Book Lists Book Reviews Picture Books

6 Terrific (and Not-Too-Scary) Halloween Books

September 30, 2015

One of the best parts for me of buying a house is that I finally feel like I can buy holiday decorations because I have a house to decorate and also I have a place to store them the rest of the year.

One of the worst parts for Bart about buying a house is that I want to buy tons of holiday decorations.

First thing on Monday morning, we pulled out the Halloween decorations. I bought quite a lot of stuff on mega 90% off clearance two years ago and then last year we weren’t even on the same continent as our belongings, so it was all brand-new and exciting to get everything out.

Of course, my very favorite holiday decorations are picture books (aren’t you so shocked?) and I loved arranging my growing collection of Halloween books on top of the bookcase in the dining room. I can see it from my desk and it’s just making me ludicrously happy.

If you need some Halloween book suggestions, whether it’s from reading purposes or decoration purposes, here are six of my favorites.

And I’ll be sharing other equally fantastic Halloween books over on Instagram all through October (plus giving away a couple of my very very favorites), so I’d love to have you follow along there too.

The best Halloween picture books!

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown – I seriously doubt that many books that get recommended for Halloween also have scored a Caldecott sticker, but leave it to Peter Brown to do just that. Jasper Rabbit, like most rabbits, loves carrots, and every day he stops in the nearby carrot patch to pick a few. But then, one day, it starts to seem like the carrots might be following him. Are they out to get him or is it his imagination? And is his fear enough to convince him to give up carrot eating? This book is done in blacks and grays with only the carrots appearing in color and it is just SO fun to look at. This is next on my list of books to buy for my Halloween book collection.

Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson – I basically love Mac Barnett like crazy and his newest book is no exception. Leo is a ghost who has lived happily in an empty house for many years. He’s delighted when a family finally buys the house and moves in, but when he makes overtures of friendship, they become terribly frightened and, dejected, Leo moves out. Then he meets Jane who seems happy for a new friend. This book isn’t Halloween-ish per se, but since it features a ghost, I’m counting it.

The Witches’ Supermarket by Susan Meddaugh – The girls and I read this one at least a dozen times in the last few weeks, and it is just delightfully fun. From the author of Martha Speaks, this book follows Helen and Martha on Halloween night. Headed out dressed as a witch and a cat (much to Martha the Dog’s displeasure), Helen spots an old woman drop a coupon and when she follows the woman to return the coupon, she finds herself at a Witches’ Supermarket, with a sign on the door warning that there are NO DOGS ALLOWED. Of course, since Martha is dressed as a cat, Helen decides they should just take a quick peek around. You can imagine how that turns out.

Click, Clack, Boo!: A Tricky Treat by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin – I like all the Click, Clack books, but this Halloween one was new to me. As usual, the farmer is totally grumpy and wants to just go to bed on Halloween night – no tricks or treats for him! And, as usual, the farm animals are determined to do whatever they want, which, in this case, is throw a big Halloween party in the barn. Of course, the animals’ shenanigans are no fun if they don’t manage to involve the farmer – can they get him out of bed and ready to celebrate? (Yes).

Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White, illustrated by Megan Lloyd – This is one of the longer books on this list, but it’s so sweet and my girls were big fans. Rebecca Estelle hates pumpkins. As as a child, her family was so poor that they ate nothing but pumpkin for a period of time, and so now, as an old woman, she’s determined never to even look at another pumpkin again. She busily tends her productive garden that has absolutely no pumpkins. Until a pumpkin truck rattles down the road by her house and a pumpkin falls out and smashes on her property. Of course, a pumpkin left to rot in the ground is going to be bringing some surprises come fall. And now Rebecca Estelle is going to have to figure out how to deal with dozens of pumpkins.

The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi – This classic poem gets a decidedly creepy twist, thanks to the black-and-white illustrations which give it an old horror-film feel. It’s such a perfect addition to a Halloween collection and a great way to introduce your child to poetry (and also to learn not to trust spiders!). This is definitely the scariest one on the list, so you might want to hold this one for slightly older kids, maybe at least 4.

