire death celebration holiday. I really enjoyed spending time with this couple on Halloween, and this is a great entry point for the series I think. (Rep: Queer men MCs. Queer author.)
- A Little Night Magic by Meredith Katz (2019 free paranormal f/bigender interactive fiction romance)*** This hasn’t concluded quite yet, but I found it riveting to read, and really enjoyed all the different kinds of paranormal folks in the story. The MC is a witch and her love interest is fae, a bigender moth person who is in danger. It’s part mystery, part romantic suspense, and the IF aspect makes it especially fun. (Queer woman MC. Bigender love interest. Queer secondary characters. Lesbian author.)
- Ms. Behave by Cathy Yardley (2018 contemporary m/f romance novella) I absolutely adored this latest edition to Yardley’s geeky romance series. This is a second chance friends to lovers romance between a lawyer and an actor who were best friends for most of their youth, had one intense bout of making out in high school and then were out of contact for years. It’s got this lovely romance arc that begins at a Halloween party, and a bi heroine who loves to wear suits that I fell really hard for. (Rep: Bisexual woman MC. Biracial Asian American woman author.)
- After the Night by Sandra Marie (2018 contemporary m/f romance novel) It begins at the office costume Halloween party with accidental matching outfits and a mystery as to who exactly dressed as the Dread Pirate Roberts (who can only be identified by his tattoo, giving her a Cinderella problem). It then continues to a conference setting with a bunch of colleagues that push them to go to the haunted maze where the hero valiantly protects the heroine from as many jump scares as he can. Cannot get more classically Halloween romance than this. I really enjoyed this light, fluffy office romance, especially because the heroine is a big MCU geek and the hero is a big Disney geek.
Haunted Houses and Mazes Oh My
- A Tale of Two Cities: A Halloween Novella by Alexandra Warren (2018 contemporary m/f romance novella) This romance is set at joint bachelor’s and bachelorette parties in Vegas for Halloween weekend. It contains instalust, a haunted house, and a single mom who is wary about getting involved. I fell hard for the heroine, thought the hero was a good match for her, and generally enjoyed their attempts to find time to be alone and fall for each other amidst the antics of the bride and groom and the partying. (Rep: Black heroine. Black hero. Black woman author.)
- Halloween Dragon by Liv Rider (2019 paranormal m/m romance novel) This fated mates dragon shifter romance is also about saving the Halloween Fest and especially the haunted maze that the shifter’s mate adores. The shifter learns to be less controlling, delegate more and ask for help, an arc I generally can get behind, especially when it also emphasizes that being fated mates doesn’t mean you don’t need to work on a relationship. (Rep: Queer men MCs.)
Kinky Halloween Stories
- Date from Hell by Gareth Vaughn (2018 paranormal erotic m/m romance novella with a trans man lead) A submissive demon needs a date for the Halloween party/orgy & accidentally summons a soulless human instead of his last demon hookup, & the soulless human turns out to be hot & dominant & trans & a great date…who wants to get his soul back. The trans rep is incidental, which really worked for this story, and I loved that the human didn’t sell his soul to transition but to save his brother’s life. This definitely leans heavily towards the erotic end of erotic romance, with demon-related sex acts (can’t let the forked tongues go to waste), and I also found it rather adorable and charming. (Rep: Bisexual man MC. Queer trans man MC.)
- Page of Swords by Ainsley Booth and Sadie Haller (2018 contemporary m/f romance novella) I enjoyed this kinky meet-cute neighbors to lovers Halloween romance. He’s an experienced dom who assumes she isn’t kinky when he meets her, she’s a novice sub who fantasizes about him spanking her from the start; they end up neighbors, with him the landlord, and as secretly mutually crushing friends, until they start planning a Halloween street festival together… (Rep: Black hero.)
Masks and Secrets
- Spanking the Boss by Hunter Frost (2018 contemporary m/m erotic romance novella) This romance begins at a Halloween party where dressing as a janitor has the MC mistaken for one by one of the top management and leads to a kinky scene where he tops his boss. But then when he catches feelings, where could it possibly go, since he never told him who he really was? (Rep: Queer formerly incarcerated man MC. Queer man MC.)
- Hearts Masquerade by Tressie Lockwood (2015 contemporary m/f romance novella) I adored the heroine of this meet-cute romance that begins at a Halloween masquerade party, and has a heroine who does fundraising for her local community center and a hero who grew up in the poor neighborhood she lives in but is now wealthy and keeping it a secret. The antagonist in this story was rather irritating and I got annoyed at the hero for keeping his secret so long, but the heroine had my heart from the beginning, and I ended up rooting for them to figure stuff out. (Rep: Black heroine. Trauma survivor hero. Black woman author.)
- Unlucky Thirteen by T Thorn Coyle (2019 free paranormal f/non-binary romantic suspense story)*** This is connected to an Oakland-set paranormal romance series focused on witches, but can stand alone. It centers a witch who’s been dealing with a stalker for years, and plays with meet cute and rescue tropes. I found it really compelling. (Rep: Queer woman MC. Non-binary MC. Queer non-binary author.)
- The Ghosts of Halloween: A Learning Curves Short Story Collection by Ceillie Simkiss (2018 contemporary f/f short story collection)*** This adorable trio of Halloween themed short stories revisits the heroines of Learning Curves, showing them grappling with Halloween costume emergencies, trick or treaters, and Halloween partysurprises. I adored the way it integrated the kinds of Halloweeny issues that can come up for fat folks, folks with anxiety, and folks with ADHD. It was also just very sweet to revisit this lovely couple again. (Rep: Fat Puerto Rican lesbian woman MC with anxiety. Panromantic asexual woman MC with ADHD. Panromantic asexual woman author with ADHD and anxiety.)
- A Little Familiar by R Cooper (2015 paranormal m/genderfluid romance novella) Gorgeously written witch/familiar romance complete with long term pining, pagan community, a ghost, and so much cooking it made me ravenous. I fell hard for the genderfluid familiar, and had so many feels for the witch hero who thought he’d always be alone. (Rep: Gay MC. Genderfluid love interest.) (Or, if you’ve read this one, you may want to try the latest in the series, Nothing More Certain, a 2018 Halloween themed paranormal m/m romance, and equally full of long term pining.)
- Love Spells for the End of the World by Alys Murray (2019 paranormal m/f romance novel)*** This is a fun Halloween romp. There are some holiday romances that do a rather light touch with the holiday feels, but this small town romance really leans into the Halloweenness in a way I definitely appreciated. It totally put me in the mood to read more Halloween-themed romances, and to start eating Halloween treats! This is a neighbors to lovers/enemies to lovers combo, with a witch heroine and a witch hunter hero, where his job is to kill her and has been since he first moved in next door. (Rep: Heroine with anxiety. Secondary queer characters.)
- Passion and Pumpkins by Lily Rede (2012 paranormal m/f erotic romance novelette) If you are looking for a Halloween themed witchy sex comedy erotic romance that includes neighbors to lovers trope, a witch with out of control powers, and giant lust pumpkins, this may be for you. It’s a rather odd wild ride, and so out there that I wasn’t even bugged too much by the dubcon element of the lust spell because really, once you have lust pumpkins going on, you have twirled so high while jumping the shark that you are on a different plane.