Some people shop for shoes. Some people love purses. I couldn't care less about either of those, but when it comes to holiday books, I'm a junkie! Christmas books are my drug of choice, but I'll take a hit off a St. Patrick's Day book or back-to-school book (or Groundhog's Day book) if I can. Scholastic book orders have been really bad for this addiction, but it means I have an extensive (!) collection of holiday reads. A friend recently asked for some Halloween book recommendations so I thought I'd share my list with everyone. (I reserve the right to add more to this list as I remember other favorites.)
- Mummy's Precious Baby (birth-2) board books
Trying to contain a wiggly little one for the length of a story is tricky. Fortunately lots of board books are written with simple stories or interactive elements (or both!) to keep the littlest littles engaged. These books are all sweet and not scary.
Spooky Boo! A Halloween Adventure by Lily Karr
This book has lots of flaps and mirrors to keep little readers engaged.
Here Comes Halloween by Becki Ward
Cute pictures and a cute story of baby's Halloween costumes with some touch-and-feel elements.
Fly, Ghost, Fly! by Betty Ann Schwartz
This has a wheel you can spin to see the ghost fly!
One, Two, Boo by Kristen L. Depken
I love the illustrations in this lift-the-flap counting book.
Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino
I've seen a couple different versions of this traditional Halloween rhyme, but this one is my favorte.
I like the simple illustrations and the ghost in the background. He actually does most of the actions since the pumpkis just sit there until the end when they "roll out of sight."
- Little Boys and Ghouls (preschool 3-5)
Among my preschoolers, this is the absolute favorite Halloween book.
Where's My Mummy by Carolyn Crimi
It's bedtime, but little mummy begs for one more game of hide-and-shriek. In this rhyming story he encounters several ghoulish neighbors (all getting ready for bed themselves) who try to send him to bed, but he insists he's not afraid. Until he sees a mouse, that is, and then he's very glad that his mummy is nearby.
Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler
This is the runner-up for favorite preschool book. Skeleton has a case of hiccups that he can't get rid of. His ghost friend offers some standard solutions, like putting a spoonful of sugar in his mouth. When you don't have skin, the results of that attempt are messy--and funny. Finally ghost finds a way to scare the hiccups away.
There's one line of text and three hiccup sounds on each page, but the meaning behind the story is kind of complex. We had to do a lot of talking about hiccups and ways people try to get rid of them and why the water is running though skeleton's skull. But the kids love it!! (I will admit that I'm kind of tired of making hiccup noises, though.)
Ghosts in the House by Kozuno Kohara
I bought this book as a souvenir of my trip to New York a few years ago. I love Kazuno Kohara's style. Fun, bold illustrations (in just three colors) and a simple story that's delightful to read. In this book, the little witch moves into a haunted house. Luckily she knows just what to do with ghosts. Most of them end up as curtains, but one makes a lovely tablecloth! This book has just the right mix of spooky and silly for the little ones.
We're Off to Find the Witch's House by Mr. Kreib
The kids set off to find the witch's house, but on the way meet a whole host of Halloween creatures. Luckly they just turn out to be friends in disguise!
We're Going on a Ghost Hunt by Marcia Vaughan
It's like a Going on a Bear Hunt, but with a spooky twist.
We're going on ghost hunt to catch a trick-or-treat ghost. We're not afraid. No, we're not afraid. No, we're not afraid at all.
It looks like this particular version is out of print, but on Amazon I saw at least 2 others with the same idea!
Just Say Boo by Susan Hood
This one was new to me this year. The preschoolers love yelling "Boo!" on every other page. And I really like the illustrations.
Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas
Just a silly story of Duck who falls into a pumpkin while trying to carve it and Pig and Mouse who mistake him for a Pumpkin Monster. Just a few words of text in this one, but the pictures carry the story well.
Popcorn by Frank Asch
This is an entirely sentimental pick. I loved this book as a kid, but it's out of print. If you can find it, it's a cute read. Bear has a Halloween party. All his friends bring popcorn to share, but when they pop it, things get a little out of control.
- School Aged Spooks (6-8)
Scaredy Cat Splat by Rob Scotton
The kids LOVE the illustrations in this book. Splat is trying to be the scariest cat in his class. And he accidentally ends up being just that.
Alpha-Oops: H is for Halloween by Alethea Kontis
It's time for the Halloween performance, but the not every letter's costume is ready. The kids really enjoyed guessing what each letter would be and there was some good vocabulary in there (lycanthrope). Afterward I had them do a writing activing.
The House that Drac Built by Judy Sierra
Obviously, this is a spin on The House that Jack Built. It's a fun cumulative tale with suitably spooky illustrations. The "Fiend of Bloodygore" does make an appearance, but it all has a sweet ending instead of a scary one.
By the Light of the Halloween Moon by Caroline Stutson
All sorts of ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties are after that delicious big toe, but they underestimate the little girl who owns it!
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
Witch loses her hat and wand when a big gust of wind carries them off. Some animals help her find them, but they want a ride on the broom. And then they meet a dragon, and well, you know how it goes! This is a fun story, but a lot of words on a page. Consider that fair warning if you're using this as a read aloud. There's a video of this story, but I haven't seen it yet.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda D. Williams
The Old Lady is walking home one night when she's followed by shoes, pants, a shirt, etc. which chase her through the woods. It's just the right amount of spooky for school-aged kids.
The Vanishing Pumpkin by Tony Johnston
This is one I picked up years ago for 50% off at Barnes and Noble on the day after Halloween. And this quirky little story has become one of my favorite Halloween reads. The 700-year-old woman and the 800-year-old man have been saving their pumpkin to make pumpkin pie, but when the go to get it, it has been snitched! So the couple set off to track down the culprit. It's a fun read. Just be prepared for the question: What's a rapscallion?
Mrs. McMurphy's Pumpkin by Rick Walton
A few years ago, Rick Walton did an author visit at our school. He brought along some books for the teachers to buy. I felt awkward, so I picked this up not knowing anything about it and it has become one of my very favorite Halloween read-alouds. It's out of print now, but if you teach school age kids, do yourself a favor and buy this book!
This story has just the right amount of spooky creepiness, without being too scary. And the characters are unusual for a Halloween story. The villain is a talking pumpkin who is threatening poor Mrs. McMurphy. Everyday the pumpkin gets further inside her house and every day she sends him further away. But don't underestimate Mrs. McMurphy!
This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as favorite Halloween books go. In fact, while looking at Halloween books on Amazon I found 4 more titles that I decided to buy!! I guess I'll have to do another post next year! In the meantime, keep a look out for a list of favorite fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas stories.