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The Best Halloween Books: 13 Spooky Favorites

Holiday books can be hit or miss, but these are the best Halloween books in my opinion – they’re clever, well-written, and beautifully illustrated! You won’t want to miss any of these Halloween picture books.

 

I have never been particularly into Halloween, even as a kid.

Dressing up is not my thing, I hate scary stuff, and basically it was a reasonably fun holiday, but nothing I looked forward to all year or something.

But now as an adult, I am QUITE into Halloween.

My girls are obsessed with it and love talking about their costumes, I love that, as a grown-up, there’s so much less pressure to wear a costume, and I can just buy myself all the candy I want on clearance after Halloween.

Also, I love decorating my house and putting out my growing display of Halloween picture books. Every year, I buy one or two new ones to add to our collection, and it’s so fun to see them come out in October, be read daily for a month, and then put away to anticipate for another year.

I’m kind of dying that this year, all my books are in storage, so we have to make do with the library’s Halloween book

Here are my top Halloween books picks, whether you’re looking to build your own collection of Halloween picture books or just grab a few new titles from the library:

 best halloween books for kids

The Best Halloween Books

Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas
Jan Thomas is a sure hit at our house – every one of her books just amuses everyone to no end (although I have a special place in my heart for Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy) and this pumpkin-themed one is no exception. Duck wants to carve a pumpkin to surprise his friends, but then he falls in and can’t get out, so he waddles away to find someone to rescue him, but all his friends think it’s a haunted pumpkin and flee in terror.

Ten Orange Pumpkins by Stephen Savage
I am obsessed with Stephen Savage’s artwork (all these years later, and I still think Where’s Walrus? ranks among my favorite picture books), but this children’s books about pumpkins was new to me, although it came out about 4 years ago. The story begins with ten pumpkins, but one by one, pumpkins begin to disappear and you have to keep a close eye on the illustrations to figure out what’s happened to each of them, which makes for a fun Halloween mystery.

Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann
I’ve been reading this one almost every year since it came out, but for some reason, this was the first year it really appealed to me. My girls really latched on to it this year, and we’ve read it at least a dozen times this season. When Gus loses his beloved dog Ella to old age, she promises him that she’ll always be with him. And when Halloween rolls around and some spooky skeletons corner Gus, she keeps her promise.

The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg
To me, this is the ultimate Halloween book, since my parents owned a copy when I was growing up and I looked forward to it every October. When a witch’s broom loses the power of flight unexpectedly and plunges the witch and the broom into a widow’s garden, the widow kindly nurses the witch back to health and then finds herself the new owner of a broom that may not be able to fly anymore, but definitely still has some magic left in it. Chris Van Allsburg’s books all have that slightly strange, magical feel to them, and this one couldn’t be better.

I’m a Witch’s Cat by Harriet Muncaster
This book delights me every time – both the story and the art are so original! A little girl is sure her mother is a good witch, and she’s that witch’s cat. Together they mix potions, cultivate a magic garden, and shop for eyeballs and fingers at the grocery store. And each page is a hand-made 3-D scene made from paper and other objects, and then photographed. There is basically no end of things to look at in this book.

Oliver and Amanda’s Halloween by Jean Van Leeuwen and Ann Schweninger
I’ve thought this was one of the best Halloween picture books since I was a child, and I finally ordered myself a copy of this one last year. I couldn’t be happier to own these sweet stories of my favorite pigs picking costumes, making homemade donuts, and heading out to trick-or-treat. Oliver and Amanda forever!

Popcorn by Frank Asch
This is one of the best children’s Halloween books , but it was out of print for a while (and used copies were wildly expensive). Happily, now it’s back in print and better than ever. I think we read our copy at least 50 times last October. When Sam’s parents leave him home alone to attend a Halloween party, he decides to throw his own bash and tells all his friends to bring a treat. Every last one of them brings popcorn kernels and when they pop them all, the entire house is filled with popcorn, which they have to eat before Sam’s parents get home.

