10 Great Halloween Books

October 10, 2012

Great Halloween Books

By Amy Hackworth.

Not-so-scary scary books are the best way to ease into Halloween, which can sometimes be a little overwhelming for even the bravest kids on the block. From charming to lightly creepy, this list should lighten up the darkest October nights. Enjoy! (Hmm. Perhaps Beware! is more in the spirit of this list!)

1) Bone Soup, the classic retelling of Stone Soup, is both clever and creepy, as Finnigin the skeleton convinces other frightful creatures to contribute to this deliciously disgusting concoction.

2) Ghosts in the House is a perfect Halloween book for the littlest readers. The illustrations are gentle and charming, and I’m especially drawn to this resourceful little girl who smartly solves the ghost problem in her house without batting an eye.

3) The illustrations in Los Gatos Black on Halloween are beautifully creepy and capture a sense of other-worldliness in a beautiful way. Written in tight, rhythmic verse, the Spanish words throughout the book are easy to understand if you don’t know Spanish, and add depth and richness to this story.

4) The pen and ink illustrations in The Curious Demise of a Contrary Cat are the perfect balance between cute and creepy. It’s the story of a cheeky cat who won’t obey its witch, and left me wondering how parenting might go differently if one knew a spell or two…

5) The Bones of Fred McFee is great for kids who are ready to embrace something (just a little) creepy. In this mystery, it’s not exactly clear what happens to the toy skeleton that used to hang in the sycamore tree, leaving the door open for the kind of haunting speculation that is at the heart of Halloween.

Great Halloween Books

6) Help your kids create their own Halloween masterpieces with How to Draw a Happy Witch and 99 Things That Go Bump in the Night. Simple and thorough instructions for drawing all kinds of darling creepy things are scattered throughout this story of Little Man, the cat.

7) Bedtime for Monsters is a light-hearted look at the potentially serious problem of monsters at bedtime. With silly illustrations, it’s a fun and funny take on what a monster might do if he came to your house.

8) Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich is best for older readers who will understand its many puns and parodies. Full of laugh out loud jokes and the funniest illustrations, this collection of Halloween vignettes is comic genius!

9) Several creatures return the kindness a friendly witch has shown them in Room on the Broom. This Halloween story is also a sweet look at friendship and loyalty.

10) Narrated by Bram, the Pire family’s youngest son, Dear Vampa, is the lament of a misunderstood vampire family. The book highlights lots of fun differences between the Pire’s and their new neighbors, the Wolfsons, the seemingly normal family who turns out to have a skeleton or two in their own closets.

One of my favorite things about books is the information they give us, over and over again. And when they take the fear out of a spooky subject like Halloween? That’s my most favorite. I hope you found a new must-read for your own haunted house!

P.S. — More Halloween books to love here and here.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jill W October 10, 2012 at 8:44 am

Our favorite didn’t make the list, but it’s a fun story anyway. “Fright Night Flight” We’ve told it so often that we all have it memorized and have gone through 2 copies of it.
Oh. And doing monster voices is a must.


2 Amy Hackworth October 10, 2012 at 11:19 pm

I love having books that the whole family knows by heart. So fun!


3 Jody October 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

Great list! Going to check out a few of these–thanks!


4 Janae @ Bring-Joy October 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

I love Halloween books. One of my favorites is the Bearenstein Bears & the Spooky Tree. Children’s books bring out the best of Halloween, I think.

Thank you for the great list!


5 Elizabeth Hamister-Burnett October 12, 2012 at 7:55 am

I have my copy of that book from childhood and it’s a favorite in my house too. I’m glad to see others still enjoying it.


6 Koseli October 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

Love Bone Soup! Finnigan would make an adorable halloween costume for a little boy or girl.


7 Amy Hackworth October 10, 2012 at 11:15 pm

SUCH an adorable costume! Someone get right on that!


8 Molly October 10, 2012 at 10:11 am

I don’t think I have read any of these before. Thanks for the list!

As a child, I loved “The Vanishing Pumpkin” about a 700 year old woman and an 800 year old man who want to make a pumpkin pie…

“Boris and Bella” is also an awesome book. It tells the story of two enemies who find common ground at a Halloween dance with delightful rhymes.


9 Amy Hackworth October 10, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Thanks for the tip about The Vanishing Pumpkin. Boris and Bella looks great, too. Yet another story about monsters dancing on Halloween! (See my comment to jenny also below…)


10 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag October 10, 2012 at 10:18 am

Very cute list! You all might want to also check out the Halloween and Fall picture book ideas that were highlighted earlier over at the Children’s Bookshelf feature on Bethany’s No Twiddle Twaddle blog:


I echo Molly’s ‘Vanishing Pumpkin’ suggestion — it’s illustrated by the great Tomie de Paola!


11 Lindsey Johnson October 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

I can’t wait to hit the library and see if they have any of these on the shelves. They are all new to me, so I’m excited to introduce them to my kids.

Love these book posts, Amy!


12 Amy Hackworth October 10, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Thanks, Lindsey!


13 jenny also October 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm

And don’t forget FRANK WAS A MONSTER WHO WANTED TO DANCE! Such a fun and funny book.


14 Amy Hackworth October 10, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Yes! That’s another home run! I have noticed a real trend in Halloween books where the characters dance or end up dancing. Maybe that’s the ultimate way to make them friendly and turn our ideas of scary on their heads?


15 Bethany @ No Twiddle Twaddle October 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Thanks for linking to my list of Halloween & fall books. What a great list you have here!


16 niki October 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Mine love “Goodnight Goon.” It’s a parody of “Goodnight Moon.” We also love to read and do the Halloween version of I Spy “Can You See What I See: On a Scary, Scary Night.”


17 Lindsay October 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm

“Big Pumpkin” by Erica Silverman is a true favorite here. There is even a recording of the book on youtube (when it beeps you turn the page). My kids are mesmerized!


18 jen October 10, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Halloween is my favorite holiday and most of these are new to me, so I’m excited to check them out! Thanks, Amy!


19 Jessica October 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm

What great ideas! I’ll have to take my six year old to the library and see if we can find some of them.


20 michelle October 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I love these book lists, keep ‘em coming!


21 Corinne October 10, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Thanks for the suggestions! One of our favorites is Room on the Broom. We read it all year long.


22 Elizabeth Hamister-Burnett October 12, 2012 at 8:00 am

Thanks for these new suggestions for our library. You might also like Hallowilloween it’s a cute book of poems about Halloween monsters. My daughter, Milla, picked it out last year and likes it so much that we read it year round.


23 Lisa J. October 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Love this list, lots of them are new to me. Thanks!


24 Eliina @ 3EDesign October 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

These are all new to me. My 16 month old daughter will appreciate Halloween a little more this year than last year. My husband and I are getting more into it.


25 Mia Airport Parking October 20, 2014 at 5:18 am

Greetings. The author’s name is Dusty though he doesn’t take pleasure in being called
like which often. Bookkeeping may be my profession for a little time.
Camping is what i do regular. Some time ago he thought to live Hawaii
the actual will never move.


26 Daniella October 14, 2015 at 9:35 pm

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (or something like that!!)


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