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.
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!