Ghosts in the House by Kazuno Kohara 
This is one of the BEST Halloween books. I loved it from the moment I first saw it in my picture book class in grad school, and I haven’t even remotely tired of it in the years since then. When a sweet little witch moves into a house full of witches, she promptly gathers them up, launders them and puts them to work as curtains, sheets and tablecloths. The illustrations, all black and orange and white, are stunning.

Boo Haiku by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Bob Shea
This one is new this year, and I couldn’t love it more. Each page has a haiku and you have to guess what’s being described. Even after many readings, my girls still get a kick out of guessing, and it’s a fun way to introduce haiku. Plus, the illustrations by Bob Shea have a bold, modern feel to them that I love.

Mouse’s First Night at Moonlight School by Simon Puttock, Illustrated by Ali Pye
When Mouse goes to school on the first night, he’s so scared that he hides, despite the fact that his teacher, Miss Moon, is the sweetest friendliest witch you can imagine. And when no one can find him, an impromptu game of hide-and-seek is on for the whole class.  

Eek! Halloween by Sandra Boynton
Oh Sandra Boynton. You can do no wrong. This board book about terrified chickens wondering what is going on when they find animals in costume around the barnyard is predictably hilarious and catchy. This is pretty new, but it quickly earned a spot as one of our Halloween favorites.

Dog and Bear: Tricks and Treats by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
I think Dog and Bear are hilarious, and this is one of my favorites. In these Halloween themed episodes, they shop for costumes, welcome trick-or-treaters, and head out to collect candy of their own, all with amusing results. It’s just one of the sweetest and best Halloween books. 

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
This book is like watching an old black and white horror movie, in the best, picture-book, child-friendly sort of way. Jasper Rabbit won’t stop eating carrots, so the carrots decide to get back at him, and soon Jasper is seeing carrots lurking wherever he goes. I need to get myself a copy of this book for my collection!

best halloween books

 

Any favorite Halloween books? I’m always looking for more suggestions!

And if you want more ideas, you can check out this list and this list, both of which have other great Halloween titles.

If you liked this post about the best Halloween books, you might also like these posts:

 

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36 Comments

  • Reply Heather @ Heathers Hurrah September 28, 2016 at 11:57 am

    My older daughter recently enjoyed Mercy Watson: Princess in Disguise 🙂 We also really love Julia Donaldson's Room on the Broom which isn't strictly Halloween but feels like a great fall book. Scaredy Squirrel's Halloween is another favourite as well as Ollie's Halloween – we enjoy both of these characters in other books 🙂
    Thank you for the great list!!!

  • Reply Anna Nicosia September 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I love Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman. It's about a huge pumpkin and all the halloween characters have to work together to to pull it off the vine. I am an early childhood teacher and my kiddos LOVE to sing along and shout "drat!" (which is what the witch says) when the pumpkin sticks!

  • Reply Paige Flamm September 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I loved Popcorn growing up and totally forgot about it until you mentioned it last year, so I bought that one, and also Milk and Cookies by Frank Asch, and all my childhood dreams came true.

  • Reply Amy September 28, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    One of our more recent favorites is called "No Such Thing." I liked it enough to buy us our own copy

  • Reply Sammy September 28, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I agree with Anna above me. We only have a few Halloween books but "Big Pumpkin" is our very favorite and it gets read year round. The repetition is fun and not annoying and the kids get very into it, even the littlest ones. Let me know if you love it!

  • Reply Emily September 28, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    I'll "third" Bug Pumpkin. Especially if you sing it! The audio recording is on YouTube. Love it!

    • Reply Emily September 28, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      Big Pumpkin–typing on my phone. Haha!

  • Reply Ash September 28, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I was just thinking that I don't have any Halloween books to read to Alice. I just requested a bunch of these! As usual, you saved the day. 🙂

  • Reply This Confetti Life September 28, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    We love "Room on the Broom" and "Little Blue Truck's Halloween."

  • Reply Anna Culp September 28, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    I just mentioned on my blog that my favorite Halloween book is Little Goblins Ten. My mom just sent my kids Pumpkin Trouble, so I'm excited to read that! https://liveinaprettyhouse.com/2016/09/28/what-were-reading-banned-books/

  • Reply Courtney September 28, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    My favorite is The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. I loved reading it in elementary school and forgot about it until I saw it last week at the library.

