If you're looking for a way to engage middle school English classes in reading nonfiction, biographies are the way to start. This project is a great October activity. There are check-ins along the way for you to utilize Google Classroom to teach students how to engage in an online academic discussion, as well as a Google Slide students create to be played during your "gathering." Your students will each create a biographical slide that you can project on a loop during your gathering. The reflection activity at the end allows a piece for you to use as an assessment.
Our middle schoolers often think they're "too cool" for Halloween and some schools don't allow costumes, so this is a great activity to curb both and get some enjoyment out of reading nonfiction.