I’d love to hear about your favorite Halloween books either here or over on Instagram

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  • Reply Shara September 30, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Have you read Little Boo by Stephen Wunderli? We discovered it last year and absolutely love it.

  • Reply Ashley September 30, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Hah!! I know! I'm with you on the decorations…I love them. Halloween is 10 times more fun with kids, too. These books sound really great…I'm going to check them out!

  • Reply Sherry September 30, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Last year Eric had an aide in his classroom that doesn't celebrate Halloween for religious reasons. Consequently, he would usually keep their Halloween-related things to a minimum. But she's gone now, and he was telling me last night he wants to do more Halloween things this year. I asked him what he meant, and he said he wanted to read Halloween books, and I told him you surely had a post coming up soon about good Halloween books. And voila!

  • Reply Ashley September 30, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you! I love Halloween books and have been looking for some new ones! Ghost in the House by Ammi Joan-Paquette is one of my favorites!

  • Reply Emily September 30, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    My favorite is Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. I especially love the cassette tape where they sing the story, but I've never found a copy of the tape outside of the school that I student taught at. YouTube has it, but it's not a great recording. Thankfully the tune where they tug on the pumpkin has stayed with me, and I just sing it with my kids.

  • Reply amynicole September 30, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    This is perfect!! We were just in the library yesterday looking for Halloween books and picked up one because the others were too scary or inappropriate for a 3 year old I felt!

  • Reply Paige Flamm September 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    I haven't heard of any of these! This is going to come in super handy since I'm in charge of story time at music makers this month! Also, Click Clack Moo is one of our favorites, so I'm buying Click Clack Boo #noshame.

  • Reply Megan B September 30, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    We love, love, love Creepy Carrots at our house!

  • Reply Jodi October 1, 2015 at 2:14 am

    I should just buy some instead of fighting for them at the library. Also, Atticus has the entire creepy caps book memorized and even recites it with sound effects. We love that book!

  • Reply Jodi October 1, 2015 at 2:25 am

    I should just buy some instead of fighting for them at the library. Also, Atticus has the entire creepy caps book memorized and even recites it with sound effects. We love that book!

  • Reply Seetha E October 1, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Binary Backdoor Review

    This ejected material could, at least theoretically, somersault onto a lucky gas-giant planet, causing it to swell in mass and heat up. In June 2015, astronomers announced their tentative discovery of evidence for hypothesized "rejuvenated planets," which are giant planets that regain their youthful, radiant infrared glow as a result of being the fortunate beneficiaries of this ejected stellar "fountain of youth" from their doomed, dead parent-stars!

  • Reply Kavitha Ks October 1, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Ceylon spices are more valued spice products in the world. Excellent and valuable Ceylon spices include Ceylon true cinnamon, black pepper, white pepper, cloves, nutmegs, and more.They have a sweet taste, and strong aroma and natural health benefits.

  • Reply KT October 8, 2015 at 1:33 am

    We love Room on the Broom, which I suppose is not technically a halloween story, but it features a witch and we only read it in October. It just has such a nice flow to it. Leo is a new favorite for us this year too

  • Reply MichellePohl October 9, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    The Halloween Fairy Keeps Christmas Merry! Cute and funny – not scary. Plus added bonus of getting the candy out of the house after trick or treating…

  • Reply Kelly Polark October 10, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    My students LOVE Creepy Carrots & Click, Clack, Boo! Another cute one is I'M A LITTLE GREEN WITCH!

  • Reply Ever Emma October 20, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I'm slowly accumulating decorations for our house too. It's so nice to have a place to store things, but also so dangerous. I'm doing my best to constrain myself. I'm excited to check out some of these books with Ellie. I'm especially excited to be reminded of The Witches Supermarket! I remember reading that when I was younger. It's so fun to re-discover books with your kids!

  • Reply Grace Collette September 28, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    My 5 year old LOVES the spider and the fly. I adore it as well. I'm very interested in finding more poetry books to read to her like that one.

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