  • Reply Sara September 29, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I think that your girls would love Alice and Greta: A Tale of Two Witches by Steven J. Simmons.

  • Reply Mallory Hazel September 29, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Love this list! I am definitely checking some out from my library. One book we found this year that I love is Room on a Broom. It is so cute, although my daughter gets a little nervous at the end.

  • Reply Stephen Savage September 29, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the shout-out, Janssen!

  • Reply Jenae September 29, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Eli plans his costume starting November 1st and Quinn is obsessed with skeletons and spooky things. Weird baby. Every year we buy a new Halloween book (like Christmas). My favorites are Even Monsters Need Haircuts and The Monsterator. This year we got Match and Muddle Monster Edition. Love it. Quinn is OBSESSED with Click Clack Boo. It's fine. Maybe I'd love it more if I didn't read it five times a day (and deny her 27 more times).

  • Reply Noelle October 4, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Thanks for posting this. Just what I was looking for today!

  • Reply Lindsay September 22, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I second Even Monsters Need Haircuts! Thanks for the list!

  • Reply Katie K September 22, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Love these types of posts and that they list isn’t too long so easy to reserve at the library. My kids favorite was one of my books from childhood. The Teeny Tiny Woman . Cute not so scary story and also great b/c my 2 year old thought he was “reading” by repeating “teeny tiny” throughout the whole book 🙂

  • Reply Katherine Madsen September 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks for the list! Two I found this year that I loved were Brunhilda’s Backwards Day by Shawna Tenney and Grimelda and the Spooktacular Pet Show by Diana Murray. Both delightful!

  • Reply Patty September 23, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    “The Thorn Witch” was a family favorite growing up!

    Btw, I absolutely love and appreciate all your tips and suggestions on your everyday emails! We even started the drop bucket trivia at our house thanks to you and Bart!

  • Reply Leslie S September 25, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t have any Halloween books to suggest, but I’d love to know how you organize all your kids’ books. Do you keep the holiday books out only around that time of year? Also, with all of the books you have for your kids (not just holiday books) do you organize them by author? I’m looking for a way to organize my kids’ books. Sometimes if I’m at a book store/book fair I can’t remember what books we have! I’d love any insight into how you organize yours. Thanks!

  • Reply Paige Flamm October 2, 2017 at 8:57 am

    We have that peek-a-boo board book too! It’s Em’s go to right now! I still need to add Popcorn to our collection.

  • Reply Emily October 2, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    We love some of the same ones in your list but can add Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White.

  • Reply Jenn October 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    We checked out “Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody” by Rick Walton last night from the library and loved it. It’s a parody of Madeline by Ludwig Bemelman.

  • Reply Allison @ My Novel Life October 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    We got the audio version of Creepy Carrots and my son was terrified! He wouldn’t go near a carrot for a week! Great round-up of Halloween picture books!

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  • Reply Anna September 27, 2018 at 5:15 am

    Have you read The Ghost’s Dinner? It’s about a group of ghosts who eat a many-course dinner and change colors as they eat- orange for tomato soup, green for spinach, etc. It’s out of print, and I haven’t been able to get a copy, but it’s so much fun.

  • Reply Madalyn D September 27, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Yes to The Widows Broom, The Thorn Witch, and Popcorn!!! I also really like The Ugly Pumpkin by David Horowitz and Harriets Halloween Candy by Nancy Carlson. My kids also like Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubble (from kids who have never grown up having their own garden) 🙈

  • Reply Christine September 27, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    My son LOVES Little Blue Truck Halloween, Room on the Broom, and We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt. I also really like The Soup Bone by Tony Johnston and the Will Moses adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (that one has a lot of text though FYI—more a storybook than a true picture book!)

  • Reply Tina September 27, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Have you ever read Diane DeGroat’s series (I use that term loosely) of picture books that are centered around holidays. I loved reading them aloud to elementary classes. The Halloween one is Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet. I pretty much love all of them.

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